If the ending of Stranger Things left you wanting more, don't worry: The Netflix sleeper hit will return to Hawkins, Indiana sometime next year for its second season, which will pick up in the fall of 1984. While that may sound like a long time to wait to get our fix of the Upside-Down — and to find out what the hell Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) was coughing up in the finale's closing moments — The Duffer Brothers know how to keep fans busy.
When Netflix announced Season 2, the streaming service released a teaser video that capitalized on the show's retro title sequence. But the teaser wasn't just an homage to the opening credits; it was laden with the episode titles (all nine of them) for the second season. Of course these titles are all too vague to draw any solid conclusions, but that's not stopping us from trying. If Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) can surmise that her missing son was communicating to her through a tangled ball of Christmas lights, we can at least attempt to dig into the meaning of these titles. So let's grab our (metaphorical) axe and get started:
The Duffer Brothers don't intend to just create a second season; they're crafting a sequel. And when it comes to a sequel that rivals its action-packed predecessor, George Miller's Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, released in 1981, instantly comes to mind. But who is Madmax in the Stranger Things universe?
We know the opening scene of the second season premiere will take place outside of Hawkins, as The Duffer Brothers continue to expand on the mythology. Not to mention, in an interview with /Film, Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy revealed that Season 2 will introduce a few “critical” new characters and unearth “new problems.” And “Madmax” refers to a key character we have yet to meet — possibly someone who even knows about the Upside-Down.
According to TVLine, Stranger Things is currently casting Max, a young girl who's described as “tough and confident” and rather tomboyish. She also uses her skateboard “to get around everywhere,” the site reports. Similar to Miller's Mad Max, perhaps this Max will team up with Mike and the Hawkins gang to shut down Brenner (Matthew Modine) and his little experiment once and for all.
The Boy Who Came Back To Life
It's safe to assume that Episode 2 will focus on Will — a.k.a. “The Boy Who Came Back To Life” (And Who's Currently Hacking Up Slugs From An Alternate Dimension) — and a Will-centric episode means not only do we get to catch up with Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), but we also get to check in on Joyce and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). Will's “death” and subsequent reappearance has either made him the most popular kid at Hawkins Elementary or the school's biggest freak. Either way, we know his friends will have his back. But the bigger question is: Have they noticed that their best friend has been excusing himself to the bathroom to cough up slugs? If there are more complications from Will's time in the Upside-Down, this could be the episode when his friends (and Joyce!) start to put the pieces together.
The Pumpkin Patch
Since Season 2 will take place during the fall of '84, a Halloween episode seems most appropriate. Maybe someone in the Upside-Down is trying to communicate via jack-o'-lanterns? After all, we're not convinced that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) destroyed the last remaining Demogorgon in the Upside-Down. There has to be something (or someone) lurking in that hellscape.
This title is vague enough to refer to just about anything. Could this refer to Castle Byers, Will's ramshackle hideaway from Season 1? Possibly. Or could it refer to Mike's perfect older sister Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), a perfect princess of suburbia who proved that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty? If Nancy is the princess, then the Wheelers's home could be The Palace, and seeing as it was the hub of a lot of action last season, we wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Also, it's worth noting that “Palace of the Silver Princess” was a popular Dungeons & Dragons adventure module released in 1981, so “The Palace” could refer to King Tristan from Mike's D&D campaign.
When we think of a storm, we think of lightning. As we saw multiple times throughout Season 1, beings in the Upside-Down can manipulate electricity in the real world. (Remember how Nancy and Jonathan were able to predict the Demogorgon’s arrival in the Season 1 finale?) But if the gate to the Upside-Down starts to weaken in Season 2, it could result in a major electrical storm. Since Mike, Dustin, and Lucas met Eleven in a downpour in the first season, this could also mark the triumphant return of the fan-favorite character.
Plus, we wouldn't be surprised if Brenner, the scientist in charge of the CIA’s Project MKUltra (the facility under the guise of the Department of Energy), plays a major part in this episode. After all, he's the one who created this metaphorical shitstorm in the first place.
A polliwog is another name for a tadpole. Remember that slug that Will coughed up? And that slug that inched its way out of Dead Barb's mouth? Perhaps a “pollywog” is a Demogorgon at its larval stage, and it's currently using Will's body as an incubator. Or maybe Will's been coughing up baby Demogorgons all over Hawkins. (Yikes.) Alternatively, “Pollywog” could also refer to the "bullywug," a fictional monster from Dungeons & Dragons that's described as “a violent race of marsh-dwelling frog-like humanoids.” What if there's more than one species of man-eating monsters in the Upside-Down? After all, we never did see what hatched out of that mysterious egg Hopp (David Harbour) and Joyce discovered in the Upside-Down.
The Secret Cabin
“The Secret Cabin” implies a hideaway, similar to Castle Byers, but is this the kind of hideaway where characters come to take refuge (a.k.a. Eleven) or to find answers? It's likely that this secret cabin is someplace entirely new that's introduced in Season 2 — and it may even be located outside of Hawkins. According to casting reports, the second season will introduce a gender-neutral character named Roman who “suffered a great loss at an early age and has been seeking revenge ever since.” Maybe Roman's been hiding out and plotting revenge in “The Secret Cabin” all along.
Eleven has the power of telekinesis on her side. She can flip cars, kill men, and even release a 12-year-old mouth-breather's bladder all with her mind, so it's likely that “The Brain” will dive into the origins of Eleven's powers. Although the source of her powers is never explicitly stated, it's heavily implied that they’re the result of mind-altering experiments done on her mother while she was pregnant as part of Project MKUltra. This episode could reveal the history of Brenner's experiments, as well as strengthen Eleven's already-badass powers.
The Lost Brother
The Season 1 finale reunited the Byers family, so it's only appropriate that the Season 2 finale would reunite another fractured family. Perhaps Max is reunited with her “very muscular and hyper-confident” Camaro-driving older brother, Billy — or maybe “The Lost Brother” refers to the act of losing someone. If that's the case, then neither Jonathan nor Will are allowed to die. Or Mike. Actually, please don't kill anyone.