By Ashley Hoffman
Updated: April 27, 2018 10:45 AM ET | Originally published: October 30, 2017

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things.

It’s a very happy new year for science fiction fans who now have a Stranger Things season 3 release date to look forward to in 2019.

Netflix announced the highly binge-worthy sci-fi series will premiere on July 4, 2019 along with a cryptic teaser and a new poster.

In the teaser clip that dropped just minutes into the new year, Netflix builds out the show’s throwback essence with footage of the late Dick Clark holding court for the New Year’s Eve ball drop in 1985, when the story takes place. (Our view is eventually flipped upside down, a visual echo of the Upside Down naturally.)

Even though we don’t get a glimpse of any of the season three action that Netflix will likely unspool closer to the Stranger Things season three release date, fans who have been paying attention will recognize the sponsor: Starcourt Mall. And the Stranger Things season 3 teaser does supply some strange and stranger messages that snap up onscreen. The blink-and-you-miss-it phrases like “when blue and yellow meet in the west” and a program called “SilverCat feeds” flashing on an old fashioned black and green computer seem to suggest governmental corruption.

The Stranger Things season 3 poster also kicks off the bang, featuring the kids beneath a sky filled with fierworks. The season three summertime plot is a change of pace for the show that some fans who hoped could become an annual Halloween event after the second season, which dropped in autumn. From the looks of the poster, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) are still an item, although Eleven is facing away from the awesome display of pyrotechnics.

Now that the latest Stranger Things season 3 teaser and poster are here, let’s run down everything we know about Stranger Things season 3 so far.

Below, we dive into all the latest details about the show’s third coming, from the Stranger Things Season 3 release date to the actual story.

Stranger Things Season 3 Episode Titles

The Stranger Things season 3 teaser that dropped in December revealed the eight episode titles for the upcoming season in the hit show’s trademark red glowing font.

Only the most dedicated superfans can cough up educated guesses about what’s in store for us when Stranger Things returns. But one thing’s for sure. It looks like the Starcourt mall setting will be looming large. Episode 2 and Episode 8 appear to refer to “one of the finest shopping facilities in America and beyond” that Netflix teased the in the summer.

Most interesting of all, the teaser confirmed that the upcoming season will take place in summer 1985, not even a full year after Season 2 dropped us off.

All of the episode titles from the Stranger Things season 3 teaser are below.

Episode 1: “Suzie, Do You Copy?”

Episode 2: “The Mall Rats”

Episode 3: “The Case of the Missing Life Guard”

Episode 4: “The Sauna Test”

Episode 5: “The Source”

Episode 6: “The Birthday”

Episode 7: “The Bite”

Episode 8: “The Battle of Starcourt”

Here’s hoping “The Bite” is just a mosquito bite from a pool party where the lifeguard is totally safe and sound. But if seasons one and two are any indication, it’s going to be dark.

When is Stranger Things season 3 coming out?

It’s official. Stranger Things season 3 won’t be available until summer 2019.

The reason for the wait is that the creators are determined to top themselves, Netflix programming executive Cindy Holland recently told critics. “The Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy, they understand the stakes are high,” she said at the Television Critics Association press tour in July. “They want to deliver something bigger and better than last year. I think it’s going to be a fantastic season. It will be worth the wait.”

Fans figured this would be the case after the teaser trailer, a fake commercial for the brand new Starcourt mall advertised the hangout was opening “next summer.” We also learned that internet favorite Steve (Joe Keery) will still be in Hawkins with a brand new gig the cool new ice cream shop in the food court, Scoops Ahoy. He makes his appearance alongside a new character, Robin, an “alternative girl” played by Maya Hawke, (Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s daughter).

That’s about as telling a taste of the Stranger Things Season 3 as we get so far, though one thing to note is that the hot book in the displayed at the old chain Waldenbooks is Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. The Cold War spy novel may hint at more political intrigue.

The teaser announces that the mall opens “next summer” so if we read between the lines, that means fans will have to wait for summer 2019, but it’s important to note that Netflix hasn’t announced an official release date yet.

The actor who plays Hopper hinted at 2019 as well. “You probably won’t get [Season 3] until sometime in 2019. But also part of the thing is, like any good thing, they need time,” David Harbour, who plays Chief Jim Hopper, told Variety.

Is Stranger Things season 3 filming?

The Stranger Things cast is back to work, nad Netflix giving fans of the cult hit with a look behind the curtain. On April 27, the streaming platform tweeted a short teaser showing that the “band” had reunited in Atlanta, Georgia, for what appears to be a table read on April 20.

