The Stranger Things Kids Describe Season 3 as a Rollercoaster Ride and Say We Should "Buckle Up"
Stranger Things comes back in just a few days, and the general consensus from all the trailers, promos, and interviews we've seen so far is that it's a lot brighter and more playful than seasons past. Despite this, however, the cast says fans should expect an emotional season, one where "tears will be shed."
Ahead of the premiere, we flew to Tokyo to meet with Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, and Caleb McLaughlin to talk all things Season Three. From dramatic storylines and the colorful '80s setting to how the show tackles teenhood, here's what's in store for the popular Netflix show.
Set in 1985, Hawkins goes full John Hughes rom-com with a new location called Starcourt Mall and a makeover montage to match. And, as revealed by the show's executive producer and director Shawn Levy last year, the romance comes in with Mike and Eleven, and Lucas and Max.
"The dynamic has changed now that Eleven and Mike are a couple and Lucas and Max are a couple as well. It kind of changes everything and also they're growing up," Sink says. "It really goes into the teenage romance," says McLaughlin, who plays Lucas.
When asked about what they love this season, specifically the '80s setting, the group gets more animated. Schnapp, who plays Will, says "I love the music, I love the clothes." He changes his mind after McLaughlin says otherwise. "The short shorts are pretty weird." When the talk turns to the music, the cast members all agree that it seems to be their favorite with the soundtrack described as a "genius" mix that "never gets old."
Apart from the setting itself, the kids revel in the freedom they have as teens, both in real life and on screen. Schnapp says, "I like that once you become a teenager, like all of us, we get more freedom and responsibility. We're more on our own and we're not reliant on our parents."
It's something Sink agrees with, especially with how different it is from today. "I think the show accurately depicts what it's like to be a teenager but also it's so different cause they're different eras. Kids these days aren't granted that much freedom as kids in the '80s," she says.
17-year-old McLaughlin says this season might just be his favorite yet. "It's different from the last two seasons. The last two seasons had a fall wintery vibe, and this summer's bright and fun. I would say my favorite parts in the season are the last two episodes. It's the same formula but you can't tell as the viewer because its so good and so different. The storyline is so different—there are new characters. The characters' storyline has a different feel to it."
One of the most-awaited additions to the party is Lucas' little sister, Erica who received lots of praise last season. And this season, Priah Ferguson's scene-stealing character becomes a recurring character with a bigger role with her own mission to match.
There's also a bit more focus on Max and Eleven's friendship. "Max kind of takes her under her wing and shows her what it means to be your own individual self and teaches her how to have her own style. It's kind of like Max becomes her role model in some way. Millie and I have a genuine bond, off-screen, as well so that chemistry shows onscreen this season," Sink says.
The cast teases that with more relationships, however, comes more drama. "It's that phase everyone goes through, that middle school to high school where everyone's just consumed with the drama. And so you kind of get to see that with the characters from Stranger Things," Sink says.
McLaughlin says, "It was very different from like what I was used to from Season Two and Season One was I feel like more dark and eerie and emotional. Season Three is a lot more comical and light-hearted. It's still dark but different from what I was used to."
Still, drama isn't the main focal point of the season, the cast asserts. While the trailers show a much more vibrant Hawkins, there's still danger that looms ahead. The foursome leave some ominous hints with Schnapp describing the ending as "very sad." "Tears will be shed," Sink says, even more than previous seasons. Matarazzo adds, "It's an emotional season and there's heartbreak and tears."