Ever since Stranger Things premiered on Netflix in 2016, it has been a huge success. The Duffer Brothers have given us a world of government intrigue, shadow dimensions, crazy monsters, and enough 80s nostalgia to make us geek out. We have fallen in love with the characters and watched them grow. With the Stranger Things 3 premiere quickly approaching, our excitement for the new season is increasing. Here are five things we know for sure about the season and five things we hope to see.

Before Stranger Things 3

We are excited to talk about our expectations for Strangers Things 3, but we want everyone to be on the same page first. Here is a quick look back at the first two seasons.

Stranger Things

Welcome to Hawkins, Indiana in November of 1983. After an accident at Hawkins Lab, Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair search for their missing friend Will Byers. They ended up finding Eleven, a girl with powers who ran away from the lab. With Eleven’s help, the boys discover that Will is in a shadow realm they call the Upside Down. The Upside Down is home to the Demogorgon, a terrifying creature that hunts people and animals and has no face.

Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix 2016

Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper and Will’s mother Joyce uncover the secrets of the lab. Mike’s sister Nancy and Will’s brother Jonathan hunt the Demogorgon. They all eventually end up together at the middle school to use Eleven’s powers to find Will. Hopper and Joyce are able to find Will, but Eleven disappears in an explosion of black dust when she destroys the Demogorgon.

Stranger Things 2

A year later, Will is having episodes that the doctors at Hawkins Lab think are post-traumatic stress related. Nancy can’t get over Barbara’s death, so she enlists Jonathan’s help to prove the lab is responsible. Dustin finds a creature that he thinks is an undiscovered species, but the party realizes that the creature, Dart, is from the Upside Down. Eleven, who has been living in secret with Hopper, goes on a journey to find her mother after seeing Hopper’s files and ends up finding a “sister.”

Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix 2017

Will’s episodes get worse, until the Shadow Monster from the Upside Down infects his mind. Dustin gets Steve Harrington to help track down Dart, and they discover he’s not the only one of his kind. Eleven returns to Hawkins to save her friends and to close the gate. With the gate closed, Will safe, and the lab shut down, things are looking up for Hawkins. Except now the Shadow Monster knows Eleven exists. It looms over the middle school while the kids dance at the Snow Ball.

Five Things We Know About Stranger Things 3

Although the official trailer for Stranger Things 3 dropped on March 20, 2019, the teasers started arriving last July, starting with Starcourt Mall. The Title Tease appeared in December and was quickly followed by Date Announcement at the beginning of this year. Summer in Hawkins was the final teaser, and the Final Trailer appeared June 20th. These trailers come together to give us an exciting, interesting, and confusing glimpse of the upcoming season. Fan theories started appearing almost as soon as the first teaser, but the following five things are clear without them.

Stranger Things 3
Credit: Netflix 2019

1. Starcourt Mall

The first thing any of us knew about this season is that Hawkins has a new mall. Considering that it is featured in its own teaser as well as several shots of the trailer, the mall will obviously be a major setting for the season. Steve works at the ice cream parlor, and from his co-worker’s question about how many children he’s friends with, Dustin isn’t the only one to visit him. Not only that, but the final episode is named “The Battle of Starcourt,” which pretty much sums it up.

2. Growing Up

Our beloved Hawkins Middle School A/V Club is growing up and growing apart. In the official trailer, we hear Mike asking someone if they thought they were going to play games for the rest of their lives. Since both Mike and Lucas have become part of a couple, Dustin and Will are probably feeling left out. We see a shot of each of them experiencing this: Dustin left on a hill alone as the others go off together, and Will sadly looking at a picture of the four guys in their Halloween costumes. Whatever is going on with them, we expect they will work it out somehow.

3. The Girls

While the rift seems to be separating the boys, Max and Eleven are becoming friends. In the official trailer, we see them hanging out in one of their rooms and then going to the mall. Both seem like typical 80s teenage girls things to do, but we’re happy for strong female bonding in a show that has been lacking in female/female friendships since the disappearance of Barbara in season one. Not that we have a problem with the friendships that already exist in the show, but we like the idea of the girls getting along.

