‘Stranger Things’ Season 3: Ships, theories, and possibilities

Happy Stranger Things Day!

Stranger Things Day, as declared by Netflix , is November 6th. The date marks the fictional anniversary of Will Byers’ disappearance from Hawkins, Indiana, in 1983. The days following that disappearance gave us Season 1, with the fall of 1984 providing Season 2. So where will Season 3 take us? We don’t know much, but we have picked up a few theories, plenty of possibilities, and even some intriguing ship options in and around Hawkins, Summer of ‘85.

What Do We Know

Some amateur perusing of the Interwebs will give you 36 versions of the same set of tidbits released by Netflix, the Duffers, and cast:

The Facts


  • Season 3 will take place in the Summer of 1985
  • Season 3 will drop most likely in Summer of 2019
    • 2019 has been confirmed, and Season 2 dropped right around the same time of year as in the show’s fictional world
  • Season 3 will be 8 or 9 episodes long
  • Season 3 will likely be the penultimate season
    • Editor’s note: the writer enjoys using the word penultimate in articles and encourages readers to drink anytime it’s used.

The Teases


  • David Harbour teased a reference to the 80s Chevy Chase movie, Fletch
  • The movies Lifeforce and Return to Oz have also been mentioned
  • Hawkins has a new mall
    • And we are here for the potential Scoops Ahoy! Steve action figure
  • Executive producer Shawn Levy has said they “won’t be abandoning the Dad Steve magic”
    • And we high-fived a million baby angels

New and Expanded Characters



  • “Alt-Girl” Robin, played by Maya Thurman-Hawke (who was engineered in the weird-sexy-smart-actor laboratory of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke)
  • Bruce the “reporter with questionable morals and a slick sense of humor,” played by Jake Busey, the actor with questionable morals and a slick sense of humor
  • Image conscious Mayor Kline, played by Cary “Matt Coleman Will Always Love You In Any Role You Ever Play, Especially Pierre Desperaux” Elwes
  • Community pool lifeguard Heather, who is, of course, named Heather (Francesca Reale)
  • Lucas’ little sister Erica will get an expanded role because God loves us again

The Ships

Let’s not f**k around. We’ll cut to brass tax. There are ships happening, possibly un-happening, and new ones on the horizon. When last we saw the crew, Mike and Eleven were together at the cutest dance loomed over by a horrible monster since Mr. Belding oversaw the Bayside High prom. Lucas and Max were together. And Nancy and Jonathan were hooking up during inferior subplots. Dustin was showing potential to become the poor man’s Steve Harrington. And … Joyce and Hopper were both intriguingly single (sorry, Bob … always in our hearts).

The Kids


The Duffer brothers have teased the coming of a monster far worse than anything we’ve encountered thus far: PUBERTY. The younger set of kids will likely go through some growing pains. One quote mentions that “they don’t love playing D&D as much as they used to.” What does that mean? It means f**k you, first and foremost. F**k your condescending adultness. BUT … I get it. So some Will potentially be holding onto childhood a little too much. Maybe one of them Will be getting left behind. Not sure which one it Will be. Who knows? Growing up could put a strain on friendships and relationships, and that scares me as much as the Mind Flayer.



But never fear, Steve is here. We have every reason to believe that Dad Steve could be getting a new love interest by way of the Thurman-Hawke Strangely Beautiful and Interesting Human Factory. Steve deserves a good ship, and I’m sort of loving “Alt-Girl” Robin before I even SEE her Misfits t-shirt. But please know, “Alt-Girl” Robin, if you hurt Steve, we will, as rational fans, demand you be fed to the Demo-dogs.



Also, Joyce-Hopper shippers, known lovingly as JoyHops (not really … I think I just made that up … unless they really are, in which case, amazing), have a glimmer of hope. These two feel destined to be together. And while, Season 3 may provide more complications than closure, there is every reason to believe we take another step toward a JoyHops sunset moment.



