Posted by David Opie @DavidOpie
The day someone green-lights a Marvel Zombies Ghibli film directed by Xavier Dolan is the day I will be happy. Any day now...
David Opie

Everyone who binge watched the first season of Stranger Things this summer has been craving new episodes more than Dustin craves chocolate pudding. So it came as a huge relief when Netflix confirmed that Season Two will air sometime in 2017.

You didn't have to be psychic like Eleven to know that Stranger Things would return for a second season, but what we didn't expect to learn was the names of each episode so soon. The official announcement video from Netflix revealed some very intriguing titles, piquing our interest more than we could have ever expected.

2017 may seem like a long way off, but have no fear. We've ventured into the darkest depths of the Upside Down (otherwise known as the internet) to find out everything we know so far about Season Two. It turns out, there's a lot more information circulating than we expected.

How Many Episodes Will There Be In Season Two?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

In case you thought Season One of Stranger Things was too short, Netflix have answered our prayers and extended the second run by one episode, bringing the total up to nine. Sure, we wouldn't have said 'no' to a 23-episode second season run, but the Duffer Brothers are more concerned with telling the story at an organic pace, which should be welcomed by fans.

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Duffers explained that;

“We’re letting the story dictate it. I think if it gets any longer, it gets unwieldy for us. We want to make sure it’s manageable and we want to be able to tell a movie-like story where it’s never treading water. We want it to have the same feel and pacing as season 1. I think if we extend it too much, it will have a very different feel.”

In regards to the story itself, the nine episode titles revealed in the official announcement video could provide potential clues regarding the overall arc of Season Two, but in case you missed them, here they are again for your perusal:

  • Madmax
  • The Boy Who Came Back To Life
  • The Pumpkin Patch
  • The Palace
  • The Storm
  • The Pollywog
  • The Secret Cabin
  • The Brain
  • The Lost Brother

When Will Season Two Be Set?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

Initially, the Duffers considered setting Season Two a whole decade after the end of the first arc. In the end, the two show runners settled on continuing the story just one year on, in the fall of 1984.

This specific time jump was decided upon for two reasons. First of all, the Duffer brothers felt that far too much was still left unresolved from the first season. The one-year gap enables the writers to tie up some loose ends, but leaves enough space to explore new story ideas. Second of all, the one year time jump was also necessary, as the child actors who play an integral role in the show are just growing up too damn fast.

During an interview with Variety, the Duffers explained that;

“Yeah, you have to do the Harry Potter thing. You have to jump a year. Because, like, Gaten [Matarazzo, who plays Dustin in the series], his voice has already dropped quite a bit, to the point where we couldn’t even do ADR [automated dialogue replacement] with him. We had to pitch it way up. It’s dropped. He’s grown. As much as I would love to have it be Christmas right after that, it’s just not feasible, so we’re going to skip a year. They’ll be a year older, and all their changes they’re going through, we’ll take that into account and kind of work that into the show.”

If only there was some kind of shady government organisation who could experiment on the kids and stop them from ever growing old. Such a thing would never exist in the real world though: or would it?

Which Characters Will Return For Season 2?

Fortunately, thanks to the minimal time jump, almost all of our favorite characters are set to return for Season Two of Stranger Things! The returning cast includes the likes of Will (Noah Schnapp), Mike (Finn Wolhard), Dustin (Gaten Matazarro), Joyce (Winona Ryder), Hopper (David Harbour) and many more.

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

However, what's still unclear is whether everyone's favorite bald psychic (sorry Professor X!) will return to the show after she mysteriously disappeared in the Season One finale. Although Eleven's involvement in Season two seems extremely likely due to her unusual powers and ability to travel between dimensions, the Duffers have remained cagey on the subject, explaining to Entertainment Weekly that;

“We don’t know about Eleven. We leave that up in the air.”

The other character who could make a surprise return to Stranger Things is the creepy scientist Dr. Martin Brenner, who was last seen being attacked by the Demogorgon onscreen. Actor Matthew Modine hasn't revealed whether his character will reappear any time soon, but the fact that we were never shown his actual death leaves his fate open still.

Will There Be Any New Characters?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

One of the main draws of Stranger Things is the phenomenal actors who comprise the main cast, including the central group of kids who search for their lost friend Will in Season One.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Duffers confirmed that four new characters would join the show, creating some interesting dynamics that we haven't seen before, but the specific details are being kept secret for now.

The title of the second season finale is The Lost Brother, suggesting that perhaps one of the four new characters is a secret sibling who will take a more central role in Season Three. Our money would be on someone related to Eleven. After all, where are the first ten kids that the Government experimented on?

