Welcome to summer of ’85 in Hawkins. Netflix released the trailer for the highly anticipated third season of Stranger Things on Wednesday and the first look reveals that a new Demogorgon-style nightmare awaits the young kids — who are now growing up — at the center of the story. The supernatural Duffer Brothers drama returns with eight episodes on July 4, more than a year following the second season’s October 2017 release.
“One summer can change everything,” reads the tagline from Netflix, echoing the previously released key art. “School is out, pool is open.” Stranger Things teased the trailer drop from its official account on Tuesday with a video of rats scurrying and the accompanying caption (appearing to be written from The Upside Down): “It’s almost feeding time.”
Set in 1985, season three takes place several months after the events of the second cycle. When viewers last saw Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Scnapp) and the rest of the gang escaping The Upside Down, the alternate universe name given to the dark dimension where Demogorgons, Mind-Flayers and other monsters live. Winona Ryder (Joyce), David Harbour (Chief Hopper), Natalia Dryer (Nancy), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan), Sadie Sink (Max), Dacre Montgomery (Billy) and Joe Keery (Steve) are all returning.
“We’re not kids anymore. I mean what did you think, we were just going to sit in my basement all day? Play games for the rest of our lives?” asks Will in the trailer, seemingly teasing conflict among the boys as they evolve into teenagers. The trailer begins with a comical scene with Eleven and the boys surprising Dustin as he returns home, but then expands out to tease how things certainly have certainly changed among the group and their friends. There appears to be friction among Hopper and Joyce (“I want you to feel safe. I want you to feel like this can be your home,” he tells her), as well as between Nancy and Steve.
Beyond the relationship fissures, new threats await. Amid the trailer’s toe-tapping soundtrack to The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” and colorful palette from the mall and carnival, a man with a gun lurks; Will and Billy comes to terms with secrets they are each harboring; and Eleven continues to wrestle with her powers. In the end, the group once again comes face-to-face with a monster who has crossed into their world as the trailer warns, “One summer can change everything.” The first look then ends with an enjoyable bit from breakout buds Steve and Dustin.
The third season also introduces new castmembers Cary Elwes, as the mayor, Jake Busey, as a local reporter, and Maya Hawke, as an employee at the Starcourt Mall’s ice cream shop along with Steve. Starcourt Mall is poised to serve as a central setting for season three. Priah Ferguson will reprise her role as Erica Sinclair (sister to Lucas).
See the trailer and first look photos from the season, below.