Rejoice, Stranger Things fans! After a long, anxiety-filled wait, Netflix has renewed the series for Season 3. Why they insisted on waiting was puzzling, since Stranger Things Season 2 ratings (according to Nielsen) was on par with Game of Thrones Season 7, and one of the highest in Netflix history. But here they are with the renewal, which means it's time to start speculating wildly and tossing about every Stranger Things Season 3 theory we can get our hands on.
Let us consider the situation on the ground when we ended Stranger Things Season 2. Eleven now has a birth certificate declaring her to be Jane Hopper, and the plan is for Chief Hopper to enroll her at Hawkins Middle School in time for the 1985-86 school year. Steve Harrington is getting ready to graduate, and will most likely not head off to college, but stay in Hawkins and work for his dad.
Jonathan and Nancy are dating and will probably spend senior year as a class couple. Lucas and Max are together. Will even has a girl interested. Dustin does not. Joyce is single again, and fans are hoping that having Eleven and Will in the same class at school will bring "Jopper" ever closer to happening.
Oh, and in the Upside Down, a terrible malevolent force is staring through, plotting how to get back to our world. And there's no Hawkins lab to save the town when it does.
That covers just about everything we know, right? Now what terrible thing could go wrong in Hawkins come next fall?
Well, for one thing, some of the actors involved might get a little too popular, if you know what I mean. Take breakout star Finn Wolfhard, who was the lead kid in Season 1. By the time Season 2 arrived, he had a second massive hit under his belt, having played the Seth Green role of Richie Tozier in the It remake. The present-day set sequel, which will include multiple flashbacks in order to work in the original cast of kids, will be shooting in 2018, concurrent with Stranger Things 3. He's also currently attached to the still-in-development Carmen Sandiego revamp.
Oh, and did we mention he's in a band?
Yeah, they're all a bunch of 14-year-olds in a band. But the Jonas brothers weren't much older than that when they hit it big, and some of the Hanson brothers were actually younger than that when "Mmmm-bop" became a sensation. What I'm saying is, his band got a record deal, and so he's got those obligations on top of everything else.
This had lead to Stranger Things 3's first big theory: that Finn Wolfhard might find his character Mike Wheeler written off the show, or at least into a much reduced part, because he just has too much on his plate.
This doesn't mean Mike will get killed off, mind you, though it's a possibly we shouldn't rule out. But despite the ratings comparisons we made earlier, Stranger Things is not GoT. They don't kill off main characters for funsies. (That's what Bobs are for.) But after two years of terrible things always happening to Will Byers, it might be time to put someone else in a coma, or make them disappear off the screen for several episodes in a row.
Having the Upside Down decide to attack Mike this time around would also solve a few of the complaints we saw in Season 2. Fans felt that both Eleven and Nancy weren't centralized to the action properly, for instance. There were also a lot of complaints that the Wheeler parents had basically devolved into a one-note joke.
If Mike is the one who disappears this time, and Mrs. Perfect PTA Mom Karen Wheeler goes full Joyce Byers mad, that's a new direction for the family. It gives Nancy someone to play against who isn't a love interest. It also ensures that Eleven has a personal vendetta here beyond just saving her friends. If she didn't like Max smiling at Mike, imagine how she'll feel about the Mindflayer taking him from her completely.
Stranger Things Season 3 will hopefully return to Netflix sometime in 2018.