Of all the amazing things to watch on Netflix – and there are plenty to choose from – Stranger Things has to be the streaming service’s most-talked-about show.
The good news is that a third season of Stranger Things is on its way to Netflix, after a longer break than we would have liked away from the curious town of Hawkins.
Here’s everything you need to know about season three, including when it’s coming, who’s in it, and what happens next.
Watch the first official trailer for season
It's the summer of 1985 and we've got ice cream, jazzy patterened summer shirts, rats, The Who's Baba O'Riley and more slimy, scary creatures.
The footage largely centres around the locations of the Starcourt mall and the Hawkins country fair.
Season 3 - First look pictures
The trailer and images show that Hopper (David Harbour) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) have discovered the 80s fashion for Hawaiian-style print shirts, while Joyce (Winona Ryder) also has a fresh new haircut.
Dustin and Steve's bromance looks like its blossoming, while some characters have new jobs with Steve working at the Starcourt mall, Billy (Dacre Montgomery) as a lifeguard and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) at the local newspaper.
The trailer also includes the first footage of new arrivals Maya Hawke, Jake Buser and Cary Elwes asa Hawkins' new mayor.
When is Stranger Things season 3 on TV?
It’s been a long wait for new episodes of Stranger Things since the second series debuted around Halloween 2017.
Filming finished on series three in November 2018 and it’s been confirmed that the episodes will stream on Netflix from July 4, 2019.
What is the story so far?
Stranger Things is a glorious celebration of the 80s and its movies about childhood friends taking on the world together.
When Will Byers went missing on the way home from an evening playing Dungeons and Dragons with his best buds, it kicked off a weird series of events that uncovered an otherworldly threat preying on the town of Hawkins.
Around the same time, a mysterious young girl called Eleven arrived in town seemingly with no family, and took up residence in Will’s best mate Mike Wheeler’s basement while helping the boys to look for Will.
However, it soon became clear that as well as being their greatest asset in fighting the forces of evil in the parallel dimension - called the Upside Down - that were controlling Hawkins and holding Will, she was also attracting no end of trouble as a secret group of government scientists were on the hunt for her.
Series two saw Will saved from the Upside Down and the portal leading into it closed with the help of his big brother Jonathan and Mike’s big sister Nancy, as well as his feisty mum Joyce and rogue police chief Jim Hopper, who bravely entered the monstrous underworld in search of Will.
It was far from a simple task and involved battles with various terrifying creatures, all overseen by the Mind Flayer who had been haunting Will and looked to have settled over their school in the last episode.
The last series wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, as it finally saw Jonathan and Nancy get together (hurrah!) and the younger cast enjoyed their first school party at the Snow Ball, even managing to dance with some girls.
But with a deadly shoot-out at the secret government plant and the Mind Flayer seemingly still at large, Hawkins is a long way from being saved just yet.
What happens next?
Stranger Things creators the Duffer brothers know the show’s fans want surprises and twists galore so we’re not expecting too much in the way of plot spoilers before the summer.
However, we do know that the third season will be set in 1985, which is less than a year after the last series ended, and Ross Duffer has teased that it will be the last summer of their childhood.
Whether that means it’s the show’s finale, or just that they’ll be taking on more adult roles after that, remains to be seen.
A teaser has shown that there’s a new mall in Hawkins, and we’re expecting it to act as the backdrop for much of season three.
In fact, it will also be the new workplace of Nancy’s ex-boyfriend Steve Harrington, who will get a job in the mall’s ice cream parlour alongside newcomer Robin, who’s looking for a little excitement in her life outside of her mundane day job.
JULY 4 pic.twitter.com/UX9M1L02rd— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) 1 January 2019
We know Robin will uncover a dark secret in Hawkins, and with Steve having been a key part of rescuing Will from the Upside Down, it seems likely that she’ll be drawn into the group’s dealings with monsters.
Lucas Sinclair’s strong-willed little sister Erica is also set for a bigger part this season as she and her friends get involved in a risky fight to save Hawkins. Could they provide the new direction for the show after series three when the boys have grown out of their Dungeons and Dragons games?
Eleven will of course be a key part of the plot again, and we’re expecting to see more of her off-the-rails sister Eight, who made an appearance in season two with her band of criminals.
And of course, there’s still the little matter of the Mind Flayer to deal with…
Who will star in it?
We’re can confirm that all the original cast are back – it just wouldn’t be Stranger Things without them.
That means Noah Schapp as Will, Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, and Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven all return.
Outside of the child cast, there’s Winona Ryder as Joyce and David Harbour as Jim, and older teens Charlie Heaton as Jonathan, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, and Joe Keery as Steve all make a welcome comeback.
Remember the gang’s new friend Max (Sadie Sink) and her violent stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery)? They’ll be back in the cast, too.
As previously mentioned, Priah Ferguson gets a more prominent role as Lucas’s sister Erica, and Maya Thurman-Hawke (daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke) joins the gang as ice cream seller Robin.
Other new cast members for season three will include Francesca Reale as pool lifeguard Heather who is the focus of a new dark mystery, Jake Busey as Bruce, and Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline.
Stranger Things season three is expected to return to Netflix on July 4.
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