Stranger Things Gets Stranger – Trailer Speculation


Photo credit to IMDb

Teaser poster for Stranger Things season 3

Nicholas Silva, Layout Editor

Life is back to normal in Hawkins. Eleven and the gang succeeded in their fight against the Mind Flayer, trapping the sinister force in the Upside-Down, and slaying its army of demodogs. Now it is July, 1985. Dustin is returning home from Camp Knowhere, and aside from some friendly pranking by El, there is no sign of anything paranormal. Only politicians and fairs.

But this is Hawkins, and nothing is normal. Lurking out of sight, there are crazed news reporters, the remains of the Mind-Flayer’s tunnels, and rats, lots of rats.

Based on a few shots in the trailer, it would appear that there is an infection in town, and a new monster which appears to be mutating. It is covered in raw, bloody skin, which is a clear change from the unscathed appearance of every other Hawkins baddy. Now, this could just be the result of it forcing its way into Hawkins from the Upside Down, similar to how the outriders in Avengers: Infinity War are similarly scarred after forcing their way through the Wakandan defensive shield.

However, it is now suspected that this is how the Flayer is exerting its control, in an attempt to capture or kill El, so that its power is unrivaled, and it can rise to the overworld and wreak terror. At the end of season two, as previously mentioned, the Flayer’s army of demodogs was killed when the portal to the Upside Down was closed, and his connection severed. But the heroes just left, as far as anyone can tell, the bodies of the beasts -at least some of them- in the tunnels that spread under all of Hawkins! If even a few of these beasts remain, they would make a good meal for a small creature such as a rat. Rats have been featured prominently in season three marketing, including some lurking at the bottom of the poster, to a horde of them scurrying across the floor in a trailer. Rats are synonymous with disease, and are often a carrier, as seen in Europe’s history. What if the rats of Hawkins decided to chow on some demodog corpses and now carry an Upside Down disease, ready to set it loose on Hawkins? It is also suspected that the Flayer can exert, by some means, control over those infected by the disease. This theory comes from the two, blank faced women walking through the 4th of July fair. This could be a terrifying prospect for Hawkins, and for the children, ahem teens, that are always tasked with guarding it. It is now not only demo-creatures that they have to worry about, it’s every single person in town, potentially even each other. This is far more sinister than anything that the Hawkins National Laboratory has cooked up so far.

However, what if this is all just massive misdirection, and the Department of Energy is actually the culprit once again. In the trailer there is some sort of electrical explosion, almost looking like ground based (or upside down?) lighting. The energy makes contact with, and repels, some people dressed in protective suits. This has to be Hawkins Lab, and other shots in the trailer show hallways that hearken back to the location. While of course these hallways could be in a hospital, indicating the infection plot, it is very likely that it is Hawkins Lab. Both seasons of Stranger Things have been influenced by the laboratories, and it always seems like the location’s future is uncertain. In the first season, Doctor Brenner and other higher-ups get killed by the demogorgon, and in season two the facility was ransacked by demodogs, and then seemingly closed off. So, it is very likely that the lab is still open, albeit in even more secrecy.

In these hallway shots there is a shot of new character Bruce, portrayed by Jake Busey, looking absolutely insane, with disheveled clothes spotted with blood. As stated earlier, there are subsequent shots that show what appears to be a mutating creature -in the same hallway. Bruce has been said to be an unsavory reporter, so what if he visited the laboratories, and was somehow affected by this energy pulse, of potential Mind Flayer origin, and because of his already twisted soul, was able to be twisted into a new force of evil for the Flayer’s army in a desperate effort to conquer the right-side-up.

If this Hawkins Lab theory turns out to hold water, there could still be the infection story arc, brought on by efforts of the Bruce Monster. However, it could also be another instance of storytellers being more creative with their trailers in an effort to manipulate viewers, and mask the true plot of the show. Perhaps the infection on Billy’s arm doesn’t even show up, or is related to his being stabbed by Max.

Whatever the case, everything will hopefully be cleared up upon the season’s release on July 4th. The season has been teased as darker, and whatever the case may be, whether either of the aforementioned theories prove true, that, at least, seems to be correct.