We don’t know much about the actual storyline of Stranger Things Season 3 from the black and white teaser. But we do know who’s returning: Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), and Joyce (Winona Ryder), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Steve (Joe Keery), Billy (Dacre Montgomery), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Max (Sadie Sink) are all back for round three. While the teaser doesn’t offer any big hints to obsess over, fans can be temporarily satisfied with a collective cast member fist pound and Priah Ferguson (Erica Sinclair) revisiting her hilarious nerd-shaming shtick.

Who are the new cast members?

In April, Netflix announced pair of guest stars will be joining the Stranger Things season 3 cast. Cary Elwes will Mayor Kleine, a “handsome, slick, and sleazy” politician who’s putting his public image ahead of the good people of Hawkins, Ind. And Jake Busey will play Bruce, a darkly funny journalist at The Hawkins Post. But don’t get too excited about Bruce getting to the bottom of things. He has a shaky ethical code, according to Netflix. Elwes is best known for The Princess Bride, and if you saw Starship Troopers, you’re familiar with Busey.

When will Stranger Things season 3 take place?

The story will jump almost a full year ahead <pick back up in summer 1985. According to executive producer Shawn Levy that’s nearly a full year after Season 2 ended in 1984, nearly two full years since the crazy events of season 1, which took place in November 1983. That means it’s safe to bet that co-creators Ross and Matt Duffer will load the Neftlix sci-fi smash up with plenty of nostalgic toys, movies and snacks from ’85.

This means that the core group of kids will be in ninth grade when the third season kicks off. What’s more? Eleven and Mike and Lucas and Max will still be coupled up, according to The Hollywood Reporter‘s recap of a recent Paleyfest panel. Last time we saw them, they were having their first kisses at the Snow Ball dance. So much can happen in a year.

How many episodes will there be in Stranger Things season 3?

The show is returning to their Season 1 formula with eight episodes, TVLine reports, which is one less than Season 2. Information on how long they’ll each be is still to come.

Don’t Believe the Rumors About the Duffer Brothers Disappearing

Fear spread like suspicious goo in Hawkins when Moviefone reported that the Duffer brothers would leave the series after the third season. Netflix quickly denied the report with a GIF of internet hero Erica Ferguson. “Don’t drop your Eggos. Rumors that the Duffer Bros are leaving Stranger Things after season 3 are false,” the streaming giant tweeted.

Back in September, the Duffer brothers recognized the common concern. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, they confirmed that they aren’t going anywhere.

“There hasn’t been anything dangled in front of us that’s been exciting enough… To abandon this show before it’s done feels wrong to me,” Matt Duffer said. “I think we should land it.” So we can kiss Barb goodbye forever, but the Duffer brothers are here to stay.

Stranger Things
Courtesy Netflix

Which Stranger Things season 2 cast members are coming back?

Certainly not Barb (Shannon Purser). Or Bob (Sean Astin) for that matter. But the cast hasn’t officially been announced yet. As the first season of the show took off, so did its rising stars. After starring in September’s It as Richie Tozier, Finn Wolfhard will return for that film’s sequel. David Harbour will become Hellboy in the upcoming reboot and Millie Bobby Brown will play Madison Russell in Godzilla King of Monsters. On the bright side, it looks like the kids have bonded offscreen. Hopefully that bodes well for getting the key cast members together to keep the show on track.

Stranger Things
Courtesy Netflix

Where will Stranger Things season 3 take place?

The opener and the seventh episode of season 2 took fans to Chicago, an artistic decision that led to mixed reviews. But don’t expect the show to limit itself to good old Hawkins in season 3 either. If the Duffers are committed to what they told Vulture, the kids will have to get out of Hawkins.

Stranger Things
Tina Rowden/Netflix

What will Stranger Things season 3 be about?

What villainous entity will the heroes of Hawkins face off against? The finale’s closing moments — in which we see the monster encroaching on Hawkins Middle School in the Upside Down while everyone’s having a blast at the Snow Ball — confirmed that the Shadow Monster a.k.a. mind flayer was eager to get into that school.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide the finale sets up the story for season 3.

While Eleven may have closed the gate, Ross Duffer also confirmed that the monster’s still a threat, and even worse, it knows about her. He told The Hollywood Reporter:

Stranger Things
Courtesy Netflix

Is Will going to help the monster return to our dimension?

