In a not-so strange turn of events, Netflix have confirmed that their summer hit Stranger Things will return in 2017 for a second season. A huge part of the show's appeal was the number of enticing mysteries that the Duffer Brothers set up during its initial run, many of which were still left unexplained by the end of the season finale. Thus, confirmation that Season 2 is on its way will undoubtedly come as a relief to the show's legion of fans.
While the announcement itself came as no surprise, what we didn't expect was that the Duffer Brothers would set up a whole new mystery so soon after the first season ended, providing us with the titles Season Two's nine episodes.
2017 is still a long way off, which means that specific details regarding the plot of Stranger Things' sophomore season will unfortunately be kept tightly under wraps for the time being. However, while we may not have the same psychic powers as Eleven, that won't stop us from breaking the Stranger Things episode titles down in more detail to try and predict potential story lines for Season Two. Now, where did I put that goddamn bathtub and my 1, 200 pounds of salt!?
This first Stranger Things season 2 episode title is surprisingly one of the most puzzling - While Mad Max is of course the name of a hugely successful action franchise starring Mel Gibson, the individual release dates of the original trilogy don't match up with the time period in which Season Two of Stranger Things is set.
- Mad Max - 1979
- Mad Max 2 - 1981
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - 1985
The video reveals that we're going to catch up with the residents of Hawkins in the fall of 1984, so any potential Mad Max links are less obvious than they might first appear. Of course, the Duffer Brothers take delight in referencing classic '80s movies, so the premiere episode may feature some kind of specific homage. However, it's more likely that the title refers to a character's name, particularly as the show runners have deliberately combined the two words into one.
While none of the characters in Season One of Stranger Things are called Max, it's already been confirmed that four new characters will appear in upcoming episodes, one of whom could possess this name. Could the adjective 'mad' refer to one of the scientists who work as part of the shady government organisation, or is there even another child who shares Eleven's abilities who just so happens to be called Max? After all, there were ten children who who were tested on before her.
2. The Boy Who Came Back To Life
Those hoping to see the return of Barb alive and well may be sorely disappointed by this second episode title, that suggests if anyone's coming back to life, it's going to be a boy and not a girl.
However, none of the boys featured on Stranger Things actually died in Season One. The only notable male death seemed to involve Matthew Modine’s creepy scientist, Dr. Martin Brenner, although his death is never actually depicted on screen either, so it seems unlikely that his potential return would be labelled like this.
What's far more likely is that this title shouldn't be taken too literally. The last episode of Season One ended on a cliffhanger regarding Will, whose return from the Upside Down seemed to affect him in a potentially negative way, so it makes sense that he would be the focus early on in Season Two. As Will almost died in the alternate dimension where he hid from the Demogorgon, this title could refer more explicitly to Will re-acclimatising to normal life after his traumatic ordeal. This seems the most logical option as the title also directly refers to the heading of an article shown at the end of the last season, titled 'The Boy Who Came Back to Life'.
Alternatively, we're going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps this title could even refer to the aforementioned 'Max'; a mystery character who may have been resuscitated after Government forces pushed him too far in order to develop potential psychic abilities.
3. The Pumpkin Patch
While we still know relatively little about Season Two of Stranger Things, the fact that the second run of episodes will be set in the fall of 1984 almost guarantees that this episode will occur during Halloween.
What this means is that we'll undoubtedly see a number of references to classic horror movies from the era such as Halloween, but in terms of actual story development, this title is a little too vague to any glean any further context.
4. The Palace
Stranger Things may feature a number of fantastical elements —including psychic girls and demonic creatures from another world — but the idea of revealing an actual palace in the town of Hawkins could be one step too far.
Instead, it seems far more likely that a palace-like building appears in an alternate reality, or even pops up during one of the boys beloved games of Dungeon & Dragons.
Alternatively, if the fan-favorite character Eleven does return from wherever she vanished to in the Season One finale, she'd find it extremely difficult to re-acclimatise to life in Hawkins once again. 'The palace' could represent some kind of safe haven for Eleven that's almost majestic in comparison to everywhere she's lived before.
