How The 'Stranger Things 2' Ending Sets Up Season 3, According To The Duffer Brothers

Stranger Things 2, the second season of Netflix's popular original series Stranger Things, dropped on Friday, which means by now everyone has probably burned through the season. Which also means that fans are now clamoring for season 3. We'll have to wait a while until we get to the third season of Stranger Things, but in the meantime, series creators the Duffer Brothers have just dropped some hints about how the Stranger Things 2 ending sets up season 3. Details below.Spoilers follow, of course.

The first season of Stranger Things ended with many things up in the air – Will Byers was returned from the alternate dimension known as The Upside Down, yet he was clearly still affected by the experience, puking up what appeared to be a slug in the bathroom sink. And the heroic Eleven had vanquished the demonic monster known as the Demogorgon, only to vanish and be sucked into the Upside Down herself.

Stranger Things 2 ends on a much more upbeat note. The portal to the Upside Down has been (seemingly) closed, and the evil Shadow Monster, aka the Mind Flayer, has been defeated. All the kids celebrate by attending a holiday-themed dance and slow dancing to some excellent '80s tunes. But the show couldn't end on an entirely upbeat note, and the very last shot reveals that the looming Shadow Monster is still out there somewhere, hovering over the Upside Down version of the school the Stranger kids attend.

In a new interview (via Screen Rant), series creators Ross and Matt Duffer talked a bit about this final shot:

"Yeah, we don't end it on a totally happy note, do we? [Laughs] There were discussions about that, but then we went, 'Nah, we have to hint at what's to come.' The hope we wanted people to get out of it is that this thing [is still out there]. They've shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it's very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven. It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she's out there. We wanted to end on a little bit of an ominous note on that level."

The Duffers then went on to reveal how they wanted this final moment to lead into season 3, but also didn't want to end the season on several cliffhangers like season 1:

"Last year, we had a lot of little cliffhangers at the end of the season. We didn't want to do that again. We didn't want to box ourselves in for season three. We wanted to be able to start season three on a very clean slate. It felt totally unnecessary, when we had the Snow Ball. Once we had the Snow Ball, we didn't know [if we wanted to do] anything else as an ending."

The Duffer Brothers are very good at teasing upcoming events in Stranger Things. In the very first episode of season 1, there a scene where a Dungeons & Dragons game the kids are playing foreshadows the events to come, but there's also a hint at events for season 2. As Screen Rant points out, a moment in the very first episode involves Will winning a comic book off of Dustin in a bike race. The comic is  X-Men #134, which is set during the The Dark Phoenix Saga. Anyone who has finished Stranger Things 2 can tell you the Dark Phoenix Saga, involving Jean Grey losing control of her telekinetic, is very familiar to events involving Eleven in season 2, particularly an episode ("Chapter 7: The Lost Sister") that plays out like a pilot for a new X-Men TV series.

That said, it's wise for the Duffers to avoid boxing themselves into a set path for season 3. This gives Stranger Things more room to breathe, which is something season 2 needed desperately.