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Leggo My Eggo
The final Stranger Things trailer is dark and full of terrors, as the saying goes, but it’s also packed with secrets about the season 2 premiere. We’re mere weeks away from the return of the Duffer Brothers’ homage to ‘80s horror, and the new footage is giving fans more clues at the story, threat, and characters. In the spirit of exhaustively analyzing the latest previews -- this one dropped on Friday the 13th, no less -- the trailer begins with Eleven retrieving her buried treasure. Like a telekinetic Popeye, she needs her secret weapon: Eggos.
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The telekinetic nose-bleeder (played by Millie Bobby Brown) found her way back from the Upside Down after her grapple with the Demogorgon in the season 1 finale. Now, it appears she’s living out in the snow-covered woods of Hawkins, Indiana. But the lighting here is dim and the color drained enough that there's a chance this scene could actually be set in the Upside Down.
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The new season begins nearly a year after the Demogorgon terrorized Hawkins, and it’s Halloween, a time when it’s said the world of the dead crosses over with the living. The boys are dressed in their Ghostbusters finest, but something’s wrong with Will (Noah Schnapp).
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A Waking Nightmare
Will is experiencing a harsh aftershock of residing in the Upside Down for so long. Remember how he coughed up that slug at the end of season 1? Now, he’s having PTSD-like visions of the dark dimension and a spider-like “shadow” monster. “Maybe all this is happening for a reason,” Mike (Finn Wolfhard) says.
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The Duffers promised season 2 would focus on the aftermath of Barb's (Shannon Purser) disappearance. She was getting eaten by the Demogorgon while Nancy (Natalia Dyer) was hooking up with her boyfriend, Steve (Joe Keery). Now, we see Nancy and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) visiting what looks to be Barb's dad, who we know will be introduced this season. And he's been trying to figure out what happened. "Barb’s a big part of Nancy’s story line and that drive to — I don’t know how to say it otherwise — to find justice,” Dyer told EW. “There are a lot of loose ends there that Nancy feels need to be addressed.”
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One of the Guys
Sadie Sink debuts as a new character Max, described as "a tough and confident girl." Here, she's already joined up with the D&D club and Steve, no doubt to investigate something spooky in the dead of night.
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The familiar Stranger Things theme begins as a resounding organ melody takes over, a la The Phantom of the Opera. Will is still having visions and sketching them out for his buddies to see. Chief Hopper (David Harbour) knows full well "these are not nightmares... It's happening."
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"It All Leads Back to Here"
Everything weird that's happened in Hawkins leads back "here," the National Laboratory where Eleven, held in the facility for testing, accidentally ripped a hole into the Upside Down. To play devil's advocate, maybe he means "here" more generally. Hawkins, perhaps.
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Fighting Fire With Fire
Hopper made a deal with the nefarious organization of season 1 and was last spotted getting in a car with some of its agents. It's not entirely clear what Hopper is doing for them now, but his hazmat-suited self and flamethrower suggests some extermination in the Upside Down is called for.
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Piecing It Together
Will, seen here in a medical gown, pours over aerial photos of, perhaps, the town. Some of them reveal snaking waterways that are fairly similar to the spindly legs of the shadow monster from his vision.
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Joyce (Winona Ryder) is once again faced with the realization that her boy is not okay. Will is seen standing in the middle of a field with his friends, though he's in a trance and unresponsive to his mother. We can surmise that Joyce, in an attempt to figure out what's going on, brings him in for treatment. But it seems that shady CIA organization might be the ones treating him.
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We know how much Eleven loved being tested on by her "daddy," but now what are these folks listening to? More from the Upside Down, or Will?
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Joyce just cannot catch a break.
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More Horror Nods
We know how much the Duffers love paying tribute to horror classics from the '70s and '80s, and season 2 is no different. This image of a group traversing the Upside Down (we're assuming) is giving off some The Thing and Closer Encounters of the Third Kind vibes.
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What's Wrong With Will?
