The duo behind the Netflix smash hit explains how the ending of ‘Stranger Things 2’ sets up the show’s third season.
The second season of Stranger Things, or Stranger Things 2, has been out for less than a week. But whether we’ve already binged the new season or not, we wait with bated breath for nuggets about the next one. Stranger Things co-creators Ross and Matt Duffer are here to assure fans of the future of everyone’s favorite Netflix obsession, specifically how the final episode of Stranger Things 2 sets up possibilities for Season 3.
If you recall, Season 1 of Stranger Things ended on Will Byers‘ (Noah Schnapp) unnerving remaining connection to the Upside Down. There’s a whole lot of ominous tension going on in the finale of Stranger Things 2 as well. We arrive at a point of closure for some of the show’s mythology, such as where exactly Season 1’s Demogorgon sits in the food chain of the supernatural in the Upside Down. We’re also given a taste of Eleven‘s (Millie Bobby Brown) true strength and power as she manages to close the gate between the Upside Down and Hawkins. However, the Mind Flayer, a towering Cloverfield-esque monster that seems to be running the show on the other side, is more adamant than ever to cross over and engulf Hawkins for good, even as the kids dance the night away at the Snow Ball.
“Yeah, we don’t end it on a totally happy note, do we? [Laughs],” the Duffers recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “There were discussions about that, but then we went, ‘Nah, we have to hint at what’s to come.’ The hope we wanted people to get out of it is that this thing [is still out there].
“They’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven. It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she’s out there. We wanted to end on a little bit of an ominous note on that level.”
For the Duffers, the ending of Stranger Things 2 presents the opportunity to explore fresh ground again. Much of the season may have answered several questions posited in Season 1, but the inherent mystery of the Big Bad remains unsolved. The Mind Flayer was barely addressed in Season 2, echoing how the Demogorgon was simply dealt with in Season 1 without too much of an explanation. The finale serves as a back-to-basics approach to the show in order to keep the mythology blossoming:
“Last year, we had a lot of little cliffhangers at the end of the season. We didn’t want to do that again. We didn’t want to box ourselves in for season three. We wanted to be able to start season three on a very clean slate. It felt totally unnecessary, when we had the Snow Ball. Once we had the Snow Ball, we didn’t know [if we wanted to do] anything else as an ending.”
Season 3 would be the perfect place to set up something different, given the Duffers’ desire to end the show a lot sooner than most of us would like. Many of the characters would benefit greatly from a clean slate too. ‘Justice for Barb’ was a thing that Seasons 1 and 2 focused on, but the opportunity for Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) to explore a storyline outside it and apart from the love triangle she’s been caught up in for far too long is too good to pass up. Sadie Sink‘s Max Mayfield had a strong introduction in Stranger Things 2, and it would be great to see her continue to grow as part of the group of kids in the following season. (No one wants her brother Billy to come back though, sorry Dacre Montgomery.) And although I loved Bob and he deserved better, Joyce Byers/Jim Hopper needs to happen in Season 3. I’m sure David Harbour will agree, given all the fanfic he’s read.
“It’s a balancing act. If you tell too much, it loses a little bit of that mystery. We obviously will shed more light on it moving forward, but we want to do it a little bit at a time. Even at the end, I don’t think we’re going to answer all of those questions, and I don’t think we even necessarily need to. We’re telling this story from the point of view of very human characters.”
There is one other nugget to garner from the Duffers’ THR interview, and that is yes, time jumps are pretty much a given for the upcoming season: “Even if we wanted it to be static and we wanted to continually recycle the same storyline — and we don’t — we would be unable to, just because the kids are changing. It’s cool, though. The audience is going to be able to watch these kids come of age every year.”
Stranger Things 2 has already garnered plenty of positive reception, and the hype shows no signs of slowing down. The pressure is on to create a satisfying follow-up to the introduction of the Mind Flayer, but it’s great to see that the Duffers are deeply considering the humanity that makes Stranger Things great. We’re not just here for the 80s nostalgia and a constant deluge of cultural references, although no one’s complaining about those things in the slightest. What matters is the Duffers have clearly mastered the art of the circus that is Stranger Things and we can’t wait for more.
Related Topics: Netflix, Stranger Things