When you watch Stranger Things, there are a few things you can always count on. Eleven is going to kick ass, Jim Hopper is going to be criminally handsome, and Will Byers is going to take a thorough beating from the forces of the Upside Down. But not anymore, according to series producer and director Shawn Levy. OK, Hopper’s still probably going to be pretty handsome, but it sounds like poor Will Byers is finally getting some much-needed R&R.
“We’re going to give Will a break,” Levy tells Glamour. “We’re not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row. He’ll be dealing with stuff, but he won’t be at rock bottom the way we forced the amazing Noah Schnapp to play.”
And don’t expect Dustin or Hopper to fill Will’s ailing, slug-chucking shoes anytime soon either — it doesn’t necessarily matter who got on the Shadow Monster’s bad side in Season 2. The Shadow Monster may still be thriving in the Upside Down, as we saw at the end of last season, but Levy teases that we’ll be “dealing with forces of evil that are new” in Season 3.
What forces? No details at this time, but when we spoke with Levy last year, he teased a possible follow-up on that inky cloud of darkness that escaped will when he was scalded by the fire. We definitely see when Will is saved those particles, that particulate — we used to call it the particulate of evil,” Levy explained, “it emerged not in the Upside Down but in our world. and maybe that’s got to be dealt with…”
While we won’t get answers until late 2018, early 2019 when Season 3 premieres on Netflix, the Stranger Things writers room has already charted out the entire season. Now it’s just about the fine-tuning the details of the individual episodes, because the storylines are nailed down. “We’re there,” Levy says. “It’ll be an eight- or nine-episode season. The number of episodes will be dictated by the amount of story that excites us. We now know what is going to happen in season three to every character.”
One more thing — get ready to dig deep with Dustin and Steve. The fan-favorite duo will continue to evolve next season. “In Season 2, it was all very cute and there was a funny factor to it because it was unexpected, but now that it is expected, I want to see them connect more and be more familiar with each other,” he says. “I want them to have a connection like they’ve really had a connection for a year—like they’re brothers.”
While it may be a while before we get to head back to Hawkins, it’s good to now that Netflix and the Stranger Things team have wasted no time — last year’s Halloween release date was a perfect pairing and I’m definitely hoping they can nail it down in time for another spooky debut.