11 Things We Need to Happen in 'Stranger Things' Season 3

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Mike and Eleven’s relationship develops

One of the most heartwarming moments in Stranger Things 2 came when Mike saw Eleven for the first time since her disappearance at the end of the first season. ‘Mileven’ is one of the most popular ships among fans of the Netflix hit, and for good reason. There’s something universal and timeless about young love and first crushes, and Mike and Eleven’s feelings for each other are as sweet as El’s double-decker Eggo extravaganza.

Yet, despite being the central couple of the show, the audience hasn’t really seen ‘Mileven’ together. Mike’s certainly in love with the idea of her — and she of him — but they’ve spent more time apart than together in the first 17 episodes. How will their daydreams of each other translate into a real relationship? We’re hopeful that the third season allows Mike and Eleven to explore what it means to be a couple, and most of all, to really get to know each other.

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Can Will catch a break?

It’s time. After two whole seasons of being tortured mentally, physically, and emotionally, the youngest Byers boy deserves eight episodes of rest. Yes, the Mind Flayer is still out there, and it probably remembers Will, and no character on this show will ever lead a perfectly happy, normal life. But Will Byers needs at least one season where the bad things driving the plot aren’t happening to him.

This doesn’t mean Will can’t be central to whatever events are unfolding this season. But he can play a integral role without being at the heart of the danger. And a season in which he’s not dragged into an alternate dimension or taken over by the Mind Flayer would give audiences more time to understand who he really is, instead of the kidnapped, possessed or petrified version of him.

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More Dad Steve and Dustin (but not too much)

Season 2’s most iconic duo will be making a comeback in Stranger Things 3, so now’s the time to rejoice! Seeing these two relative outcasts from their “groups” — Steve no longer the “king” of Hawkins High, and Dustin consistently rejected by his crush, Max — bonding amid sarcastic quips and brotherly banter was all kinds of fun, and it would be a tragedy if the Duffers chose to banish that bond to the Upside Down.

That said, good things come in small doses. Part of the magic of Dad Steve and his “kids” was that it was so unexpected. Now, with fans fully anticipating it, will that still ring as true?

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Those spores… mean something?

Remember Hopper and Dustin’s separate trips to the Upside Down? They were both hit in the face with blasts of strange spores, which they presumably breathed in (and Dustin, being Dustin, pretended to die as a result). Had it only happened to one of the characters, it might be written off as a gross incident in the tunnels. But since it happened twice, to two of the series’ most beloved characters, something deeper might be afoot.

Season 1 made sure to point out that the air is toxic in the Upside Down, and followed through on that promise with characters wearing bandanas over their mouths to venture into the tunnels in Season 2. If it’s bad news just to breathe the air there, how deadly is it to inhale something that erupted from the walls? One of the major plots of the third season might feature Hopper and Dustin getting sick from their unfortunate exposure, and trying to find a cure for whatever infected them.

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Hopper punches something — anything

Stranger Things saw Hopper punch just about anything that needed punching — namely, the baddies at Hawkins Lab. Tragically, the second season saw the Indiana cop’s most formidable weapons, his fists, sheathed. Why? Had Hopper solemnly sworn off punching to set a good example for his kid?

Joking aside, even David Harbour wants Hopper to go back to punching stuff when the need arises. It was a move that felt right for his character — punching first, asking questions later — and even got a few laughs at the right moments. There was something magical about the Hopper punch, and we hope it’ll be resurrected in the third season.

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Dr. Brenner comes back

Much like the spores, this has been hinted at too heavily for the brothers Duffer to sweep it under the rug. Unless, for some reason, Matthew Modine isn’t available to reprise his role, it’s at least semi-likely that the nefarious Dr. Martin Brenner will be making his return this season. After all, Eleven’s Kali-induced hallucination and the scientist’s insistence that he was alive have to lead somewhere.

If Brenner returns, that could spell trouble for the happy Hopper-Eleven family dynamic. Brenner is the only one who knows Hop sold El out during the first season in order to keep Will safe, and it stands to reason he might use that knowledge to shake her trust in her new “dad.” Since Hopper primarily provides protection for the telekinetic teenager, getting her to abandon or mistrust him might have deadly consequences.

