Netflix has dropped the first teaser trailer for season three of the nostalgic paranormal thriller Stranger Things, just days after season two picked up an impressive 12 nominations at this year's Emmy Awards.
You could be forgiven for not even realising the clip is a trailer for the show if you didn’t know in advance. The team behind the show have taken the typically quirky step of disguising the promo as an ad for a forthcoming '80s mall in the show’s fictional setting of Hawkins, Indiana, set to open in Summer 1985, and the footage could easily have been lifted directly from the archives of a provincial US ad agency in the '80s.
In fact, the only real link to the show is a brief shot of Steve Harrington (played Joe Keery), who is now seemingly working behind the counter of ice cream stand Scoops Ahoy.
Click below to watch the trailer:
Early hints in the video
The trailer gives very little away about the plot of the new series, though there could be some thematic hints in the clip. It refers to the population of Hawkins as "a growing patriotic community and a shining example of the American dream," while a window display of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album also seems to hint at the political climate of the film's Cold War setting.
Another window display – this time of Tom Clancy's Cold War thriller The Hunt for Red October, about a defected Soviet spy – could offer even more clues. Back in season one, we learnt that psychic character Eleven was being used by Dr Brenner to spy on the Soviets. Last season, we learnt that Brenner is still alive, so could the presence of the book be a hint that we'll be coming back to a Cold War spying theme?
A new villain?
The mall’s promo blurb also refers to it as “one of the finest shopping facilities in America, and beyond.” It’s probably not too much of a leap of faith, or a spoiler, to suggest that "beyond" could refer to The Upside Down, the alternative dimension that is the source of so many of Hawkins’ problems.
Furthermore, the clip seems to make quite a point of promoting the mall’s developers, Starcourt Industries. As if Hawkins doesn’t already have enough problems with the activities of Hawkins National Laboratories, could a new corporate menace be about to enter the fray too?
Going out on a limb, somewhat, the show is no stranger to nods to '80s culture, and they're rarely entirely meaningless. Could the mall setting be a hint in itself? It's hard to talk about a film set in an '80s mall without thinking of George Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead. Could season three step off-piste and deliver a full on zombie apocalypse shocker? Probably not, but it would be fun to watch Eleven pit her powers against an army of flesh-eating monsters.
The date for season 3?
Finally, the clip closes by telling us that Starcourt Mall will open “next summer.” Is this a hint as to when the show premieres? We hope we’re wrong on this one, as if we’re right that means we have a whole year to wait for Winona Ryder and company to return with more freaky goings on in Hawkins.