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Stranger Things’ next step into the ‘80s has already given fans a new shot at making New Coke a thing, but it’s also promising plenty of new stuff from those beloved characters we’ve seen in all its teases — and some we haven’t seen since the Netflix hit’s second season.
Speaking to EW, some of the cast revealed the changes their characters will undergo while the Duffer Brothers began teasing out some of the threats haunting Hawkins once again. Threats like, say, that pesky Mind Flayer that took over Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) last season. Turns out that tentacly threat still looms large over the Upside Down and, subsequently, the city.
“Eleven closed the Gate, but the Mind Flayer is still alive in the Upside Down,” Matt Duffer said. “It will find another way into Hawkins.… It’s just a matter of time.” If feeding on Will’s connection to the Upside Down was its play last time around, this time it may focus on the uncertain themes raised by the heroes’ puberty. “We wanted to explore the theme of change,” Duffer said. “The season takes place during the last summer before high school. The kids are growing up, and that transition is going to be messy and awkward and painful. Are they able to grow up without growing apart?”
Changes are coming that are separating the group off into pairs, diluting the former D&D party. Some changes, like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) being in a relationship with Mike (Finn Wolfhard), are romantic. Some, like the growing friendship between Steve (Joe Keery) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), are bromantic — and only getting more screentime. “You definitely see more of that,” says Matarazzo.
These more isolated character pairings and deepening relationships could definitely prove a ripe emotional environment for evil to take seed - especially since Hopper (David Harbour) is occupied with being a good dad. His primary focus is on building that bond with Winona Ryder’s Joyce, learning to be a single parent and not just a grump. But don’t worry, our new Hellboy is still going to do “a lot of really big, like, action-y things.” He’s just also going to be “fatter than you’ve ever seen him and less capable of hurting people, but a little more capable because he’s just like a big elephant,” Harbour said.
An elephant versus a Mind Flayer? Throw in a nasty mustache and a Hawaiian shirt, and maybe it’ll be a fair fight when Stranger Things 3 blasts fans to 1985 on July 4.