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More ‘80s magic

Half the fun of Stranger Things is returning to the ‘80s — to the songs, pop culture references, video games, and trends we loved (or maybe love to hate, looking back). The show wouldn’t be the same if it were set in any other decade. Those moments when the dazzling soundtrack plays, like “Every Breath You Take” at the Snow Ball dance, usher in waves of nostalgia.

Season 3 will surely feature more throwbacks, but which iconic references will the Duffers choose? Back to the Future seems like an incredibly likely candidate, and some of the main cast has been seen filming at a shopping mall that would look right at home in 1985. We could definitely see “Everytime You Go Away” playing as Mike and Eleven part ways, and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” seems as perfect for the show as Toto’s “Africa” in Season 1.

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Steve finds love (and a fight he can win)

Poor Steve. His girlfriend dumped him. He lost the title of “King Steve” to the guy who later beat him up. He got dragged to the Upside Down in a car driven by a 13-year-old and nearly died there. Season 2 was pretty tough for Steve Harrington, but at least he still has his fabulous hair.

Of all the things he suffered, losing Nancy was probably the hardest. Because of that, we’re rooting for Steve to find love again in the show’s third installment. There are some new candidates: Heather, a “popular lifeguard at the Hawkins Community Pool,” and Robin, an “alternative girl” who gets more than she bargained for when she goes looking for adventure in Hawkins. Heather seems to be Steve’s “type,” but a romance with Robin could be interesting — after all, opposites attract!

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“The gang” gets back together

One of the most magical things about the show’s first season was the friendships at its core, and watching Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and El work together to find Will and bring him home. Season 2 disrupted that dynamic, driving wedges between Mike and the rest of the group, between Lucas and Dustin, and between El and… just about everyone.

Granted, Season 2 also gave us some of the best character dynamics we’ve seen on the show so far — Steve and Dustin, namely — but it would be totally tubular if Stranger Things 3 didn’t keep the majority of the group apart. It was fun seeing them solve the mystery of Will’s disappearance as a team, and we’d like it if they faced their next challenge together, too.

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Joyce and Hopper get together

Do it for David Harbour, Duffers! Season 1 left a door wide open for a “Jopper” romance… a door that was promptly slammed shut by the arrival of sweet, plucky newcomer, Bob Newby. Now, with Bob’s tragic demise by way of Demo-dog, plus a litany of sweet moments between Joyce and Hop in the second season, that door might be unlocked again.

Nancy and Jonathan aren’t the only ones who have chemistry, history and shared trauma — after all, Joyce and Hop endured the Upside Down together in order to find Will in the first season. They understand each other like no one else, they clearly had some kind of relationship in the past, and Hopper is always by her side when there’s a battle to be fought or one of her kids to be saved. Isn’t it time they both found somebody to love?

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Nancy and Jonathan don’t break up

If you didn’t see “Jancy” coming throughout Stranger Things’ first two seasons… you just might be blind. There was little doubt that even though Nancy ended up in Steve’s arms at the end of the first season, she’d soon find her way back to Jonathan. And hey, the fact that the actors are dating in real life doesn’t hurt, either.

Nancy’s rebellious streak compliments Jonathan’s rule-following tendencies, and his deep-thinking personality encourages her to venture outside her prim and proper Hawkins upbringing. They’re perfect together. But more than their shippability factor, Nancy and Jonathan need to stay together to whittle down on the “teen romance drama” factor. It was fine in the first season, got a little tiring in the second, and if it drags out for a third, it’ll be groan-worthy.

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The third season of Netflix’s sci-fi hit, Stranger Things, is still a half-year (or more) away. But with recent filming spoilers and casting news, it’s never too early to start speculating about what strange things might happen to our favorite characters in the next installment.

Click through the gallery above for our predictions and hopes as to what might go down in Season 3.

Stranger Things, Season 3, 2019, Netflix