Now that we’ve binged our way through Stranger Things 2, it’s time to partake in everyone’s favorite hobby: theorizing about what comes next! In the Beyond Stranger Things after-show, the Duffer brothers reveal that they wanted to wrap up more plot threads than they did in season one, and they didn’t want to kick-start season three in the finale, like they did for season two last year. But did they really do that? There are tons of questions left unanswered at the end of Stranger Things 2, so here the biggest nine that we’ll be thinking about until next season.
Are Hopper and Joyce finally gonna get together?
Yes, Bob Newby’s heroic corpse is still warm, but Jopper fans need this question asked right up front. Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper certainly share a traumatic experience now, if not several, and they’ve got a long history that dates back to sneaking cigarettes together in high school. There’s something in their final moments this season that suggests this pair may be closer to uniting than ever before. Just think, Will and Eleven could be step-siblings! David Harbour certainly wants it to happen, saying on Beyond Stranger Things that “the sex would be a lot better with Hopper than it is with Bob.” Ouch.
Were Dustin and Hopper infected in the tunnels?
A whole bunch of characters travel into the Upside Down–esque tunnels in Stranger Things 2, but two of our favorites also ingest a great deal of the funky stuff that’s floating around down there. Hopper spent a great deal of time trapped by those supernatural vines and Dustin swallowed a big chunk of Upside Down ephemera. Given the Duffer brothers’ reverence of Aliens, will these occurrences come back to haunt them? Like Will, might they develop a connection to this other dimension, or worse? If Dustin ends up having the Stranger Things version of a chest-burster, we’ll need years of therapy to deal with it.
What role will Kali play next season?
After that incredible opening scene for Stranger Things 2, we don’t see Linnea Berthelsen’s Kali until close to the end of the season, as Eleven has an adventure with her psychic “sister” that teaches our heroine the extent of her own powers. But is that it for Kali and her Warriors-esque crew? It’s hard to believe we’ve seen the last of her, not only because her connection to Eleven remains strong but because her arc ended so abruptly. There wasn’t the closure this character demands. There’s a lot more to this character and more story to tell.
Are there other numbers out there?
While we’re on the subject, are there other people like Kali and Eleven hiding in the Stranger Things universe? If we’ve met Eight and Eleven, where are the rest? The flashbacks to Eleven’s childhood and the way she connects with Eight certainly implies there could be more kids out there with similar powers. This is the kind of question that may not be answered in Stranger Things 3, but could come up in later seasons — or possibly a spinoff series. Just picture it: Stranger Things 5: Eleven Meets Twelve.
Will the Mind Flayer be the antagonist of season three?
That final shot of Stranger Things 2 is a beauty, and not just because it adds another layer to the use of “the stalker song,” as Gaten Matarazzo describes the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” in Beyond Stranger Things. The Mind Flayer is still watching every breath that the gang takes during the Snow Ball, as we see it stalking about Hawkins Middle School in the Upside Down. Does this mean that it’ll be back as the main villain next year? Or even further into the arc of the show? It certainly implies that we haven’t seen the last of this great TV villain.
Will Dr. Brenner return?
One of the most interesting developments in Stranger Things 2 is the strong implication that Matthew Modine’s Dr. Brenner is still alive. Not only does Kali tell Eleven that she hasn’t looked hard enough for “Papa,” but the Hawkins Lab goon that they threaten says that he can actually take them to Brenner. It’s not hard to envision a return for Modine’s formidable character in season three or beyond. After all, Eleven hasn’t completely closed the door on the first person to show her any care, so there’s a reason why she still hasn’t tried to track him down. (Also, Millie Bobby Brown has some fascinating insight into the Brenner-Eleven relationship in Beyond Stranger Things.) Whether it’s in flashbacks or an actual return to Hawkins, Brenner will almost certainly surface again.
Is Will Byers finally free?
The main narrative thrust of Stranger Things 2 was Will’s connection to the Upside Down, but are we sure that he’s been saved for good? We know that the Mind Flayer was able to hide itself pretty well inside Will’s mind. What if there’s still a deadly connection between it and Will? This poor kid just can’t catch a break.
What’ll happen to poor Steve?
The love triangle between Steve, Nancy, and Jonathan is all but over, officially leaving Steve as the third wheel. Sure, he’s become a big brother figure for Dustin, but is that enough to keep this character around for Stranger Things 3? He’ll be graduating from Hawkins High pretty soon, and as much as he’s a fan favorite, it feels like he’d be the one to go if the show decides to make room for new characters.
Is Hawkins Lab closed for good?
As most of the technicians at Hawkins Laboratory turned into food for Demodogs, and the rest drove off after Murray dropped his bombshell scoop about Barb’s death, it feels like the door is finally closed on the Hawkins Lab arc of Stranger Things. If we had to guess, season three will move away from characters like Dr. Brenner and Dr. Owens as primary characters, although a place like that surely has more secrets from its past just waiting to be unearthed.
Get all your Stranger Things 2 questions answered at the show’s Vulture Festival L.A. panel on November 18! Tickets are available here.