5. The Storm
Nothing says 'creepy and dramatic' quite like a good storm, so it comes as no surprise that the residents of Hawkins will endure one in Season Two. It's likely that the chaos of the storm will be accompanied by some kind of climactic event featuring otherworldly creatures, or the shady government organisation from Season One.
In terms of specific references, the storm scene from Poltergeist is arguably one of the most iconic horror sequences from the entire decade, so we'd bet money that some kind of homage will take place in this particular episode. Stephen King also wrote a story called Storm of the Century that was adapted for TV, so we wouldn't be surprised if the episode paid homage to this tale in some way too, particularly when you consider the undeniable ties between the Duffer Brothers work and the King of Horror himself.
6. The Pollywog
Out of the nine episode titles revealed for Season Two, 'The Pollywog' is arguably the most left-field. The term is most commonly used to describe tadpoles, which are often symbolic of significant change, as these creatures dramatically alter as they grow into frogs.
If this is the meaning behind the Duffer Brothers choice here, it's likely that 'The Pollywog' refers to Will, whose time spent in the Upside Down clearly changed him. Rumors regarding Season Two have already suggested that Will may have brought back something bad from the Upside Down, something that could even turn him evil.
Alternatively, the term 'pollywog' is also used to describe sailors who haven't yet crossed the equator, so this could refer symbolically to one of the central characters attempting inter-dimensional travel for the first time, moving from our world into the Upside Down. Our money's on Mike, the young boy who bravely led the charge when his best friend Will first went missing.
7. The Secret Cabin
Secrets in the world of Stranger Things inevitably lead to the clandestine government organisation who first experimented on Eleven, so there's a chance that this 'cabin' could house the remnants of the staff who survived the combined attack of Eleven and the Demogorgon.
If that's the case, the Duffer Brothers may choose to reintroduce Dr. Martin Brenner in this episode, revealing where he's been hiding out this whole time and potentially continuing his experiments on children and psychic warfare.
Stranger Things also took great delight in paying homage to classic coming-of-age movies such as The Goonies and Stand By Me, suggesting that this secret cabin could become a hidey-hole for the central group of kids instead. 'The Secret Cabin' could refer to place where they hide to protect themselves, or gear up to fight the primary threat of Season Two — whether it be the Demogorgon, more government agencies or something else entirely.
8. The Brain
If the secret cabin of the previous episode is linked to the government's experiments in some way, then the eighth episode of Season Two will clearly be linked explicitly with the psychic abilities developed by the likes of Eleven.
Whether the poor girl will become the focus of this episode or someone else who has similar powers (Max!?) is up for debate, but it's hard to imagine this not being the central plot point here.
Alternatively, if Eleven does return, this could be the moment when she finally realises that she and the Demogorgon are one and the same. That is, if the current round of fan theories circling the internet are to be believed.
9. The Lost Brother
The final episode of Season Two will be the most dramatic of all, hence why the show runners have chosen this particularly powerful title. What's unclear though is whether a lost brother returns, or if someone's sibling disappears somehow in the Season Two finale.
In terms of characters we're already familiar with, there are two notable pairs of siblings who could be involved directly here. Will and Jonathan Byers arguably drew the most focus in the first season, and the time that Will spent in the Upside Down may have an adverse effect on him. However, we've already dealt with his character in detail throughout the first season due to his disappearance.
Instead, we think it's more likely that Nancy Wheeler may lose her brother Mike somehow. After all, Finn Wolfhard's portrayal of Will's best friend was one of the shows breakout performances, and Nancy also became a firm fan favorite as the series progressed. Some kind of separation between the two would be an extremely powerful moment that could even rival Eleven's final (?) confrontation with the Demogorgon last season.
Oh, and then there's always the mysterious Max, who could very well turn out to be Eleven's long lost brother — and yes, we will continue to push this theory until it's proved to be false once and for all.
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No specific release date has been announced for Season Two of Stranger Things yet, other than that it will premiere at some point in 2017, but new information will come our way soon. At this point, there's one thing we can guarantee: the adorable Dustin will continue eating his fill of chocolate pudding, regardless of the potential diabetes that lies in store for him.
What do you think will happen in Season 2 of Stranger Things?
Fan art via Anndr