When Stranger Things returns for its third season, the show will feature another significant time jump. Netflix's hit series just premiered its second run, and though some fans are still catching up, attention is already being brought to the future. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer are in the process of writing season three, with the hopes of seeing Stranger Things continue to at least a fourth round (if not more). Nobody knows when the third collection of episodes will debut, but with the Duffers hard at work, it will hopefully come into fruition soon.
Stranger Things 2 picked up about a year after the season one finale (essentially in real time), taking place in the fall of 1984. Since production on season three isn't expected to start up until later, many had expected there would be another gap in the narrative, particularly due to the show's famous child stars getting older by the day. The Duffers were keenly aware they can't have Stranger Things 3 start the morning after Snow Ball '84, so they're planning to institute a time jump.
Speaking with Yahoo!, Ross detailed why this is a necessary component of season three's development, sharing an anecdote about Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas on the show:
“It will have to be somewhat of a time gap, because the kids are, I mean, they already look so much older. No matter what we want to do, I remember when we were originally talking about Season 2, we wanted to just start it in Christmas and just go from there, but then we realized the kids are just too old, so we had to jump forward. Even the latest trailer, we had to loop a line with Caleb. He sounds like a man now. It creeps me out. He’s going to be driving to set next year.”
Though the kids of Hawkins, Indiana are middle school students during the first two seasons (in Stranger Things 2, the main party members are all in eighth grade), the actors who bring these characters to life are not the same age. Noah Schnapp is 13 just like Will, but his friends are all older, with McLaughlin the "elder statesman" of the group at 16. Even the high schoolers are pushing the point where they can realistically portray teenagers; Joe Keery is 25, while Charlie Heaton is 23. It's only logical for the third season to move ahead by at least a couple of years, placing Mike and his crew in the midst of their own high school careers, while Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan try to adjust to college life. This could help keep things fresh, as it would place the main cast in new personal situations as they also deal with whatever supernatural occurrences pop up.
It might be bittersweet for fans to see the youngsters leave middle school behind and progress towards adulthood, but there's nothing the creative team can do about the actors aging up. Stranger Things is a bona fide phenomenon, dominating social media discussions and scoring monster ratings in its first weekend. Everyone involved would be foolish to pull the plug now, especially with plenty of more stories to tell. One day, Stranger Things will have to end, but for now, setting season three in 1986 or 1987 is a far more suitable alternative.
Stranger Things 2 is now streaming on Netflix.