Stranger Things season 3 has cast Francesca Reale as a character central to the show's latest mystery. Filming on season 3 began in late April, with both longtime cast members (Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, David Harbour) and the breakouts from season 2 (Sadie Sink as Max, Priah Ferguson as Lucas' sister Erica) present and accounted for. Among the newcomers joining them in season 3 are seasoned veterans Cary Elwes and Jake Busey, as well as relative unknown Maya Thurman Hawke, aka. Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke's daughter.
Netflix's Stranger Things season 1 marketing focused heavily on the show's original mystery storyline, which concerned the disappearance of young Will Byers in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. When the series took off in popularity thereafter, it allowed the marketing for season 2 to be more enigmatic about everything from the fates of certain characters to what Stranger Things 2 (as season 2 is officially titled) is even about. Marketing for season 3 is expected to be even more secretive by comparison, what with the season 2 finale offering few hints about what to expect on the show next (other than something involving the Mind Flayer, aka. Shadow Monster).
According to Deadline, Reale is playing a recurring role in Stranger Things season 3 as Heather, a popular lifeguard at the Hawkins community pool. Details beyond that are being kept under lock and key, though Deadline says Heather will be "the centerpiece" of a dark mystery in season 3. Reale, for her part, is already a member of the Netflix television community thanks to her role on the comedy TV series Haters Back Off! (which was cancelled last year after two seasons).
It's not clear if Heather is "popular" in general or with Stranger Things' young heroes in particular. Most of the show's non-adult main characters will be entering their messy teen years in season 3, so it's possible one or more of them will develop romantic feelings for Hawkins' local lifeguard. Deadline further describes the Heather role as being a "major" recurring one in addition to being central to the season's mystery (or one of them), so either way she should amount to more than a minor (read: throwaway) love interest for someone else.
Whereas Stranger Things drew heavily from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King's 1980s work for inspiration in its first two seasons, season 3 may yet expand its reach to other popular '80s titles. The show's young leads are growing up quickly, so it's possible season 3 will take some of its cues from '80s teen dramas (think John Hughes movies) and combine them with its sci-fi/horror elements, in order to reflect that. This would also explain why the series is adding multiple recurring teenaged characters (played by Hawke and Reale) to the mix this season.
Stranger Things seasons 1 & 2 are now available through Netflix. Season 3 premieres sometime in 2019.