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Stranger Things Season 3 Trailer Teases Teen Angst, Summer Fun, '80s Awesomeness

One summer can change everything.

Bright and early Wednesday morning, Netflix dropped the first trailer for the impending third season of Stranger Things, the sci-fi series that took the world by storm when it premiered in 2016. Rescuing Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) from the alternate dimension known as the Upside Down, uncovering a mystery and exposing a cover-up at the fictional Hawkins National Laboratory in Indiana, battling creatures like the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer, witnessing Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) harness and expand her psychokinetic powers, and learning from the surprisingly gentle-hearted Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) how to get the perfect hairdo — the Stranger Things crew did all that and plenty more in the first two seasons of the series. In season 3, they'll embark on a journey unlike anything they've done before. 

In the new trailer, we watch as the teens of Hawkins, Indiana are faced with yet another nightmare: a new horror that manifests itself as a Demogorgon-like beast, one monstrous and deadly enough to shake up their summer fun, pull them out of the pool, and catapult them into the Upside Down. 

The action picks up seven months after the events of season 2, which saw Eleven close the portal to the Upside Down and vanquish (or so she thought) the Mind Flayer from Hawkins, opening on Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) sitting on his bed, feeling blue that none of his friends welcomed him home from vacation. When his action figures and collectibles (peep that R2-D2!) start moving on their own, Dustin grabs his trusty bottle of Farrah Fawcett hairspray (to use as a weapon against a suspected intruder, obviously) and cautiously makes his way down the hallway to investigate. Much to his relief, Dustin finds that his friends have snuck into his house to throw him a surprise party. This doesn't stop Dustin from making use of his aerosol-based armament, though, as he sprays Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) square in the face. 

Off to a cheery start, right? The Stranger Things season 3 trailer upholds that easy-breezy mood for quite a bit and saves the darker teases for the end.

After the opening stinger, the footage plays out to the infectious "Baba O'Riley" by The Who, showing sweeping shots of Hawkins' lush greenery in the summer of 1985. The younger teens — Eleven, Dustin, Lucas, Will, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), and Max (Sadie Sink) — build what looks like a mini satellite in the middle of a field. Two of the older bunch — Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) — await a job interview at The Hawkins Post, meanwhile bad boy Billy (Dacre Montgomery) picks up extra cash working as a lifeguard at the local pool. Steve's back too, deciding to spend his summer as an employee at Hawkins' brand-new Starcourt Mall, where he works with Robin (Maya Hawke) at the Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop. 

All the while, a new man has taken control of Hawkins: Mayor Kline (Cary Elwes), who has introduced some big additions to the town already, mainly in the form of a massive outdoor carnival and the aforementioned Starcourt Mall, which will become a pivotal set piece in season 3. And though Chief Hopper (David Harbour) tells Joyce (Winona Ryder) that he wants her to still feel like Hawkins is her home and that she's safe there, something tells us that all this newness — plus everything she and her son Will have been through with the Upside Down monsters — might be too much for her to handle. 

Times, they are a-changing for the people of Hawkins, and for the youngsters who are growing up fast and could be growing apart because of it. 

"We're not kids anymore. I mean what did you think, we were just going to sit in my basement all day? Play games for the rest of our lives?" Will asks in the clip, suggesting that there will be differences of opinion between the group as they move from pre-teens to full-on teenage-hood. A shot of Will clutching a photo of himself, Lucas, Dustin, and Mike in their Ghostbusters Halloween costumes from season 2 implies that the core four could be drifting apart. 

But that will ultimately prove the least of the Stranger Things gang's worries in the new season, as bigger threats loom overhead. It looks as though Billy may have been affected by one of the Upside Down creatures, as he's seen standing in the shower and touching a webbed spot on his inner arm. A man carrying a gun through a carnival attraction hints at a life-or-death confrontation. Hordes of Hawkins citizens protesting against Mayor Kline, carrying signs calling him "Mayor Swine," teases that the clean-cut politician probably isn't as fantastic as he'd like everyone to think he is. Eleven's many nosebleeds, a moment where the teens are sitting amongst shattered glass, and a showdown with a beast that looks totally different to what Stranger Things fans have seen before all make up the core truth of the series' third season: big, bad things are coming, and summer 1985 will be unforgettable. 

Check out the full Stranger Things season 3 trailer above. 

Obviously, Stranger Things fans are flipping over this first-look footage. Social media light up brighter than Joyce Byers' Christmas-light wall from season 1 did when Netflix unveiled the trailer, with many stating that they feel the new season will be the best of the bunch thus far. And we can't say we disagree. It's not an easy task to keep a sci-fi series of Stranger Things' stripe afloat, since it can be tempting to repeat storylines and fall into the same groove of what worked in the original season. There was a hint of that in season 2 with the introduction of another Upside Down monster, but creators Matt and Ross Duffer kept things interesting by adding new characters and taking narrative risks (even if they didn't always pay off). 

Season 3 looks as though it will continue subverting expectations and impressing us along the way. Shifting the time setting from the fall and winter to the summer is a huge move, and offers a new landscape to play around in. As Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy once said, the new season carries a kind of "poppy fun" that the first two didn't, which will juxtapose nicely against the darker elements. Additionally, incorporating another batch of Hawkins newbies enlivens the series and brings something more to the table. Fans can look forward to meeting Robin and Mayor Kline, as well as a local reporter named Bruce (Jake Busey). 

Thankfully, there's not too much time left to wait to witness the summer that will change everything. Head back to Hawkins when Stranger Things season 3 premieres on Netflix on July 4.