David Harbour (Chief Jim Hopper) had already indicated that season three probably wouldn’t arrive until 2019. Netflix’s vice president of original programming Cindy Holland then confirmed that season three would not be released until summer 2019, saying however that the delay will be “worth the wait”.
“[Creators] The Duffer Brothers and [producer] Shawn Levy, they understand the stakes are high,” she said. “They want to deliver something bigger and better than last year. I think it’s going to be a fantastic season. It will be worth the wait.”
On 10 November 2018, David Harbour confirmed that he had finished filming – and that he was looking forward to shaving off his moustache.
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The summer 2019 release ties in with the recent mall teaser, which first hinted at a summer release.
In September 2018, executive producer and director Shawn Levy said during the Emmys that “cinematically, it’s our biggest season yet”, which perhaps goes some way to explain the additional time required to film season three. He also stated that filming would wrap before the end of the year.
Sort of – Netflix released a short teaser in the form of an ad for a new mall in Hawkins, which features ice cream vendors Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) and newcomer Robin (Maya Thurman-Hawke). Watch it below.
Who is in the cast?
The good news is that all of the original cast are on board for the new episodes. That means: Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven, Finn Wolfhard’s Mike, Winona Ryder’s Joyce, Noah Schnapp’s Will, Caleb Mclaughlin’s Lucas, Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin, Natalia Dyer’s Nancy, Charlie Heaton’s Jonathan and fan favourite Joe Keery (Steve) are all set to return.
Season two additions Max (Sadie Sink) and Billy (Dacre Montgomery) will return, but sadly Sean Astin’s Bob… We’re still not ready to talk about it.
Sadie Sink in Stranger Things
As for new additions: fresh off last year’s BBC adaptation of Little Women, Maya Thurman-Hawke (daughter of Uma and Ethan) will join up with the main cast as Robin, a new character who uncovers a “dark secret” in Hawkins.
Considering Thurman-Hawke’s age (she’s 19), we’re guessing that she’ll be part of the older kids’ peer group alongside characters like Jonathan and Nancy – but what could this “dark secret” be? Is it just that she uncovers the events of the first two Stranger Things seasons, or something new? And could her character end up being a new love interest for jilted Steve?
Plus, Lucas’ sarky little sister Erica (played by Priah Ferguson) is set to play a much bigger role. According to a release from Netflix, season three will see her embark on a “wild mission to save Hawkins from a dangerous and unexpected new threat”.
However, the kids’ Snow Ball idyll was marred by the final shot of the series, which saw the devilish Smoke Monster that had been terrorising our heroes (aka the Mind Flayer) land on the roof of the school in the parallel Upside Down dimension, ready to get revenge for his defeat in the season finale.
We do know that there’s a new mall in Hawkins, which will likely become a hangout for the kids in season 3. Steve Harrington has gone and got himself a job in an ice cream parlour there, alongside new girl Robin – and you can cut the sexual tension between them with a knife in this teaser (ok, you can’t – but we reckon there’s a strong chance these two will be romantically entangled in the new season.
*Update* A new behind-the-scenes book, Worlds Turned Upside Down, confirms that the series will be set in 1985, less than a year after the events of season 2.
“It’s really the final summer of their childhood,” Ross Duffer says in the book. “They’re dealing with growing up, with these complicated new relationships. They’re starting to fall apart a little bit, and maybe they don’t love playing Dungeons & Dragons as much as they used to. Naturally, that’s going to generate conflict.”
Executive Producer Shawn Levy told Glamour back in January that season three would “deal with forces of evil that are new”, but an interview with the Duffer brothers suggests that the usual Upside Down monsters will likely still be in the picture.
“They’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven,” Ross Duffer told The Hollywood Reporter.
“It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she’s out there. We wanted to end on a little bit of an ominous note.”
It also seems very likely that we haven’t seen the last of Eleven’s “sister” Kali/Eight, with the superpowered illusionist escaping the police at the end of episode seven and apparently still keen on taking Eleven on a mission of vengeance against the men who wronged them.
In fact, given how abruptly her story ends, we wouldn’t be surprised if Kali and her Warriors-esque gang turned up in Hawkins to cause trouble in the next season – and with her mindbending powers, we’re betting she could cause a lot of damage. Plus – what of numbers 1-7, 9-10 and beyond?
Plus, Will seems likely to finally get a break. After two season of suffering, being covered in alien goop and screaming in fields, it seems that young Naoh Schnapp might finally get to play a normal teenage boy – at least according to one of the series’ creators.
“I feel like we really put Will through the wringer,” Matt Duffer told THR, “and maybe now we’re going to give him a break at least.”
And, last but not least, we’ve been promised more “dad Steve”, and the continuation of his bromance with Dustin.
“We’ll definitely get to see some more of Steve Harrington in season three, and I’ll just say we won’t be abandoning the Dad Steve magic,” Levy told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I don’t want to say much more, but I literally feel that we were walking along and we stumbled onto a gold mine with Dad Steve.”
Stranger Things 3 will arrive on Netflix on 4 July 2019
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