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Stranger Things Season 3 Release Date Revealed

One summer can change everything. And oh, what a strange, strange summer it will be. 

In the final seconds of 2018, just as the calendar was flipping over to the new year, Netflix revealed the release date for Stranger Things season 3. The streamer rolled out a special New Years' Eve-themed announcement video detailing that the long-awaited third season of the sci-fi series will be available to stream on July 4. 

Appropriate for the time and pretty dang creepy (which is very on-brand for Stranger Things), the clip comes from the fictional 5 WIYZ news station in Hawkins, Indiana and is brought to viewers by the gracious folks at the town's hottest new spot, the Starcourt Mall. It's fit with crackling audio and VHS tape lines, and includes footage from Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve in the moments leading up to the "big apple" dropping to usher in 1985. 

Just as the camera pans to "one of the biggest crowds" the New Year's Eve celebration has ever seen, the video bugs out and shows a screen of text, which glitches as it highlights words to create the phrase "when blue and yellow meet in the West." (What that might mean, we have no idea.) The apple slowly drops, but the footage tilts, turns, and wobbles before cutting to more green text that promises the summer of 1985 will be one to remember. 

Check it out in full above, then have a peek at the newest poster for Stranger Things season 3 below.

A July premiere date for Stranger Things is a return to the norm, as the freshman season of the show rolled out on July 15, 2016, despite the narrative beginning on November 6, 1983. The series' sophomore turn debuted on October 27, 2017 — fitting given that the story resumed on October 28, 1984. What will be different about Stranger Things' third season, though, is that it takes place in a time period fans haven't seen depicted on the series yet: the summer (duh).  

Executive producer Shawn Levy explained in March 2018 during PaleyFest in Los Angeles that this new backdrop of Stranger Things season 3 will actually create a brand-new tone for the show. "The first two seasons were very much school-based. This is that time of year where it's not about school. It's about the swimming pool and campfires and parades and Fourth of July and fireworks, so there's kind of a poppy fun to season 3 that's really enjoyable," he said. 

But just because the upcoming episodes are going to feature our ragtag team of teens — Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven, Finn Wolfhard's Mike Wheeler, Gaten Matarazzo's Dustin Henderson, Caleb McLaughlin's Lucas Sinclair, Noah Schnapp's Will Byers, and Sadie Sink's Max Mayfield — basking in the warmth of the summer sun and enjoying the Independence Day fireworks and will see Joe Keery's Steve Harrington team up with a fresh face at his summer job at the Starcourt Mall doesn't mean that they'll be boring or that Stranger Things suddenly won't be as suspenseful this time around. Levy assured that "things inevitably turn super dark" when the guys and gals discover that "the shadow monster is still lurking up there out there in the Upside Down."

Considering that Eleven and Will are shooting us a suspicious, somewhat scared look in the latest poster for the new season, we aren't at all surprised that immense danger and never-before-seen forces of evil are just around the corner. 

The season 3 release date announcement comes a few weeks after Netflix debuted a teaser trailer that announced the titles of all eight forthcoming episodes. Fans can look forward to catching "Suzie, Do You Copy?", "The Mall Rats", "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard", "The Sauna Test", "The Source", "The Birthday", "The Bite", and "The Battle of Starcourt" about halfway through the year. Here's to hoping that Netflix will issue a full trailer that gives us more concrete information on what's to come long before then. 

Mark your calendars for Stranger Things season 3 on July 4.