Stranger Things 2: when it’s coming back, who are the new characters and why it now costs as much as Game of Thrones to make

The leaves are falling, the nights are drawing in and Netflix is giving us a reason not to leave the house: the second season of Stranger Things.

The first left viewers on a cliffhanger when it emerged on the streaming service last summer and made stars out of its young cast. More than a year later, things seem to be taking a darker turn in the Duffer Brothers’ nostalgia-drenched sci-fi thriller. Here’s everything you need to know:

When will season two begin?

Make sure your Halloween parties don’t clash: Stranger Things will be back on Netflix at the end of October.

What does Netflix say?

Here’s the official plot summary: “It’s 1984 and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, are still reeling from the horrors of the demagorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.”

Have there been any trailers?

Yes, in July Netflix released this full-length trailer at Comic-Con. Here are the main takeaways:

  • It’s definitely set in 1984
  • Will steps into the limelight after a season in the Upside Down
  • Eleven returns – but possibly not in the way we want her to
  • There may well be a Nancy-Steve-Jonathan love triangle

Read our full analysis for more details.

It’s had a huge budget increase

It’s no secret that Netflix spend a lot of money on making their original shows, but the budgetary boost that the Duffer Brothers have had to make the second season of Stranger Things puts the sci-fi thriller on a par with Game of Thrones. Variety reports that “the first season came with a price tag of $6 million an episode for season one, rising to $8 million in season two.”

What about photos?

Who's the new girl? Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and new character Max (Sadie Sink) look on as Joyce (Winona Ryder) shakes Will (Noah Schnapp)
Who’s the new girl? Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and new character Max (Sadie Sink) look on as Joyce (Winona Ryder) shakes Will (Noah Schnapp)
Will's returned to school, but things still feel strange.
Will’s returned to school, but things still feel strange.
Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) have rekindled their friendship
Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) have rekindled their friendship
Detective Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is still on the case 
Detective Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is still on the case 

Are there going to be new characters?

Get used to the names Roman, Dr Owens and Bob Newby: they’re coming to Hawkins for the second season.

Roman

Described by Netflix as “an emotionally damaged, magnetic young woman who suffered a great loss as a child. Although she does not live in Hawkins, she is mysteriously connected to the supernatural events at the lab…”

Danish actress Linnea Berthelsen has been cast as Roman, and you can watch her showreel here. The thinking is that the character may be a foil for Eleven.

Bob Newby

According to Netflix, Bob is “a kindhearted former nerd who went to high school with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour) and now manages the local Hawkins RadioShack”.

Sean Astin, whose credits include The Goonies and Lord of the Rings, will play him.  During the cast’s panel onboard the Fan2Sea Comic Con cruise on January 21, Harbour dropped a spoiler about Astin’s character. “He’s Winona’s new boyfriend – much to the chagrin to the Chief of Police,” said Harbour.

Dr Owens

Dr Owens is said to be “a high-ranking member within the Department of Energy on a ‘clean-up’ assignment, tasked with containing the events of last year.”

This is the clearest nod yet to a new villain in Hawkins, especially in the wake of Dr Brenner’s potential absence. Owens will be played by Paul Reiser, who is used to playing baddies: he was the villainous Burke in Aliens 2.

Murray Bauman

More recently added to the list is comedian and actor Brett Gelman, who will be switching from US comedies The Other Guys and 30 Minutes or Less to play Murray Bauman, a “disgraced journalist turned conspiracy theorist who is investigating a cold case in Hawkins”.

Max

Max, played by Sink, pictured above, is described as “a tough and confident girl whose appearance, behavior and pursuits seem more typical of boys than of girls in this era. She has a complicated history and is generally suspicious of those around her”.

Billy

Dacre Montgomery has been cast as Billy, “Max’s hyper-confident, and edgy older step-brother. He steals girlfriends away from their boyfriends, is great at drinking games, and drives a black Camaro. But lurking under his apparent charisma, is a violent and unpredictable nature”.

What are the new episode titles?

Good news: this time round, we’re getting an extra helping of Stranger Things. The second series will consist of nine episodes, in contrast to season one’s eight.

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