If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the creators of Stranger Things, specifically the Duffer brothers, it’s that everything in the series — from the period-correct props to the dialogue — is that everything is done with a purpose. There are no throwaway scenes or lines — anything you see can be, and probably is, a clue to an element of the series that’ll pay off later.
With that said, here are some fairly bankable predictions for season three, based on everything we’ve seen in the previous two seasons.
9. We’re gong to see a few more kids like Eleven and Kali
Let’s be honest, season two’s “The Lost Sister” (season 2, episode 7) trailed off a bit – it was the one episode that veered off the original plot: Eleven navigated a road trip to Chicago, met her sister Kali, and the two — along with Kali’s henchmen and women – found Ray, the rotund lab tech who administered the shock therapy on Terry, El’s mom. The boys weren’t part of that story line at all, and frankly, the entire time I was watching Kali rage, I keep wondering what Dustin and Steve were up to. The point is, the Duffer brothers have gone on record saying they’re going to explore more of the lab kids, and Kali’s storyline was the spin-off episode for that avenue.
8. Dr. Owens will be back and he’ll be one of the good guys.
I’ll be honest, when I got my first glimpse of Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser), I marked him down as another evil doctor – someone who took the place of Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) – after all, every story needs a villain. I still might be right and Owens is evil, but it looks like he’s one of the good guys for now. Plus, he was the only guy in Hawkins National Laboratory who cared that Will lived, which scored him points.
7. Dr. Brenner will be back with a vengeance.
Because of “The Lost Sister” episode, we know (well, we think) Dr. Brenner is still alive and lurking somewhere. Remember Ray, the guy mentioned above? The seemingly throwaway character that you missed the first time you saw him in season one when he shocked the memory out of Eleven’s mom? He gets more screen time in season two, and as he pleads for his life as Kali’s egging El on to kill him, he reveals that Dr. Brenner is alive, even though we all saw him getting devoured by the demogorgon in the last episode of season one. Ray might have said he was alive in a desperate attempt to live, but it’s out of character for the Duffer brothers to waste a significant line like that. Brenner lives.
6. Steve Harrington is going to work for his father and stay in Hawkins.
When Steve asked Nancy for help with his college entrance essay, and he realized that maybe he’s not cut out for college life, he said something vague about working for his father’s business. Again, if we’ve learned anything about the Duffer brothers, it’s that they don’t waste their script on throwaway dialogue. It sounds like Steve was foreshadowing his future for season three. This is good because Harrington was cool from episode one, but it’s also a shame we’re not going to see ‘Steve: The College Years.’ He was made for college – I’d love to see Netflix magically give Harrington a six-episode college-years spinoff.
5. We’re going to find out that the Upside Down is a past dimension.
OK, this is a stretch, but there are some big, hidden signifiers that the Upside Down is a portal to the past – I’m guessing somewhere between the ’50s and the ’70s. If you rewatch two specific Upside Down scenes (the final shot right after Max and Lucas kiss at the Snow Ball, and when the Hop and Joyce were searching for Will in season 1), you’ll notice that none of the cars are from the ’80s — study the enhanced photo of the Snow Ball’s parking lot above. Again, the Duffer brothers have a keen sense of detail so this was no coincidence.
4. Billy and Karen Wheeler are going to hook up.
I’ll admit, this Billy and Karen hooking up is a stretch and it’s the only prediction I’m not 100 percent sure of, but he’s an opportunist and she’s in a boring marriage. The dowdy Mr. Wheeler is always asleep in in La-Z-Boy in front of the TV so Karen is bursting with sexual frustration, and Billy’s the type of guy who would bone (‘80s vernacular, kids) anything with a pulse. Plus, Karen is a fox (more ’80s vernacular) — she needs significant screen time.
3. That dead Demodog that the boys put in Joyce’s refrigerator will come back to life.
When I saw Steve carrying that dead Demodog in Joyce’s refrigerator, I knew from watching hundreds of hours of ‘80s-era supernatural horror movies, that it will come back to haunt them one way or another. Remember, it wasn’t Steve’s idea to put the monster on ice, it was Dustin who wanted the corpse preserved because, if you recall, he’s hell bent on getting credit for discovering a new amphibious species. Remember how neurotic he was about Mr. Clarke, their science teacher, taking credit for Dart? Speaking of Dustin and predictions, he was infected by the spores in the final episode of season 2 so don’t be surprised if Dustin gets infected like Will was.
2. We’re probably not going to see Jonathon again, except for maybe some flashbacks.
OK, it’s time for some real talk. We might not see Jonathan Byers again except maybe in some old footage from previous seasons. Why? Because the actor who plays him, Charlie Heaton, got popped by drug sniffing dogs at LAX for cocaine in his luggage. He wasn’t arrested, but he wasn’t able to make it to the premiere of Stranger Things 2 in Los Angeles either. This is no surprise though — there have been strong rumors of Heaton’s drug problem before he even got busted. Jonathan is a major part of the Stranger Things series, but if we’re being honest, he’s expendable in regards to season three.
1. The invention of the NES in 1985 is going to play a big factor.
If we go by the last two seasons, season three of Stranger Things will pick up around late Halloween of 1985. That means the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) will have been on the market, along with Super Mario Bros. Why is this important? Because if you look back at seasons one and two, you’ll note that both seasons were loosely based on games – season one was based around Dungeons & Dragons, while season two focused on Dig Dug and its tunnels. That said, it only makes sense that one of the kids in the party has an NES with Super Mario Bros. and if you take one step further, Mario and Luigi travel through the Mushroom Kingdom. Mushrooms… mushrooms are a spore-bearing fungi… it’s been established that the ash-like debris in the Upside Down are floating spores… It all adds up!