Paul Reiser comes onto the scene as Dr. Owens, who's tasked with running the laboratory, cleaning up the previous incident in Hawkins, and keeping the supernatural at bay. He's also analyzing poor Will, but can we trust him? When EW spoke with Reiser, he didn't quite know. "It'’s a fun thing to play," he teased.
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Matt Duffer revealed that Eleven gets a prominent story in season 2 that delves into her background. “We learn about where she came from and how she came into the world and the program that resulted in her,” he said. Given her wardrobe change since running through the woods, might this be her childhood home? Or, at least, a stepping stone to finding answers?
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The River Runs Deep
Joyce has upgraded from Christmas lights to sketches. Like we saw in the photos Will was looking over, her kid has been frantically drawing sketches of... interweaving waterways? Roads? Trails? And they all lead somewhere.
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Will in Distress
Joyce and her boyfriend, Sean Astin's Bob Newby, are forced to helplessly watch as Will experiences a medical emergency. Bob was one of Joyce's high school classmates, and the Goonies star is perhaps the biggest nostalgic nod from the Duffers.
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Back to the Upside Down
"If anyone knows how to destroy this thing, it's Will," Mike declares. But that may be a problem if Will is laid out on a medical table. So it's back to the Upside Down for Hopper as they all try to figure out clues to this mystery.
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What are these kooks cooking up in the lab? Dr. Owens doesn't seem to know what's up, but as a voice mentioned before, it's like something's "reaching into" Hawkins.
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Time to Suit Up
Another potential movie nod, someone is getting into Karate Kid shape, while this shot also evokes Poltergeist. They're heeeeere.
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Like a Jeepers Creepers movie with a monster attacking a bus full of kids, the gang is under attack in their favorite junkyard meeting place by "judgement day." As Hopper reminds us, the threat is "not like it was before. It's grown." That's why these folks will need as much help as they can get.
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The Darkness Closes In
Another vision of Will's, the haunted kid runs through his middle school as the shadow snakes after him.
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Washing off the stink of the Upside Down requires some heavy cleansing.
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Does Will's connection to the Upside Down extend to the beast? As it creeps forward, extending one of its tendrils towards the boy, it seems these two might have a closer connection than they Will realizes.
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Bros Being Basic
As Max's older step-brother Billy, Dacre Montgomery plays a hyper-confidant girlfriend-stealer with a violent nature. Clearly, he and Jonathan will not be best buds, but in case you needed extra proof, here's a clip of them fighting each other.
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The boys head out into the Upside Down, though it's unclear what they're doing there. Based on earlier footage, it seems Steve and Max are also with them, and Steve brought his special baseball bat for defense.
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Hopper's true loyalty does not lie with the lab. Something, no doubt, goes amiss and he and Bob race to rescue Will from the organization's clutches.
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Guns and Graffiti
We've seen this place before in EW's photos from season 2. Eleven is there, and now we know some folks with guns aren't far behind.
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Maybe this is what the upperclassmen in Hawkins dress up as for Halloween. Regardless, it's creepy.
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The Last Stand
In a moment of badassery, Hopper tosses Nancy a shotgun as the whole gang faces down an encroaching threat. We have a feeling Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and his slingshot will be most effective.
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The Evil Within
Admittedly, this might be too much of an over-analysis, but with the blood and the hair and the feral look on Billy's face, Montgomery looks reminiscent of Bob from Twin Peaks.
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Eleven Doing Her Thing
The final moments of the trailer rush forward through various scenes as Eleven, nose bleeding and veins bulging, does what she does best.
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If we were to guess, this is probably in the aftermath of Hopper and Bob's rescue of Will. The government doesn't like it when they lose assets.
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What better way to wipe away memories than sending electric currents through your throbbing head. Could this be a flashback or is the blur effect denoting the volatile treatment? More importantly... who is it? Joyce? Nancy? Mike with really long hair?
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Keeping Hope Alive
It looks like Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is still trying to win over Nancy. Better luck in season 2, kid.
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It's Negan Time
"Do you still have that bat... the one with the nails?" Um, duh.