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Small Details You Missed In The Stranger Things 3 Trailer

The full-length trailer for the third season of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things has finally arrived, and boy, is there a lot to unpack. Our young heroes, now precocious teenagers, are gearing up for what should be one of the most memorable summers of their lives — and it probably will be... just not for the reasons they may have hoped. As we all know, in Hawkins, Indiana, there are always plenty of things going on — but not the fun things, exciting things, or romantic things that are the stuff of most teens' summers. More like dark things... menacing things... stranger things.

Sure, there'll be plenty of highlights — an eye-popping first trip to the mall for Eleven, an awesome county fair hosted by a local mayoral candidate, and some bonding between girls with dancing and ice cream. But there'll also be a looming interdimensional threat, one hardcore dude with a gun in a hall of mirrors, and the ever-present Upside Down, all bubbling just under the surface of the summery festivities. Here are a few interesting details that may have gotten by you in the spine-tingling spot.

Signs of the times

Stranger Things 3 (going by the numbering convention that creators the Duffer Brothers prefer) takes place roughly six months after the events of the second season, and the trailer opens with the gang welcoming Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) home from camp by way of a little Eleven-assisted prank involving toys that seem to mysteriously take on a life of their own. The trailer doesn't make an explicit reference to the year the third season is set in, and it doesn't have to — it lets us know within the first few seconds, with Motley Crue's 1985 hit "Home Sweet Home" playing on Dustin's boombox. 

In these opening shots, Dustin greets his pet turtle while still wearing his camp attire, and the current year can be seen on his hat, if you've got really sharp eyes (or, you know, if you just check out the picture above). Meanwhile, check out the name of the camp at which he whiled away the summer's early months: "Camp Knowhere," which, if you ask us, seems like a Guardians of the Galaxy reference (being the name of the mining colony visited by the gang in the first film and again in Infinity War). If so, this is not so much a signifier of anything as it is a simple shoutout to James Gunn. After all, this is the guy who directed Slither, which — like Stranger Things — featured more than a few slimy creatures.

Hawkins or Silent Hill?

Astute Stranger Things fans who also happen to be gamers may notice that a couple shots in this opening sequence are strongly reminiscent of P.T., the unfinished Silent Hill demo which took the internet by storm in 2014 (and which some still consider to be among the scariest games ever made, demo or not). The very first shot, of the boombox Dustin is cranking the Crue on, immediately clued them in: the radio is reminiscent of the one which features prominently (and creepily) in a P.T. Easter egg within Metal Gear Solid V, another game from director Hideo Kojima. The reference is all but confirmed by the nature of the prank pulled on Dustin by his pals.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) uses her ability to animate some of Dustin's toys, and their spooky march down the hall is likewise very, very similar to one of P.T.'s freaky unexplained occurrences. This is no throwaway reference; the Duffer Brothers have previously stated (on more than one occasion) that the Silent Hill series was one of many influences on Stranger Things' overall vibe, and the nod to P.T. in particular makes sense given the game's explicit reference to another reality... sort of like the one constantly threatening to overwhelm Hawkins, the infamous Upside Down.

A trustworthy politician?

Joining the cast for season 3 is Cary Elwes, who would hold a special place in the hearts of certain film fans forever even if he had never done anything but portray the lovelorn Westley in the 1987 classic The Princess Bride. Elwes' role isn't so lovable this time around; he plays Mayor Kline, previously revealed by promotional materials for Stranger Things 3 as the shady, corrupt driving force behind the construction of the brand new Starcourt Mall. Netflix describes the character as "handsome, slick and sleazy... your classic '80s politician, more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs." If this description sounds like it might have an analog in the real world of today, well, one shot in the trailer wants to drive the comparison home.

In a sweeping crane shot over the Hawkins Fun Fair, we see that the whole shebang is brought to you by none other than Mayor Kline, whose signage bears more than a passing resemblance to that of a certain 2016 presidential candidate who improbably went on to win the White House. We can say this for the Duffers: when they want to lay down a burn, it's gonna be subtle, but it'll still require an icepack.

Bruce ain't right

Also joining the cast this season is Jake Busey, Gary Busey's son, who has popped up recently in small-screen offerings such as Ray Donovan and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He'll be playing Bruce, a scribe for the hometown Hawkins Post, but he's no crusading journalist seeking to expose Mayor Kline's corruption. His character description pegs him as a man possessed of "questionable morals and a sick sense of humor." We see only the briefest of shots featuring the character in the trailer, and he looks sick, all right — but not in a way having anything to do with how he gets his laughs.

He appears to be standing in the hall inside some kind of facility, almost certainly Hawkins National Laboratory, that place where all messed-up interdimensional goings-on plaguing the town have their genesis. He's unkempt, with his tie undone and a smear of blood on his chest, and he's wearing a smile that we wouldn't want to see on anybody, at any time, ever. His appearance is the first of several clues which may hint at the nature of the trouble descending on the little town during the summer of '85 — namely, there seems to be some kind of infection going around... and it's no nasty summertime flu bug.

...and neither is Billy

Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), the stepbrother of the gang's newest buddy Max (Sadie Sink), was a thorn in the side of our intrepid band of monster slayers throughout most of season 2. Prone to not seeing beyond his own nose, he did his best to thwart Lucas' (Caleb McLaughlin) overtures toward a relationship with Max. He also nearly screwed up the group's entire plan to close the portal being opened by the Mind Flayer simply by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time to pick a fight with Steve (Joe Keery). He was a royal pain in the butt, sure — but this time around, he may be something much worse.