In season 2, the Shadow Monster hijacked Will’s (Noah Schnapp) body, spying on people and trapping the Hawkins lab workers. That was until Nancy was able to expel the dark force out of him with a quick fire poker move. Is Will completely rid of this evil demon? It’s hard to know. And if the monster’s going to pivot to the next lucky kid, who else could it exploit?

Will the shadow monster spread?

Will was infected by a vine through the mouth in season 1. In season 2, Hopper was down there forever and got spit in the face by a disgusting abscess. Dustin suffered the same gross fate in episode eight. Does this mean that Dustin and Hopper are both marked somehow now?

It’s worth noting that Dustin forged a strong bond with Dart, a Shadow Monster soldier. So the 3 Musketeers lifer might end up acting as a medium between dimensions.

Finally, we know that Eleven, Kali and Dr. Brenner — if he’s still around — could all potentially open up the gate back up and start some chaos in season 3. It’s (almost) anyone’s game.

Stranger Things
Courtesy Netflix

Or will it turn into an antihero?

Yes, the smoke monster will not let go of Hawkins, but it’s not much better down in regular land either. Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) really worked that charm in season 2, but Joyce didn’t trust the new and improved lab staff. So why should we? Another wild card is Hopper. The Chief earned all the points not only as hero in a crisis, but as a repentant father figure for Eleven. But the antihero has hidden depths, even from himself.

And then there’s Kali who will stop at nothing to get revenge on all of Dr. Brenner’s “bad men.” Will she — and quite possibly the other gifted children — be a strong ally for her old labmate Eleven? Or will she manipulate her instead? It seems likely that all the Hawkins Lab kids will join up to combine superpowers to ultimately turn the tables on their Hawkins Lab oppressors, but that might be the final endgame of the whole show.

Will Dr. Brenner show up in Stranger Things season 3?

Will Eleven and Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) team up in search of Dr. Brenner, who is possibly still alive? The Duffers left the question open so he’s probably still out there. Either way, see you in our nightmare flashbacks, guy.

Will Steve stick around for season 3?

Good news, yes. Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), everyone’s favorite babysitter, is going to be back. In season 2, Steve’s going full parent mode on the kids was enough to launch him into internet hero territory. He emerged as a key player in season 2, taking on Jonathan’s nail-studded bat and the role as the protector of kids, especially Dustin.

Levy says season 3 will delve deeper into Harrington’s paternal side.

“We’ll definitely get to see some more of Steve Harrington in season three, and I’ll just say we won’t be abandoning the Dad Steve magic. I don’t want to say much more, but I literally feel that we were walking along and we stumbled onto a gold mine with Dad Steve,” Levy said at the Stranger Things‘ PaleyFest panel.

Stranger Things
Courtesy Netflix

How will Eleven adjust to her life as a regular person?

Dr. Owens promises Hopper that Eleven can start her new, more independent life in a year. If we return to the show when she’s allowed to be herself in broad daylight, how will she evolve? Will she really adjust to Hawkins High? Will the monster or Dr. Brenner let her be a normal kid? Wherever she is, no mouth breather is safe.

Stranger Things
Courtesy Netflix

Will Joyce and Hopper get together in season 3?

Even while Bob was alive and kicking, these two shared suggestive glances, and they’ve been through a lot together. In the aftermath of season 2’s mayhem, Hopper comforts Joyce (Winona Ryder) as the pair share a cigarette for old time’s sake outside the Snow Ball.

It looks like Hopper’s gearing up to make his move. After all, it will only have been a year after Bob dropped dead, so why wait? These people are ready.

Any funny references?

Even though the creators promise that Stranger Things season three will be the darkest installment yet, it turns out the show will draw inspiration in a very silly place.

During a recent screening of the Netflix hit at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, David Harbour told Variety that the comedy Fletch is a major influence.

“The Duffers are so specific each year with the movies,” he told Variety about show creators Matt and Ross Duffer. “And Fletch is one movie we get to play around and have some fun with this season, which you wouldn’t expect from Stranger Things and you wouldn’t expect from the Spielberg universe and you certainly wouldn’t expect from a darker season.’”

Fletch, the hit 1985 summer comedy thriller starring Chevy Chase as Irwin Fletcher, a.k.a. “Fletch,” a hilarious L.A. Times reporter going underground for a story about beach drug trafficking that takes him into unlikely scenarios fro a snobby tennis club to a pig farm.

Write to Ashley Hoffman at Ashley.Hoffman@TIME.com.

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