The new poster for Stranger Things season 2 once again teases the mysterious gigantic monster that Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) keeps having visions of, following his return from the Upside-Down in season 1. Said creature was first glimpsed in the Stranger Things season 2 teaser trailer that premiered at Super Bowl LI and has since appeared in subsequent marketing material for the sophomore season of Netflix's breakout hit series. Question is, what exactly is this monster... and what does Will have to do with it?
So far, it's been confirmed that Stranger Things season 2 picks up about a year or so after the events of season 1, during the fall of 1984. Things have more or less gone back to normal in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, following Will's disappearance and subsequent rescue from the Upside-Down and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) defeating the Demogorgon, only to mysteriously disappear herself. However, in case the final scene from Stranger Things season 1 (where we see Will vomit up a slug and have flashing visions of the Upside-Down) didn't make it clear, Will is not okay and there are other dangerous things in the Upside-Down besides the Demogorgon, itching to make their way into our world.
The Stranger Things season 2 trailer that premiered at San Diego Comic-Con shows Will frantically scribbling sketches of something from the Upside-Down (local plant life?), even as he continues to sporadically imagine (?) himself being transported back there while he's walking around in broad daylight. Will's drawings are scattered all over the floor and walls of his home in the new poster released for season 2 (see below), which pays homage to Steven Spielberg's 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and was posted to the official Stranger Things Twitter account with a simple, yet ominous tagline: "Will is not alone."
Will being literally haunted by the Upside-Down could prove to be an effective metaphor for post-traumatic stress in Stranger Things season 2, much like his disappearance in season 1 made for a nice parable about the horrifying real-world experience of a parent whose child goes missing. Horror will very much be the name of the game in season 2 by the look of things, with the show's cast and crew having flat-out said that season 2 is "more horror-oriented." That's even been reflected in the viral marketing for the Netflix show's return, with the Stranger Things #StrangerThursdays poster campaign drawing comparisons to classic horror/thriller films (like Alien, Jaws and Firestarter) on a near-weekly basis.
Much like the film adaptation of Stephen King's IT - the source material for which was one of the most transparent influences for Stranger Things - it's the human characters and their stories that give Stranger Things its beating heart and make its creepy fantastical elements feel more emotionally grounded than they would otherwise. That being said, the answer to the question of exactly what that giant monster is that Will keeps having visions of (and perhaps more importantly, what it wants with Will) is one of the aspects of Stranger Things season 2 that fans are no doubt most excited for.
Stranger Things season 2 premieres Friday, October 27th on Netflix.