Billy. Yeah, I’m going to talk about Billy. Suck it up. Skip the paragraph if you can’t handle it. Billy has the potential to be a very human villain for yet another season, but he also has the potential for a Steve-level character development arc. The most likely path to redemption is by way of a ship. One popular theory, and the one I’m actually rooting for, is that Billy could be gay. His anger could be some misguided and closeted self-hate. Season 3 could give us a coming out moment for Billy, some unforeseen but wonderful ship, and a reason for forgiveness. But just as likely, Billy could be shipped with new character Heather, the lifeguard. Of course, to get anywhere near our hearts, Billy first has to overcome what appeared to be some racism toward Lucas. If that can’t be redirected as something we mistook for racism, or Billy can’t learn and grow enough to elicit forgiveness, then he’s all heel for another season and he can go ship the Demogorgon for all we care.


So far, we know very little. But there are a few tidbits of info to give us an idea or two. Starting out, let’s talk about the Fletch reference. The show has become known for movie references, but this is, admittedly, an odd one. In fact, it is entirely possible David Harbour is f**king with us by tossing it out. But maybe not. Stick with me.

Movie Reference Theories


Fletch, for those of you unfamiliar, which is probably all of you, centers around a funny, slightly unscrupulous journalist. Sound familiar? Jake Busey’s new character, Bruce, is described almost exactly that way. In the film, Fletch gets caught between authorities trafficking drugs and a shady doctor trying to fake his own death. Will there be drugs or death faking involved? Maybe not. But Bruce digging up something which puts him squarely between Hawkins Labs and the new mayor? Much more likely.

Return to Oz is another interesting nod. The Oz follow-up was decidedly darker, following a sleep-deprived, obsessed Dorothy as she escapes elctroshock therapy and heads back to Oz. When there she finds new friends, new foes, and a land under threat of destruction. Best guess? This is likely indication that we will, in fact, see a return of Eleven’s band of mutants. And there is no reason to believe anyone other than Eleven is the Dorothy in this scenario. We can assume The Upside Down is calling to her.

The final movie mentioned was the less-well-known Lifeforce. I’ll be honest. I had to Google it. The quick IMDb description reads, “A race of space vampires arrives in London and infects the populace, beginning an apocalyptic descent into chaos.” While I can’t imagine the inclusion of space vampires in Season 3, this does all but confirm my final theory about the penultimate (drink!) season …

Why a Mall?

The mall teaser was not simply for nostalgia. Any 80s babies like myself got a huge kick out of the teaser trailer, with its nods to places like Corn Dog 7 (Hot Dog on a Stick), Waldenbooks, and Sam Goody (you see, children, we used to go to stores and buy music on things called cassette tapes). But I think there is more to be gleaned from Starcourt. One movie I fully expect to get the all-out Stranger Things homage this season is Dawn of the Dead. The 1978 zombie movie is about a group of zombie apocalypse survivors who take refuge in a shopping mall. The Duffers have made subtle references to certain characters (such as Karen “Acting Mayor of Cougar Town” Wheeler) “opening themselves up to darkness.” If the Mind Flayer still has Hawkins in its sights, which it does, why would we not expect it to create some zombies with a little more destructive capability than Will Byers?

Possibilities for Stranger Things Day

With this national Netflix holiday upon us, what can we expect? I wouldn’t get my hopes too high. The most likely scenario is a teaser trailer similar to the one for Season 2. The Starcourt Mall trailer was really an unexpected gift. I think there is a possibility of getting a release date, along with maybe some more cryptic clues to the season’s plot points. If we’re right, rest assured, Pure Fandom will be here to break them down and over analyze them right along with you. And if we get nothing, then we can just post a series of Dad Steve gifs and commiserate together.

Happy Stranger Things Day!

Stranger Things Seasons 1 & 2 are streaming on Netflix. 


Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman writes mysteries, comedies, and irreverent analyses of pop culture. He is the author of JUGGLING KITTENS and GRAFFITI CREEK, both of which have too many bad words for his mom's liking. You can find him at

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