Stranger Things season 3will be set in 1985, which opens up a host of new film references and Easter eggs. Stranger Things is, after all, a pastiche tribute to 1980's popular culture, mixing high school and coming-of-age dramas with science fiction and horror films. The first two seasons had a whole Upside Down's worth of references,including mentions of Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Alien, E.T., Gremlins, and more.
According to an interview with David Harbour, who plays Sheriff Hopper, the third season of Stranger Things will have callbacks to the "great films that were released in '85" specifically. Since 1985 was an incredible year for cinema, Stranger Things has a lot of amazing material to choose from.
While you're waiting for Stranger Things season 3, here are the films from 1985 that will surely play a part. Some even could hold clues for what will happen in the next season of Stranger Things.
Back to the Future
The classic science fiction movie and its signature DeLorean will doubtlessly be referenced by Stranger Things; it was the highest grossing movie of 1985 and is right up the gang's alley - but could Back to the Future be integrated into the story more than a passing reference? Hawkins has a lot of weird goings-on, and time travel wouldn't be ooutside of the realm of possibility.
The German Netflix show Dark, which many critics have compared to Stranger Things, embraced time bending and the ensuing paradoxes effectively. If Stranger Things fully committed to time travel and its implications, it could reap some incredible opportunities.
The Breakfast Club
Now that Eleven and the Hawkins AV gang are headed for high school, The Breakfast Club feels like an obvious entrance point for some serious 80's high school nostalgia. Season 3 has been described as a "coming of age" story for Eleven, and The Breakfast Club offers a much lighter option than Stephen King's Carrie.
Stranger Things has always felt like a 21st-century version of The Goonies: a group of ragtag kids go on an adventure to find pirate treasure. Sean Astin, who played Mikey in The Goonies, had a starring role in Stranger Things season two as Bob, Joyce's boyfriend. While Bob may not be returning for the third season, Stranger Things has now caught up to the movie so can go all in and embrace The Goonies, perhaps sending the gang on a treasure hunt.
The fourth film in the Rocky franchise, Rocky IV is a landmark in more ways that one. It sees the death of Apollo Creed, the US vs. USSR boxing match against Ivan Drago, and Rocky essentially ending the Cold War. The film had a palpable impact, and with Creed II returning to the Drago conflict is worthy of a revisit. Stranger Things season 3 has ample opportunity to reference some classic Rocky sequences, songs or quotes, or even leaned more heavily into its Cold War rhetoric.
Commando is an Arnold Schwarzenegger action film at its best: over-the-top action sequences along with hilarious one-liners. Schwarzenegger's Terminator had just come out in 1984, and so he was at the top of his game. It seems like the perfect movie for the Hawkins AV Club to be watching... or quoting by doing bad Arnold impressions.
If any 1985 release fits the tone of Stranger Things, it's Teen Wolf. Starring Michael J. Fox as the eponymous transforming teenager, the film offers both elements of comedy and horror, which makes it a perfect fit for the characters and references. It must be noted that Noah Schnapp, who plays Will, looks like a young Michael J. Fox, although hopefully Will will finally catch a break this season and won't transform into some monster from the Upside Down.
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Given that Stranger Things season 2 introduced a character named "Mad" Max, it would be a disservice for the show to not acknowledge the release of Beyond Thunderdome, the third film in the Mad Max franchise. It would be hard for Stranger Things to recreate anything from Thunderdome, of course, but it's the sort of movie the kids could easily want to emulate.