We see a shot of Billy in the shower, fretting over what looks like a really nasty infection spreading on his arm. A later shot features him forcibly receiving an injection to his neck while screaming in pain. Given some context by a Vulture interview with the Duffers — in which they remarked that "supernatural" elements of Billy's season 2 storyline were "kicked into season three" — these shots are suggestive of the possibility that the ginormous, spider-like creature in the trailer's closing shot might actually be Billy, fully succumbed to whatever is spreading inside of him. As an aside, that creature is likely a visual reference to the conclusion of Stephen King's novel It, another strong influence on Stranger Things.

...nor are some of the townspeople

In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot from the frantically-edited montage late in the spot, we're clued in to the possibility that whatever influence is corrupting Bruce and Billy may not be limited to them. The scene's setting appears to be the good old Fun Fair, and it features a pair of seemingly random townspeople staring intently at... something. Despite the festivities, though, they don't appear to be having any fun at all. Indeed, they look downright menacing, almost zombie-like. Pretty much what we imagine one would look like if they were to gaze into the Upside Down... and the Upside Down gazed back.

This shot may possibly correspond to another earlier in the trailer, in which Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is also shown at the fair in civilian duds, slightly bloodied and looking very concerned. It's obvious that something quite significant will go down at the Fun Fair, and it looks to involve at least some of the denizens of Hawkins going full-on pod people, which isn't going to bode well for everyone else's good time.

Sister act

Lucas' sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) was a comedic bright spot of Stranger Things 2, but her role was a small one; we know that she's funny, very smart, and really loves maple syrup. But this season, we're going to find out a little more about her — not the least of which is the fact that, apparently, the prospect of coming face-to-face with zombified townspeople and horrific, spider-looking monsters doesn't freak her out in the least. In one lightning-quick shot, she's seen commando-crawling through an air duct in full Die Hard mode, wearing a makeshift miner's helmet (really just a bike helmet with a pair of flashlights duct taped to it). 

She only appeared in four episodes of the second season, but in early 2018, it was reported that Ferguson had been promoted to recurring character status for season 3 — and if this shot is any indication, it looks like she'll be joining her big brother and his friends in their unsupervised, highly dangerous monster-fighting activities. Indeed, the announcement of Ferguson's promotion let slip the detail that Erica will discover some key aspect of the threat looming over Hawkins all on her own — not a bad step up from her season 2 turn as inconsequential (if extremely cute) comic relief.

Blue and yellow

Previously released promotional materials for this season have leaned heavily on cryptic imagery and phrases, not the least of which was one discovered in the book Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-the-Scenes Companion, released in the fall of 2018. The book contained a secret poem spelled out in Morse code (a nod to one of Eleven's preferred methods of communication) which contained the line "When blue and yellow meet in the West" — the same phrase which sharp-eyed viewers picked out displayed on a computer monitor in the short teaser trailer released for season 3 the following New Year's Eve. 

What could this be referring to? There are a couple possibilities. One prominent shot in the new trailer features Eleven, all alone and wearing a yellow shirt, standing on the beach as an eerie light illuminates the night sky. Behind her and to the left is a blue, blue body of water; could it be that a pivotal plot point occurs here?

It's also been pointed out that, in the "Starcourt Mall Announcement" teaser released earlier in 2018, the hands of the clock on the mall's face also happen to be yellow and blue — indicating that something serious might go down when the hands "meet." This lines up with the announced title of season 3's final episode, a title on which which this trailer sheds a little light — and it's not the only one.

Episode titles explained?

The season will conclude with an episode entitled "The Battle of Starcourt," and there's more than one shot in the trailer indicating that Hawkins' new mall is indeed going to be the scene of some serious trouble. One quick shot in the closing montage sees Steve, Dustin, Erica, and newcomer Robin (Maya Hawke) — a co-worker of Steve's at the food court ice cream shop — barricaded behind a set of the mall's sliding doors observing something warily. A much longer shot shows the whole gang (conspicuously minus Max) battered, bloody, and looking ready to take on whatever adversary has invaded their new shopping center.

We also seem to have gotten a bit of clarification on the title of episode three, "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard." An early sequence reveals that Billy has a new job as a lifeguard at the local pool, and he exchanges a flirty glance with a cute co-worker who passes by him. This same girl is seen very briefly in that closing montage, seemingly being dragged into the depths of the Upside Down as Billy watches helplessly. Could this be the incident which leads to the onset of Billy's unfortunate condition? And, speaking of that ominous parallel dimension...

Some things never change

The trailer shows us that even as events in Hawkins are taking a turn for the strange once more, our heroes are doing what kids their age do — growing, changing, hooking up, palling around, and getting summer jobs. But one of them in particular just can't seem to escape her past: Eleven, who unfortunately seems to get only the briefest of respite from the horrifying interdimensional madness. Sure, she gets to accompany Max on a trip to the new mall, shares a kiss with Mike (Finn Wolfhard), and discovers the joys of ice cream — but when you have blindingly powerful psychic abilities tied to the alternate dimension which threatens to envelop your town, you just can't stay on the sidelines for long.

Eleven is shown in a series of shots once more getting sucked into the Upside Down, confronting and/or communing with some kind of force in that shot on the beach, and standing blindfolded with a slight nosebleed — the indication that she's flexing her powers — in front of a freezer chock full of the one thing she's never been able to resist, Eggo waffles. But most tellingly, the spot's final moments see her in that same yellow shirt, face full of righteous anger, nose bleeding like a faucet, facing off against that grotesque spider-thing — suggesting that she'll once again be instrumental in putting an end to whatever fresh menace comes to Hawkins this time around. Let's hope she gets to have at least one Eggo first.