The first full Stranger Things Season 3 trailer hit YouTube on Wednesday, March 20, giving rabid fans of Netflix’s Montauk-inspired hit a meaty taste of what’s coming on July 4. And it looks like the Duffer Brothers will be delivering all the 1980s tropes, nostalgia, vintage pop culture and sci-fi phantasmagoria we’ve come to love.
After chewing on scraps, including a cryptic Season 3 teaser released on New Year’s Eve, we finally get to see footage of the cast, now significantly more grown up—puberty is hard to avoid, folks—and dealing with new challenges and threats in the series’ third installment.
Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) appears to be back from summer camp when his friends surprise him at home, to disastrous results for Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), who gets a spray to the face. This happens beneath a killer soundtrack featuring Motley Crue’s 1985 power ballad “Home Sweet Home”—which may have something to do with Netflix releasing The Dirt, a new biopic about the notorious band, this Friday, March 22.
The trailer continues with more footage beneath The Who’s 1971 classic “Baba O’Riley” (often called “Teenage Wasteland” for the chorus) as wee see the gang installing some sort of Spielbergian homespun antennae atop a grassy hill. Other moments in the montage, which offers lots of typical 80s teen movie fare, include Stranger Things Season 2 bully Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) as a mullet-wearing lifeguard at the public pool; Steve (Joe Keery) working as a costumed waiter a la Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Eleven visiting the new Starcourt Mall with Max (Sadie Sink) for what looks like her first time and staring in wonderment; people protesting the same mall, which we must assume has just been built; a shot of butts straight out of the Jane Fonda Workout era; Eleven and Mike kissing; and on and on it goes.
As its core characters age up, so do the show’s references. Instead of the E.T., Amblin-style film tropes of Season 1 and 2, we’re now seeing more stuff of 1980s high school-movie legend.
Mike (Finn Wolfhard) says, “We’re not kids anymore. I mean, what did you think? We’re just going to sit in my basement all day and play games for the rest of our lives?” Seemingly connected to this, we see Will Beyers (Noah Schnapp) crying over a shot of him and his friends in their Ghostbusters costumes from Season 1.
Then the darker, science fiction elements begin: agents or assassins with guns, monsters, electrified experiments and explosions, a blindfolded Eleven with signature nosebleed in front of a store freezer full of Eggo waffles, etc.
From what we’re seeing, it’s likely that the friends have broken up a bit in the face of high school pressures, but they also appear to come back together. The possibly sinister Mayor Kline (played by Princess Bride star Cary Elwes is fighting townspeople who don’t want to see their mom-and-pop businesses destroyed by the new Starcourt Mall. New creatures are coming in from the Upside Down and Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Chief Hopper (David Harbour) may be having love troubles. It’s also a good bet, from all the dark mall scenes, that a showdown with the Upside Down monsters and the kids occurs within the shopping complex. Perhaps the mall is some kind of secret conduit for the evil dimension, and Mayor Kline is behind it? This is just conjecture, but it fits.
Jake Busy also appears as a new character, Bruce, who is a journalist for The Hawkins Post, described in Variety as having “questionable morals and a sick sense of humor.” It looks like Bruce may get possessed at some point, and it also seems Mike’s sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Will’s brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) may be either working or interning at the newspaper.
We won’t know if any of these guesses are true until July 4, but we’re definitely looking forward to finding out!
The season’s tagline is “One summer can change everything.” We don’t doubt it.