‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Won’t Be Going in the Direction We Expected

The creators of Netflix’s Stranger Things have now mapped out the entire third season, which will be released sometime in 2019. They’ve said that they are approaching each season as if it’s a movie sequel. So with Season 3, they have the difficult task of creating a rare third installment that is fully satisfying.

There will reportedly only be four seasons in the show’s run, and by the end of Season 2, fans felt they were starting to get an idea of where the series is going. However, we’re now learning that those assumptions might have been completely wrong and that Season 3 is headed in a different direction than we expected.

1. Season 2 ended with the Mind Flayer still out there

The Mind Flayer seen among clouds and trees.

The Mind Flayer | Netflix

It’s been a while since Stranger Things Season 2 premiered on Netflix, so in case you’ve forgotten, the story left off with the Mind Flayer, also known as the Shadow Monster, still at large. This giant creature from the Upside Down was the main villain of the entire season, and Eleven confronted it in the finale.

However, Eleven was only able to close the gate and keep the Mind Flayer in the Upside Down. She did not actually defeat the creature. The final shot of the season was of the Mind Flayer watching over the characters at the Snow Ball, with the song “Every Breath You Take” ominously playing over the scene.

2. Everyone assumed the Mind Flayer would be back in Season 3

Dustin stands wearing a cap on a clear blue day.

Will Dustin be next? | Netflix

That final scene of Season 2 was quite ominous, and it sparked a variety of fan theories about where things would go from there. Some felt that the Mind Flayer would possess Dustin, who was sprayed in the face in the Season 2 finale. Some others felt that Hopper might be in danger.

Either way, most of these fan theories were based on the assumption that the Mind Flayer would continue to be the villain, which was a reasonable thing to think based on that last scene. But as it turns out, this assumption might have been wrong.

3. Producer Shawn Levy has shot down these theories

Shawn Levy standing in a tuxedo.

These theories are not true. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

But those two main theories about the Mind Flayer going after Dustin and Hopper are not correct. This came out in a recent Glamour interview with producer Shawn Levy. The interviewer asked Levy if the Mind Flayer will go after Dustin or Hopper in the new season. Surprisingly, he actually answered the question.

“You might assume that,” he said. “But you would probably end up being wrong.”

4. The Mind Flayer apparently won’t be the villain of Season 3

Will Byers being examined by a doctor in Stranger Things 2.

New villains are coming in season 3. | Netflix

Apparently, the villain next year is going to something completely different than the characters have ever faced before. In his interview with Glamour, Levy said that the characters will be “dealing with forces of evil that are new.” This suggests that not only will the villain not be the Mind Flayer, but it also won’t be anything connected to the Mind Flayer at all.

The creators of Stranger Things have embraced the idea that each season is sort of like a movie. So apparently, this will be like one of those movie franchises with a new antagonist every time. First, it was the Demogorgon. Then, it was the Mind Flayer. Next time, it will be something brand new.

5. The creators will start with a clean slate in Season 3

The 'Stranger Things' cast celebrating on a red carpet.

New slate, new plot, new adventures. | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re trying to figure out what Season 3 will be about based on how Season 2 ended, you should probably just give up. After all, The Duffer Brothers have said that they avoided introducing things at the end of Season 2 that would need to be followed up in Season 3.

“Last year, we had a lot of little cliffhangers at the end of the season,” Matt Duffer told The Hollywood Reporter. “We didn’t want to do that again…We wanted to be able to start season three on a very clean slate.”

So apparently, we shouldn’t be reading into many moments in Season 2 as being set-up for Season 3. Instead, it’s looking likely that next season’s conflict will be something entirely unexpected. This could also suggest that the villain of Season 3 will not be Kali, as fans have theorized.

6. The Mind Flayer will likely return in the future, though

Joyce and Jonathan looking worriedly at Will.

It isn’t gone forever. | Netflix

It would be tremendously disappointing if Stranger Things never followed up on the promise of that Season 2 ending. The Mind Flayer is still out there, so clearly, it must return at some point, right? It sounds like we probably will see it again, even though that might not happen in Season 3.

Ross Duffer previously told The Hollywood Reporter,

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.

Duffer also suggested that this scene is a “hint at what’s to come.”

Perhaps the Mind Flayer can be sort of a “big bad” that we don’t see any of in Season 3 but returns in the final season. Some fans have theorized that whatever the threat of Season 3 is, it will result in the gate to the Upside Down being opened again, allowing the Mind Flayer to return in Season 4, the final season.

7. Will won’t be the target this time

Finn standing in front of the group.

Who will be the next target? | Netflix

Whoever the new villain is, they apparently won’t be targeting Will. So far, both seasons of the show have revolved around trying to rescue Will in some way. Season 1 was about trying to find him after he went missing, and Season 2 was about protecting him after he became possessed by the Mind Flayer.

However, it appears that Will is safe in Season 3. Matt Duffer told Variety, “I think we need to give Will a breather, though, because he’s been through it two years in a row.” And Levy confirmed this, saying, “He’ll be dealing with stuff, but he won’t be at rock bottom the way we forced the amazing Noah Schnapp to play.”

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