Will The Upside Down Return?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

Whether the Demogorgon died or not at the end of Season One, the dimension it came from still exists and will continue to play a pivotal role in the second season of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers confirmed this in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“We obviously have this gate to another dimension, which is still very much open in the town of Hawkins. And a lot of questions there in terms of, if the Monster is dead, was it a singular monster? What else could be out there? We really don’t go in there much until they go in to find Will at the end. So we’ve opened up this doorway, and to us it’s exciting to talk about, like, what else is behind there? There’s a lot more mystery there to be solved.”

It would be a waste to not utilize the Upside Down more to be honest, particularly as the Duffers reportedly kept a lot of the story back to be explored further in future seasons. In an interview with Variety, the brothers revealed that;

“There’s a lot there we don’t know or understand. Even with the Upside Down, we have a 30-page document that is pretty intricate in terms of what it all means, and where this monster actually came from, and why aren’t there more monsters. We have all this stuff that we just didn’t have time for, or we didn’t feel like we needed to get into in season one, because of the main tension of Will. We have that whole other world that we haven’t fully explored in this season, and that was very purposeful.”

Will The Secret Government Organisation Return?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

Hawkins National Laboratory was key to the back story of Eleven and the discovery of the Upside Down in the first season. The lab also served as a front for the Government's diabolical experiments, which were led by Dr. Martin Brenner.

At the end of Season One, Sheriff Hopper was shown stepping into a mystery black car after he left the hospital, suggesting that the secret agency are still very much active. Given that the organisation will have a year to recover from the events of the first season, it makes perfect sense that the Duffer Brothers will explore the agency's background in more detail as Season Two progresses.

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

During an interview with IGN, the brothers revealed that;

“[We like] the idea of going back to the laboratory and pulling back the curtain a little bit. Maybe they brought someone new in. It’s not as evil and mysterious as it was in Season 1. We might start to get into what they’re doing a bit little more. Maybe they seem a little bit more friendly… as least at the beginning. A lot of the agents involved in that project are dead.”

It's not hard to imagine that at least one of the four new characters will be introduced through the re-emergence of the shady organisation, potentially even leading the new experiments if Dr Brenner doesn't return.

Where Will Season Two Take Place?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

Aside from the Upside Down of course, the vast majority of Stranger Things has been set in the small Indiana town of Hawkins up to this point. However, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Duffer Brothers let out a surprising tidbit that could signal a change of direction for the show.

“I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”

While this could just be a cheeky reference to the Upside Down, it's more likely that Season Two of Stranger Things will open in a brand new location as a unique way of introducing one of the four new characters.

What's The Main Inspiration Behind Season Two?

[Via Columbia Pictures/Netflix]
[Via Columbia Pictures/Netflix]

Although it's an extremely effective show in its own right, Stranger Things has certainly benefited from the numerous '80s references that the Duffers thread throughout each episode. Thus, it should come as no surprise that this motif is set to continue in Season Two.

However, while stand alone films like It and Stand By Me served as pivotal inspirations for the first season, the Duffers have suggested that Season Two will pay homage to classic '80s sequels instead, such as Aliens, Terminator 2 and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

[Via 20th Century Fox]
[Via 20th Century Fox]

Sequels don't always have the best reputation, but Matt Duffer isn't perturbed by this, stating to Entertainment Weekly that;

“I know movie sequels get a lot of s--t, but the ones we look up to aspire to pivot and do something different."

Obviously, Matt didn't watch the sequels to The Lost Boys then, which fell into a black hole of cheap prosthetics and bargain bins.

Will There Be Justice For Barb?

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

When it comes down to it though, there's only one thing that the fans really care about: will there be justice for Barb?

Barb's death was sadly overlooked by the residents of Hawkins in Season One, and she has since gone on to become a fan favorite.

There was talk of Barb returning somehow, thanks to the otherworldly elements of the show. Unfortunately, that's one plot point that the Duffers have confirmed to be false, telling IGN that;

“I can’t see it happening. But Barb will not be forgotten. We’ll make sure there’s some justice for Barb. People get very frustrated, understandably, that the town doesn’t seem to be really dealing with Barb. That stuff is all happening. We’re just not spending any screen time on it.”

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

While the immediate after-effects of Barb's death won't be shown in Season Two due to the year-long time jump, the Duffers have explained to IGN that;

“... these characters have changed and the audience has to sort of fill in those gaps of what went on in that year... So part of what we want to do with [hypothetical] Season 2 is to explore the repercussions of everything that happened.”

Whether this means that Barb's family will come to the fore or whether the Hawkins residents as a whole continue to feel the repercussions of her demise is up for debate. Either way, it's reassuring to know that the poor girl's death won't be left entirely unacknowledged.

[Via Netflix]
[Via Netflix]

See also:

If you feel like reliving the horror or simply want to pay respects to this much beloved, yet entirely fictional character, then check out our clip of Barb's death below and check back for more updates on Season 2 of Stranger Things, which already looks set to be the best TV show of 2017.

What would you like to see the Duffers explore in Season Two of Stranger Things?

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, IGN, Variety. Fan Art via Tsabo6