Netflix’s beloved sci-fi horror Stranger Things will return to the fictional Hawkins, Indiana for Season 3 on Netflix in the near future, but when will the new series be released? How many episodes will there be? What’s going on for the kids these days? What strange, new interdimensional horrors await them on their next adventure?

Netflix has done a pretty good job of teasing Stranger Things Season 3 without revealing any actual information, but if you look hard enough you just might find something worthwhile. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things Season 3, from new plot details to episode titles, mixed in with plenty of realistic speculation.

What Happened at the End of Stranger Things Season 2?

Most of Season 2 involved battling the Shadow Monster (or Mind Flayer) that exists in the Upside Down as it tried to corrupt and invade the real world. The interdimensional rift at Hawkins Lab grew bigger and bigger, allowing demodogs to move into Hawkins proper. The Shadow Monster even invaded Will’s body.

Ultimately, Hopper and Eleven were able to work together to close the gate and save Hawkins, but it might’ve attracted the attention of the Shadow Monster more than ever before. As part of a deal Hopper made with Dr. Owens, the Sheriff was also able to formally adopt Eleven as Jane Hopper, legitimizing her identity as more than just a government experiment.

The utterly charming final scene of Stranger Things 2 takes place at a school dance where Mike and Eleven shared a kiss while Lucas and Max also get together. But looming over them, just a half-dimension away in the Upside Down, the Shadow Monster watches closely.

Stranger Things
Will 'Stranger Things' Season 3 leave behind the arcade?

When Is the Stranger Things Season 3 Release Date?

Netflix has yet to announce any official release date for Stranger Things Season 3, but we do know it’s coming sometime in summer 2019. That much was confirmed in a teaser video released earlier this year.

But we still don’t have a set release date for Stranger Things Season 3, at least not yet.

Season 3 of 'Stranger Things' has been in production since April.

How Far Along Is Production on Stranger Things Season 3?

Production supposedly began for Season 3 in April 2018, according to a video announcement from Netflix released April 27.

Then at the Emmy Awards red carpet in September, Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy told The Hollywood Reporter that Season 3 would wrap principal photography sometime in November. That would put things right on track for a summer 2019 release.

In early November, filming officially wrapped for Stranger THings Season 3, at least for the child actors that make up most of the main cast. Series star Millie Bobby Brown even shared a few emotional goodbyes on social media, which some took as a sign that Season 3 could also mean the end of the series entirely.

Wait, Is Stranger Things Season 3 the End of the Show?

Thankfully, the answer is no. Soon after those online goodbyes caused the internet to freak out about the end of Stranger Things, Brown appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert where she set the record straight.

When Colbert asked if the series was over or her character had died, Brown responded emphatically.

“No! I’m just a very emotional person,” she said. “When it comes to my closest people, like, I’m not good at goodbyes.”

She added that the photo in question was taken during the last day of shooting for Season 3, but not of the entire series.

“Of the season, not the show,” she said, “The season.”

'Stranger Things 3' focused on a mall

Is There a Stranger Things Season 3 Trailer Yet?

Sort of? Netflix released a “commercial” for the Starcourt Mall in July 2018, but it definitely takes place in the Stranger Things universe because of its location in Hawkins and the appearance of one familiar character.

Because this is the summer of 1985, Steve has graduated from high school and now works in an ice cream shop. Hence his appearance in this commercial.

Sheriff Hopper in 'Stranger Things'
Sheriff Hopper in 'Stranger Things'.

What Is the Plot of Stranger Things Season 3?

During PaleyFest in March 2018, Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy confirmed that Season 3 would take place a year after Season 2 during the summer of 1985. He also revealed that the romantic pairings of Eleven-Mike and Max-Lucas remained steady.

In Worlds Turned Upside Down, a companion book to the Stranger Things TV series, Levy also said, “We ended season two with a clear signal that the Shadow Monster was not eliminated, and maybe he’s even identified his foe. And that darkness, and the battle that it requires, only grows in season three.”

So the Big Bad from Season 2 will carry over.

David Harbour, who plays Sheriff Hopper, told The Hollywood Reporter that everyone on the cast was “taking a lot of risks.” These may or may not include Hopper’s new dynamic as Eleven’s adoptive father.

Much like how Season 2 riffed on the release of the first Ghostbusters movie, Season 3 is aiming for something closer to traditional horror in its focus on movies from directors like John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing), David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrome), and George Romero (Night of the Living Dead). Does that mean zombies, mutants, or murderers? Who knows.

Stranger Things Dungeons and Dragons
'Dungeons & Dragons' is really important to the 'Stranger Things' kids.

What Characters Are New or Returning in Stranger Things Season 3?

All of the young actors are returning for Season 3, including Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Sadie Sink (Max), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), and Noah Schnapp (Will). There’s also the teenagers Dacre Montgomery (Billy), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan), Natalie Dyer (Nancy), and Joe Keery (Steve). Adult actors Cara Buono (Karen), Winona Ryder (Joyce), and David Harbour (Hopper) also return.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that some newcomers include Maya Hawke as “a woman on a collision course with a dark secret in Hawkins.” Jake Busey plays “a Hawkins Post journalist with questionable morals,” and Cary Elwes “is playing Mayor Kline, described as a slick and sleazy politician.”

Bonus: Co-creator Matt Duffer reportedly said at Vulture Festival in November 2017 that Season 3 might include the return of Kali, Eleven’s older “sister” who also has her own powers.

How Many Episodes Are in Stranger Things Season 3?

TV Line reported in February 2018 that Stranger Things 3 would be eight episodes long, and Netflix confirmed the news on December 9 with a new video revealing the episode titles for all eight episodes.

'Stranger Things' Season 3 teaser reveals all eight episode titles.

By comparison, Season 1 also had eight episodes and Season 2 had nine, so fans can expect a story of similar length.

What Are the Episode Titles for Stranger Things Season 3

Here’s the full list of episodes:

  • “Suzie, Do You Copy?”
  • “The Mall Rats”
  • “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard”
  • “The Sauna Test”
  • “The Source”
  • “The Birthday”
  • “The Bite”
  • “The Battle of Starcourt”

What do the Stranger Things Season 3 Episode Titles Reveal?

It might not reveal much, but this list does offer a couple of hints. “The Mall Rats” seems to confirm that the new Starcourt Mall teased in an earlier trailer will play a major role in Season 3, especially since it also features in the season’s final episode.

The last two episodes, particularly “Bite,” might also hint at a zombie theme. Stranger Things co-creators the Duffer brothers previously revealed that Season 3 will take inspiration from Night of the Living Dead-director George Romero. The film’s sequel, Dawn of the Dead also takes place in a mall. Coincidence? We think not.

Stranger Things 3 releases summer 2019.

Photos via Netflix, Netflix / Inverse