Earlier this year, Netflix premiered its new series, Stranger Things, which immediately resonated with a massive audience and caused a pop-culture craze. Almost just as immediately, a second season went into production. And coming from a fan's perspective, they're not wrong to do so!
We don't know much about S2 yet, except that it will continue the storyline of the first season. The Duffer Brothers also promised in an interview with Entertainment Weekly to expand the setting beyond Hawkins, Indiana:
We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins. I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.
The Duffers also said that James Cameron will be a big influence on Season 2, so we can safely make the assumption that it will delve deeper into the mythology behind the Upside Down and everything that inhabits said parallel universe. We also know what the episode titles will likely be, thanks to this teaser, which has nearly 3.5 million YouTube views in a single week:
It's pretty difficult to predict stories based on titles alone, but that hasn't stopped the internet from trying. So let's join in the fun! Here are my best theories for each episode — vote for the most plausible predictions, and maybe we can figure this out together.
Chapter One: Madmax
A very interesting title for Chapter One, seeing as how no current character is named Max. Will a new character be introduced? If so, does "mad" suggest they'll have some anger issues to be worked out?
Since the Duffers said that the beginning scene of the premiere won't take place in Hawkins, that could mean "Max" (if that is a new character's name!) has a pivotal connection to one of the current cast members...
- Is Max another government guinea pig, brought up in isolation and used for experimentation like Eleven? Perhaps he's still in captivity as a test subject, or maybe he escaped. (However, in this case, wouldn't it make sense for Max's name to be "Ten" or "Nine"?) Max could even be a perfect killing machine, similar to what was originally intended for the character of Eleven.
- Is Max another individual trapped in the Upside Down? The aspect of a new person emerging from the Upside Down, who perhaps went "mad" there, would shake up Stranger Things as a series altogether.
- Is Max a malevolent being from the "Upside Down"? The kids named the Demogorgon after a Dungeons & Dragons character — maybe they'd name another monster after, uh, Mel Gibson?
What do you think is the more logical explanation? Let us know below!
Who is Max in "Chapter One: Madmax"?
Chapter Two: The Boy Who Came Back To Life
Obviously, the title of this chapter will follow Will Byers as he begins to assimilate back into normal life. During the last moments of Season 1, Will looked into the bathroom mirror and couldn't force his vision to cut short when he began seeing the border between his world and the "Upside Down" melding together.
Or is that obvious? Could it be referring to a different boy, someone whom we haven't met yet? (Is it "Max"?!) Or could one of the other main characters have a near-death experience in this episode? Hey, bicycling without a helmet is super dangerous.
Is Will Byers "the boy who came back to life"?
Chapter Three: The Pumpkin Patch
This could feature the kids exploring a new area of the town. It could be a literal pumpkin patch. Or perhaps it's a metaphor for an area within the government facility from Season 1, or a new government facility, wherein only "ripe" children are selected for the programs that created Eleven?
Another possibility: the "pumpkin patch" could be something the main cast will find inside the Upside Down. There were already cocoon-type structures established in Season 1. Is it possible that another venture through the Upside Down will take the crew through a "pumpkin patch" of unhatched embryos?
(And if one of them hatches, what might emerge?!)
Where is the "pumpkin patch" in Chapter Three?
Chapter Four: The Palace
This one ... is tough to predict. Since the Upside Down is now open territory to be explored, there could be some kind of "palace" in the parallel dimension.
Or the connotation of a palace could simply mean the main cast will explore a large mansion that has a palatial appearance. (A big, creepy house would definitely fit into the Stephen King-inspired world.) Or, like the previous theory for the "pumpkin patch," perhaps the palace is a new government facility set up to conduct experiments similar to the ones that created Eleven.
What is the palace?
Chapter Five: The Storm
A storm is coming ... but is it literal or metaphorical? This title could refer to the actual weather outside, in which case the main cast may spend the episode indoors sorting out what to do when the storm passes, creating a type of claustrophobic sit-in atmosphere, or they may be trapped outside in the bad weather.
Or could the title be a reference to the effects of storm-like telekinetic abilities, especially if El is somehow resurrected, causing the occurrence of atmospheric disturbances? If she does return, she may be even more powerful than she was in Season 1.
Or, going even deeper into metaphorical territory, the "storm" could mean the beginning of a sequence of major events. Here's why: sometimes, when a storm starts pouring down, small tadpoles — otherwise known as "pollywogs" — drop down from clouds in droplets of water ... and the next Stranger Things episode is titled "The Pollywog.")
What's your forecast for "The Storm"?
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Chapter Six: The Pollywog
Considering the tadpole phenomenon, this title is likely a metaphor for some kind of birth or rebirth. Will it mean the hatching of more Upside Down creatures? For all we know, "the pollywog" could be a newborn raised by the younger cast until the creature's natural instincts kick in.
Or it may mean the return/rebirth of Eleven, since many theories online suggest that El didn't sacrifice herself in the Season 1 finale, but rather transported herself and the creature back to the Upside Down. That would fit with the theory of her causing "The Storm" from the previous episode.
Alternatively, the pollywog could be another telekinetic child "birthed" by government experiments. Something tells us that the shadowy agency is not ready to give up on that research.
What or who is the "pollywog"?
Chapter Seven: The Secret Cabin
This could refer to a hideaway for the main cast, perhaps when the government comes calling again, looking for answers as to where Eleven went and why their research team was massacred.
Or, like the "Palace," perhaps the cabin is a structure within the Upside Down that the main cast will explore — and hide from monsters within.
Or, um, the "secret cabin" might just be a secluded make-out spot for Steve and Nancy to sneak out to, in order to have some unadulterated fun without parental supervision!
What kind of cabin are we going camping in?
Chapter Eight: The Brain
The big question here is whether we're talking about a human brain or something else. In the former scenario, the episode may focus on a deeper exploration of Eleven's powers and the science behind them. We've already seen how much the use of her telekinetic powers weighs on El — is it possible that her brain is suffering more than she knows? Wherein El's brain needs to be operated on, in order to save her life?
Or could "The Brain" be referring to a really smart person who can explain what the Upside Down is, or at least how it came into existence, or some other essential question about it.
One last possibility, if the brain isn't human? The kids may encounter a hive mind that controls the functions of the Upside Down, or the creatures that inhabit it.
What does your brain think "The Brain" is?
Chapter Nine: The Lost Brother
Could this be referencing Will and Jonathan Byers? Could Will slip back into the Upside Down, as the Season 1 finale suggested? Or might Johnathan even find himself there for an undetermined reason?
Maybe it's a new character related to one of the existing cast members, whom we haven't met yet due to his being "lost"?
Or is it referring to a death in the group of young friends, as one of them becomes "lost" to the others? Chapter Nine will be the last episode of the season, which means the possibility for a tragic death rises dramatically during said episode ... and considering the bond that the four young boys share, a loss of a friend would be equal to the loss of a brother.
Who's the lost brother?
What else do you predict for the upcoming season of Stranger Things? Let us know your theories in the comments below!