4. New Faces

Stranger Things 3
Credit: Netflix 2019

Several new characters make an appearance in the official trailer, including Mayor Larry Kline, Heather the lifeguard, Robin from Scoops Ahoy, and Bruce the reporter. While there is speculation around all of these characters, it looks like Robin will become more than just a recurring character. She appeared several times in the trailer, including a shot that was very likely part of the final episode. In addition to these new characters, Lucas’ sister Erica will have a bigger role this season. We see her crawling through an air duct, very reminiscent of Die Hard’s John McClane.

5. Billy

Something is happening to Max’s bully of a stepbrother. At one point in the official trailer, we see he has some kind of infection in his arm. As soon as the trailer was released, fan theories about this shot started to surface. The originators of these theories probably feel vindicated by the recent release of the Final Trailer, because we clearly see that Billy is infected with something crazy.

The trailer makes it seem like he is the new host of the Shadow Monster, and we are nearly breathless with anticipation to see if it’s true.

What We Want to See In Stranger Things 3

We could speculate on theories and possibilities all day, but our other purpose is to talk about what we want to see this season. Along with the usual spectacular storytelling of the Duffer brothers, here are five things we hope to see in Stranger Things 3. We don’t know if these things will happen, but we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Stranger Things 3
Credit: Netflix 2019

1. Hopper & Joyce

With everything these two have suffered, and after the chemistry they shared in season two, we want to see Hopper and Joyce together. The official trailer shows a shot of Hopper waiting at a nice restaurant, followed by Joyce eating alone, so we have hope that this match could be a thing. Of course, between Hopper’s fear of losing people and Joyce’s experiences with men in the past, these two may have the odds stacked against them.

2. Will The Hero

Poor Will has spent two seasons in some kind of peril, and while both trailers clearly shows that he’ll be in the mix this season and not in trouble, we really want to see him shine. Surviving the Upside Down and the Shadow Monster’s mind control gives him something that his friends don’t have, in a similar way as Eleven. Sure, he doesn’t have powers, but he has experience, and we want to see him be a hero for once.

3. Lost “Siblings”

Stranger Things 3
Credit: Netflix 2019

Season two introduced Kali, aka Eight, a young woman with the ability to make others see whatever she wants. Considering the number sequencing of Kali and Eleven, many assume that there are other people with powers somewhere. Whether all eleven (if Eleven was the last) “experiments” produced people with powers and whether these people are even alive is unknown. However, we are curious about Eleven’s lost siblings, and we want to see more of them.

4. Return Of Dr. Brenner

For most of season two, we assumed Dr. Brenner died at the middle school when the Demogorgon attacked, but maybe we were wrong to assume that. When Eleven is with Kali, they attack a man named Ray, whom Eleven saw giving her mother electroshock in her mother’s visions. Ray tells Eleven and Kali that Brenner isn’t dead. It is possible Ray mentions Brenner to save his own life, but what if he is right? The return of Brenner would mean many things for the show, but particularly for Eleven. She has so much trauma associated with him, and who knows what will happen if she sees him again.

5. The Addition Of LBGT+ Character

This one is probably wishful thinking on our part, but we’re putting it out there anyway. The show has given us some amazing characters, but we would like to see some more diverse representation. We are very open to more characters of color, but the representation we are really interested in is that of LGBT+ characters. With so much emphasis on straight couples — Nancy and Jonathan, Mike and Eleven, Lucas and Max — things are feeling a bit one-sided. Reality has many sides, and those sides should have representation too.

Stranger Things 3 Should Be Today

Whether it’s the things we know we’re going to see, the things we want to see, or things we didn’t even imagine, we can’t wait for Stranger Things 3. Even if we don’t see the things we’re hoping for this season, we know it will be amazing.