Season 2 of Stranger Things began streaming in October, but many fans are already clamoring for the third installment of Netflix’s critically acclaimed series. And while there is no concrete release date for season 3 — or season 4 — showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer have said that we probably won’t see it until 2019.
The Duffer brothers have already confirmed that the next season will involve another time jump, which allows the show to keep up with its aging, adolescent cast. They’ve also assured fans that the upcoming season will be more character-driven than the last, and include added screen time for Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson), Lucas’ (Caleb McLaughlin) younger sister and a runaway fan favorite. Unfortunately, we know little else at this time.
While we eagerly await for Netflix to release season 3 — or for the streaming giant to spill some additional news about it — all we can do is swap theories about what we think will happen next. Here are some of the best (and weirdest) Stranger Things theories currently circulating the web.
Note: This post contains spoilers pertaining to both seasons of Stranger Things.
Are monsters no more than fungi?
Fans are pretty sure they’ve figured about what the monsters from the Upside Down really are: fungi. Since season 1, the Upside Down — the dark, derelict version of Hawkins, Indiana — has been overrun with growths and floating, white particles. Some viewers are suggesting that these motes might actually be fungal spores — and that’s how the monsters are spreading.
What we know about the creatures from the Upside Down so far seems to verify this theory. Many fungi are sensitive to light and heat, as are the monsters. Moreover, Will Beyers (Noah Schnapp) says multiple times throughout season 2 that the Mind Flayer likes it cold, and the only way the group is ultimately able to free him from its control is by raising Will’s core body temperature. Dart, the Demogorgon-Demodog, also has an aversion to heat, which is most notable when Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) turns on the light in the tank upon finding Dart.
Fungi are also known to feed on decay. The graveyard Hopper (David Harbour) finds at the heart of the tunnels may be a feeding ground for the Demodogs (since they all seem to congregate there) and the place where new ones are born. If this theory is true, it could mean bad news for Hopper and Dustin, who were both sprayed and managed to inhale many of these spores when they were exploring the tunnels.
Could Bob be a bloodsucking vampire?
Bob Newby (Sean Astin) became an unlikely fan favorite this season. His popularity may be due in part to Astin having starred in the The Goonies in the mid-’80s, or the fact that he was just a wholesome addition to the series. Regardless, Joyce Beyer’s nerdy boyfriend managed to capture the hearts of nearly everyone.
However, Reddit user ChaoticNeutralUK suggests that there may be more to Bob than meets the eye. Despite watching him getting snacked on by Demodogs at the end of season 2, ChaoticNeutralUK posits that Astin’s character may have survived because he is actually a vampire.
While Bob does dress up as a bloodsucking creature for Halloween, it’s hard to imagine the king of dad jokes is actually evil. He does offer up some questionable advice to Will for facing the Mind Flayer and tries to stop Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) from helping the scientists at Hawkins Lab, but that’s not enough to convince us that he’s a real vampire. This may not be the most coherent theory, but it’s definitely the most amusing.
Was Hopper’s daughter a lab experiment?
This theory has been gaining a lot of steam recently, and has even been partially confirmed by Harbour in an interview with Insider. Soon after Netflix released season 2 of Stranger Things, viewers began to notice distinct similarities in the handrails in the scenes where Hopper finds a wounded Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser) and where Hopper breaks down crying in the first season after the death of his daughter, Sara.
In the aforementioned interview, Harbour admits that they are the same location or at least very similar locations, but says he can’t elaborate further. Whether the locations are intentionally the same or just the product of limited set designs, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding Hopper’s daughter.
We did learn a bit about her during the flashbacks at the end of season 1, but they were pretty vague. One scene shows Hopper and a bald Sara sitting in a hospital bed. While her lack of hair suggests that she may have passed away from complications related to cancer, the show never actually says that she did. Could Sara have been another Hawkins Lab experiment, much like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)?
Is Papa still out there somewhere?
A recurring idea in season 2 is that Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), aka Papa, may not actually be dead. Ray Carroll (Pruitt Taylor Vince), former agent of the Department of Energy and the man Kali Prasad (Linnea Berthelsen), aka Eight, and her friends are hunting, claims that Brenner is still alive. Kali later creates an illusion of Brenner in front of Eleven, suggesting that Eleven still has a lot of unresolved trauma associated with the man she considered her father. Whether he is alive or dead, Modine’s character is likely to come up again.
The introduction of Eight, another child experiment from Hawkins Lab, and the realization that there might be other kids with powers out there, means the show is definitely gearing up for something. Whether that’s an X-Men-style fight against Papa or simply the kids trying to cope with their powers remains to be seen, but we do know that no one is going to forget about Papa anytime soon.
Do Stranger Things and IT take place in the same universe?
With the release of It, another ‘80s-inspired franchise, this year, fans of Stranger Things have been suggesting a connection between the two. Viewers have noticed several references to various Steven King novels — including Firestarter and The Mist — since the series premiered in 2016, and season 2 has only bolstered the theory.
One scene in particular really seems to cement this theory for fans, and it’s the one in which Bob tells Will about the clown he used to have dreams about when he was a kid. Because it’s heavily reminiscent of It and King’s character Pennywise, people have been asking if the two stories could take place in a shared universe.
The Duffer brothers even responded to the potential King connection in an interview with Vulture. “We saw the (1990) It miniseries and Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise really messed me up,” Matt says. “I think [Bob’s clown story] was really me describing something that just freaked me out.” He goes on to explain that King exists in the world of Stranger Things, but would not be something that Bob would have been interested in. So much for that theory.
Is it possible that Teresa Ives remains in the Upside Down?
Season 2 also marked the emotional reunion of Eleven and her mother, Teresa Ives (Aimee Mullins). During Project MKUltra, Terry was unknowingly pregnant with Eleven. According to Terry’s sister, Terry miscarried late in her pregnancy, but in reality, Dr. Brenner kidnapped Eleven so he could perform experiments on her. Terry returned to Hawkins Lab to look for her daughter, only to be captured and later electrocuted, which left her in a vegetative state.
When Eleven first meets her mother, she is able to connect to her mind and find out what happened many years prior. This scene is highly reminiscent of the first season, with the flickering lights and TV static, and seems to suggest the presence of some supernatural element in Terry as well.
Does Terry have powers like her daughter? Or could a part of her be trapped in the Upside Down, much like Will was in the first season? The fact that Terry’s nose begins to bleed, much like Eight and Eleven’s when they use their powers, is definitely something to keep in mind in the future.
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