It'll be a while before Stranger Things fans can return to the Upside Down, but while we're all anxiously waiting for Season 3 to premiere, here's a rundown of what we know is coming up in Season 3 of Netflix's supernatural hit:
1. It will premiere Summer 2019. Stranger Things was renewed for Season 3 way back in December 2017, and production kicked off in April 2018. Going along with the show's seasonal themes — Season 1 was set in the weeks leading up to Christmas, while Season 2 was set around Halloween — Season 3 is all about how "one summer can change everything," and it premieres on July 4, 2019. Unfortunately, this means you're going to have to cancel any BBQ plans you had for the day.
2. Let's go to the mall! The first trailer for Stranger Things Season 3 features one brand new location: the Starcourt Mall. Not only will we get to witness Eleven's (Millie Bobby Brown) first trip to the mall, but it appears as if there's going to be at least one big battle there. A scene in the trailer shows our fearless group beaten up, bruised, and surrounded by rubble.
3. It's drawing on a major new pop culture influence. Season 3 will be set in 1985, which is the same year Back to the Future dropped. The movie is expected to be one of the big pop culture influences for the new season and has already been given a major nod in the clocktower shot that opens the season's teaser video.
Ahoy! Something is coming... to Hawkins, Indiana! pic.twitter.com/BI4wFRVzvB— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) July 16, 2018
According to Entertainment Weekly, the other films which inspired the season include Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Thing, Romancing the Stone, Midnight Run, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and the films of David Cronenberg.
4. The show will introduce new characters. '80s icon Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) will play Mayor Kline, who's described as "your classic '80s politician — more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs." Meanwhile, Jake Busey will play a journalist for the Hawkins Post named Bruce who has "questionable morals and a sick sense of humor."
Another character joining the action in Season 3 is an "alternative girl" named Robin, who will be played by Maya Hawke, daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. As reported by Deadline, the character is "equal parts sharp and playful. Bored with her mundane day job, she just wants a little excitement in her life... and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret in Hawkins." She'll be working in the Starcourt Mall's ice cream shop with Steve (Joe Keery), and she may very well be a new love interest for him.
5. More Erica! We'll be seeing a lot more of Lucas' (Caleb McLaughlin) precocious little sister Erica in Season 3, with actress Priah Ferguson being upped to a series regular. And this time, Erica and a group of her friends will take center stage to protect the residents of Hawkins from an ominous new threat.
6. Get ready for a "gross" new threat. Although the Mind Flayer is expected to make a comeback, there will also be a new danger in Season 3 that the Duffer Brothers have only described as "unexpected." The two teased in their book Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down that they'd be paying tribute to the horror favorites of the era — including John Carpenter's The Thing, George A. Romero, and David Cronenberg — and that the new season would be the "grossest" one yet.
7. Hopper's got a new attitude. David Harbour has also hinted that the good chief could (finally) be venturing into the romantic realm in the new season, too, telling TV Guide, "I think we'll start to see him take more risks with these new languages of intimacy and vulnerability and maybe we'll start to see that he has needs that he hasn't expressed before. That's exciting to watch him open up in that way. Of course he's going to flail and be horrible at it too, which is always fun as well." As for whether the person on the receiving end of his awkward affection is Joyce (Winona Ryder), well, that remains to be seen.
8. The show is returning to form. Stranger Things' third season will slim back down to original size, as the new season will consist of eight episodes, as opposed to Season 2's nine.
9. Episode titles are in. Season 3's episodes will be called "Suzie, Do You Copy?," "The Mall Rats," "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard," "The Sauna Test," "The Source," "The Birthday," "The Bite" and "The Battle of Starcourt." Here's what we think those titles mean.
10. The new character posters are explosive. Literally, explosive. The show is leaning hard into the summer theme, and the character posters show everyone hanging out at a carnival as fireworks explode in the background.
11. Billy is back and shirtless. Could you not get enough of Season 2's new semi-villain, Max's step brother, Billy? Dacre Montgomery is once again front and center for Season 3, and it appears Mrs. Wheeler (Cara Buono) — and all the moms in Hawkins — are harboring a huge crush for the town's new lifeguard in a short teaser.
12. Season 3 is bringing New Coke back from the dead. Forget Eggos. The biggest promotional tie-in for Season 3 is the inclusion of Coca-Cola's failed 1985 drink New Coke. According to the Duffer brothers, New Coke is going to be seen in a handful of episodes, and Coca-Cola is also going to release the drink out into the wild in case you really want to live out Stranger Things yourself.
Stranger Things Season 3 premieres Thursday, July 4. Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on Netflix.