The world witnessed the return of a pop culture phenomenon Sunday night. No, not the Super Bowl (#RiseUp). I’m talking about the first real trailer for the second season of Stranger Things!
By the end of season 1 of Stranger Things, the residents of Hawkins, Indiana, had been through hell, or least some extra-dimensional semblance of it. Things do not look like they have improved in the year that’s passed since the Demogorgon escaped the Upside Down. Let’s take a stroll through the Upside Down and see what’s changed.
Mouth Breathers, Rejoice! We Analyze the Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer
The trailer begins with a classic ad for Eggo Waffles (notice the unexpected cameo from Jason Hervey, a.k.a. Wayne Arnold from The Wonder Years) before being spliced and overridden by some unexplained imagery—a close-up of those delicious breakfast treats, a sign for an arcade, and flashing lights.
Before we have time to process these shots we’re thrown right into the trailer proper.
Right off the bat, we see everyone’s favorite psychokinetic, Eleven. She’s alive, in a place that is colored and shot an awful lot like the Upside Down. Also, judging by her nosebleed, she’s fully in possession of the powers that enabled her to escape the Department of Energy facility and bring down the Demogorgon last season.
Our first real clue that the second season is set in 1984 is a visual bookmark of mid-Eighties pop culture: the Ghostbusters uniforms that Lucas, Mike, and Dustin are rocking.
The second is the split second of security cam footage timestamped for the afternoon of October 30, 1984 that we see about 15 seconds into the trailer. The footage just so happens to show Will Byers, season one’s MacGuffin, getting analyzed/test/interrogated while an anxious Joyce looks on.
We get two brief glimpses of everyone’s favorite coffee-and-contemplation guru, Jim Hopper, but things aren’t going much better for Chief Hopper than they are for the gang—he’s caught in an explosion, then seen wielding a shovel (?) before being replaced by a lingering shot of a hazmat-wearing dude with a wicked flamethrower.
We get another shot of Eleven about halfway through the trailer, the most remarkable part of which is her longer hair. Have her powers grown? How did she make her way back to Hawkins from the upside down? Who else knows about her now?
The trailer ends with a nightmarish all-arms-and-legs-and-head creature straight out of a Lovecraft novel. We see a drawing of the beast and a huge, horizon-spanning shot of it backlit by red chain lightning. We know nothing about this creature, but its lack of distinguishing features and enormous size ramp up the dread considerably.
As with all good trailers, this one leaves us with more questions than answers.
- Where is the burgeoning teen love triangle of Nancy, Jonathan Byers, and Jean-Ralphio’s real dad, Steve Harrington?
- To what extent is the government involved in this latest dimensional tear?
- And what about all the new characters, like “kind-hearted former nerd” Sean Astin?
- What other pop culture icons will show up this season—Return of the Jedi? Temple of Doom? The Karate Kid?
- So much good music came out in 1984, too (my personal hope is that the Psychedelic Furs’ “Heaven” is incorporated into this season like “Should I Stay or Should I Go” was in season one)! One thing’s for sure: Halloween can’t come soon enough.
One thing’s for sure: Halloween can’t come soon enough. And here is the trailer in full. Turn up your speakers!