Stranger Things fans are dying to learn more about what’s next for Hawkins, Indiana. By the end of Season 2, There are plenty of unanswered questions and tons of dangling plot threads that can be continued into Season 3, which is in contrast to the relatively self-contained Season 1.
Season 3 is still nowhere near completed, but there are a few details that creators Matt and Ross Duffer are now revealing about it — especially in regards to the way that two new characters will factor into the story. But before we delve into the two characters with majorly expanded roles in Season 3, let’s take a look at how the new characters were introduced in Season 2 — skip to page three to see what the Duffers have to say about which characters will get more to do next year.
1. Stranger Things Season 2 introduces Max, Billy, Erica, Bob, Murray, and Dr. Owens
In Stranger Things Season 1, viewers are introduced to a set of characters that they grow to love by the end of the eight episodes. But in Season 2, rather than just focusing on the existing characters, the Duffers decided to throw many more into the mix and change up the dynamics significantly.
The most obvious addition to Season 2 was Max, the new girl in town who the gang becomes obsessed with after seeing her high score on an arcade game. She’s eventually brought into the group and becomes a love interest for Lucas, much to the chagrin of Dustin. Max’s brother Billy is introduced alongside her as well.
Other characters new to the season include Bob Newby, Dr. Owens, Murray Bauman, and Lucas’s family, including his younger sister, Erica. The cast of Season 3 has not been confirmed yet, but we can assume all of these characters who are still alive by the end of Season 2 will be back. Sadly, Bob Newby will not be back, having been killed in a heroic fashion in Season 2.
2. But many of these new characters didn’t get a lot to do
Among the new characters, none of them really becomes the main focus of Season 2, and there’s definitely room to expand upon all of them in Season 3. With the new season, the real standout is definitely Will Byers, who can almost be considered a new character considering how insignificant his role was in Season 1.
Season 3 could certainly give Max more to do, as there remain a lot of unanswered questions about her as a person. In retrospect, she seemed to mainly exist in Season 2 in order to create tension between Eleven and Mike and between Lucas and Dustin. And she doesn’t really become a full-fledged member of the team who is aware of the threat of the Upside Down until the very end. We’ll definitely see more of her relationship with Eleven next year; despite Eleven blowing off Max in the Season 2 finale, the Duffers say that they won’t be enemies for all of next season.
“We are excited to maybe see some more of those two together, moving forward,” Matt Duffer told Hello Giggles. “You can’t play note over and over again. I think the idea of their relationship evolving in some ways, definitely. Something we’re interested in.”
The Duffers have also said that one of their challenges heading into Season 3 is figuring out which characters in this world to focus on and who else to introduce, but they have suggested that they probably won’t keep bringing in tons of new characters. Duffer told Vulture, “If anything, we want to streamline the show. We don’t want it to get too unwieldy.”
3. Billy is one of two characters who will have an expanded role in Season 3
The Duffers revealed that in Season 3, they’re going to give some of the new characters a lot more to do, including Max’s brother, Billy.
In an interview with Vulture, Matt Duffer explained that Billy was originally going to have a big role in Season 2 and was going to be involved in a whole supernatural subplot, but this was pushed into Season 3.
“Billy was supposed to have a bigger role,” Duffer explained. “We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural storyline that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three.”
Duffer went on to say that they always forget how little time they have to work with every season and get overly ambitious about what ideas they want to put in.
4. Billy is meant to serve as the main human villain
So what was the point of introducing Billy, and why do the Duffers want to give him more to do next year? They have explained that they wanted the show to have a human villain. This was actually meant to be the purpose of the Steve Harrington character in Season 1. But actor Joe Keery brought so much to Steve that they decided to make him into more than just a cliche jock villain.
However, that meant that going into Season 2, there was room for an actual jock villain who is unambiguously evil, and that was why they wrote the Billy character. Duffer told Vulture:
We were like, “We do really want just a bad human character, a human villain.” That’s why we created the character of Billy. That’s something that Stephen King always has in his works. There’s a human villain who’s just as bad, if not worse than the supernatural one. That was the intention here.
It doesn’t sound like we should expect a Steve Harrington-style redemption arc where Billy suddenly becomes more likable, at least not in the immediate future. Towards the end of Season 2, we did see a scene of Billy interacting with his abusive father, which some speculated could be the start of the show making him sympathetic. But on Beyond Stranger Things, the Duffers said this scene was meant to show where evil comes from, not necessarily to try to get us to sympathize with Billy.
“He’s still a terrible person,” Duffer said on Beyond Stranger Things. “And evil. But it’s interesting the question of ‘where does this come from?’ It’s in no way excusing the behavior. It’s more just an exploration of where does this come from.”
5. Billy might hook up with Mrs. Wheeler in Season 3
In terms of where Billy’s character can go in Season 3, it looks like an affair with Mrs. Wheeler, Mike’s mother, might be on the horizon. The two have a flirtatious scene together towards the end of Season 2, and the Duffer brothers have hinted that more might be coming in Season 3.
“Karen is lonely,” Ross Duffer said on Beyond Stranger Things. “If you notice, she always has a glass of wine with her.” Matt Duffer added that “Ted is not satisfying her,” and he suggested that he thinks Billy hooking up with Mrs. Wheeler would be “hot.”
There’s a fan theory going around that Billy is actually gay and part of why he’s so aggressive towards Steve is that he’s attracted to him. The Duffers have not weighed in on that, but for what it’s worth, the actor who plays Billy said that this did not come up during the production of Season 2.
It’s kind of like this homoerotic sort of vibe. Especially with the basketball scene, it totally reminds me of a Top Gun volleyball competition sort of thing. I don’t know if that’s what the Duffers intended, but it’s interesting that people are gleaning that from it. There may be a grain of truth in that, although we didn’t talk about it. But I think that all of those ’80s things have that sort of influence potentially, so, yeah, I don’t know. We’ll see. I think maybe we’ll touch upon that next year.
6. Erica will also have more to do in Season 3
Billy is not the only character who will have an expanded role in the third season of Stranger Things. Erica, Lucas’ little sister, will also have more screentime.
“There is no version of Season 3 where Erica doesn’t have a majorly expanded role!” Matt Duffer told Vulture. “She’s got to. She’s too good.”
Duffer explained that they did not originally plan for Erica to have as many scenes as she did in Season 2. But actress Priah Ferguson just blew them away. He stated:
It was going to be a throwaway part. This girl came in from Georgia and just killed it, and then she killed it on set. I was thinking, “Maybe she just nailed the audition,” but it was every day. We were dying. She knocked it out of the park every time we brought her it. Any excuse we had to get Erica in there, we’d write her in.
It remains unclear whether a majorly expanded role for Erica simply means that she’ll have more moments of comic relief or whether she’ll actually become important to the story. Either way, we can likely expect more no-nonsense comments undercutting what Lucas is doing as the show moves forward.
7. The Duffer brothers are now working on Season 3
The Duffer brothers are currently working on Season 3. It’s still early on in the writing process right now, and fans should likely prepare for a bit of a wait. There was a hiatus of 15 months between Season 1 and Season 2, and if Season 3 takes as long to make, it would be released in January 2019.
There are only so many things the Duffers have revealed about Season 3, but we do know it will feature a time jump of about a year. We also know that Will is not going to be the main person in danger again, like he was during the first two seasons.
Plus, the creators have stated that we will see more of Eleven’s mother in the future. The show will also delve more into the Mind Flayer as Eleven comes to realize that she’s not totally safe after closing the portal at the end of Season 2, as explained on Beyond Stranger Things.
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