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Stranger Things: get back up to speed before season three begins

Posted by
Gareth Watkins
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Stranger Things 3 poster

Season three of Netflix’s retro classic Stranger Things returns this Thursday 4 July (appropriate). Here’s a quick summary of where we left the main characters at the end of season two  

The new trailer for Stranger Things series three has been out for a while now teasing classic 80s fashions alongside teen movie references and a lot of gross-looking monsters. The series drops on Netflix this Thursday so ahead of our look at some of the fan theories floating around, we’d just like to give you a quick recap of where we left the long-suffering populace of Hawkins, Indiana (in all seriousness we’d have just moved house by now). 

  • Will Byers (Noah Schnapp)

    Stranger Things: Will Byers
    Stranger Things: Will Byers

    Poor old Will spent most of last season possessed by the Mind Flayer/Shadow Monster, who, if you cast your mind back was the amorphous ash-cloud evil guy determined to leave the Upside Down and wreak havoc on the population of the Right Way Up Hawkins. It took a prod with a red-hot poker from his sister to finally exorcise him (side note: surely just ‘hot things’ is a weakness that would make the Shadow Monster a lot more vulnerable to us humans). Hopefully Will can catch a break this series and maybe just do a bit more normal teenage stuff, like get drunk in a car park on WKD. Somehow we don’t think that’s going to happen.

  • Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)

    Stranger Things: Eleven, looking badass
    Stranger Things: Eleven, looking badass

    Season two saw Eleven investigating her origin story as she takes off and meets her sister ‘Eight’, or Kali who it seems was also involved in the medical experiments as a young child. Here she develops her powers, but when she discovers that Kali and her gang of rather camp misfits are bent upon murdering all those left who were involved in the lab, she decides that revenge is not her thing and returns to Hawkins sporting a bad ass new look to save the day. This she does by closing the gate to the Upside Down underneath Hawkins Lab and (we very much doubt) saying bye bye to the Mind Flayer. The series ends with her and Mike sharing a kiss at the Snow Ball. Aw cute.

  • Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder)

    Stranger Things: Joyce Byers, it's tough being a mum of a possessed teen
    Stranger Things: Joyce Byers, it’s tough being a mum of a possessed teen

    As if being a single mum of a teenage boy isn’t hard enough, what with all the surging hormones, mood swings and malevolent, multi-dimensional entities, last season poor Joyce Byers also saw her good-hearted boyfriend Bob savaged to death by Demodogs – a close second to ghosting when it comes to ending a relationship. Bob (a walking, talking easter egg in the form of The Goonies’ Sean Astin) who now resides with season one’s Barb (Justice For Barb!), had helped Joyce unravel the mystery of what was happening to Will and seemed like an unlikely hero and source of happiness for the perennially on-the-verge Joyce. And despite Will returning to her as a normal(ish) son by the end of the series, again we don’t expect fun times ahead for the Byers family. 

  • Jim Hopper (David Harbour)

    Stranger Things: Big Jim Hopper
    Stranger Things: Big Jim Hopper

    Doughnut lover, cigarette enthusiast, chief of police and Eleven’s de facto adoptive dad Hopper is always close to the action, well, it is his job. So whenever there was some suspicious goings on at Hawkins Lab or a weird spooky tunnel to unwisely investigate without telling anyone where you were going, Big Jim was there. The old-fashioned gun-totin’ American hero helped El close the gate in the last episode after bustin’ Demogorgon heads together all over town. However, his biggest challenge awaits this season as he adjusts to being a father to a teenage girl – a teenage girl with telekinetic powers.

  • Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Materazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink)

    Stranger Things: squad goals
    Stranger Things: squad goals

    I mean, what would you give for a group of mates like these guys. Funny, nerdy, whip-smart and cool under pressure they are just what you could have done with when you had to go on that caving trip in Year 9. As series two opens Mike is in touch with El who has not yet revealed herself to the rest of the cast. Dustin has found a new friend in a weird newt-like creature he christens ‘Dart’ and Lucas experiences his first flush of romance when he becomes hopelessly infatuated by new girl Max. As the series progresses they find themselves running from the clutches of the Hawkins Lab agents and battling Demodogs all over town. They all come together in the Snow Ball at the end of the series where we have already seen Will get off with El and where Lucas also gets off with Max, finally, and Dustin gets a rad new look. As season three kicks off the gang start to feel the pressure of these new relationships, Netflix’s official synopsis saying, “Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic[…] they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart.” Add in some terror of what lies beneath and you have basically got our Year 9 caving trip.

  • Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton)

    Stranger Things: Nancy and Jonathon
    Stranger Things: Nancy and Jonathon

    The love triangle between ‘Stancy’ and Jonathan was resolved last season when Nancy, to many people’s confusion ditched the walking bouffant that is Steve in favour of the hair-of-a-serial-killer Jonathan. To be honest though Steve seemed pretty chill about it and their plotlines then separated as Steve became ‘Dad Steve’ aka the baddest babysitter in town to Dustin, Mike and the gang while Nancy and Jonathan go off to try and rid Jonathan’s younger brother Will of his demonic possession. Nancy and Jonathan appear at the end of the series, Jonathan taking pics and Nancy serving drinks at the Snow Ball, still together and apparently happy while Steve drives his newly bouffanted protégé Dustin to the dance safe in the knowledge that girls may come and go, but killer hair will never let you down. Hopefully male pattern baldness won’t strike in season three.

Stranger Things: Steve, killer hair dude
Stranger Things: Steve, killer hair dude

So there we are, all back up to speed. Watch this space for preview of all the fan theories (plus our favourite one) and all the film references we’ve spotted in the trailer so far.

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Images: Courtesy Netflix, Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix