Stranger Things Season 3 will easily be Netflix's biggest release of 2019 when the show becomes available on July 4. For those keeping track, that's well over a year since the second season hit the service in 2017.

Netflix's science fiction/horror series has earned critical acclaim for its thrilling world and tight grasp of '80s nostalgia. While some of that momentum slowed in the show's sophomore season, season three promises to bring more weirdness and horror than ever before.

Here's everything to expect from Stranger Things Season 3

All the latest Stranger Things 3 news

Stranger Things 3 trailer debuts terrifying new monster

It's summer time in Hawkins, Indiana, but that doesn't mean things are all fun and games. While the group gets older, the threat of the Upside Down's inter-dimensional beasts get stronger. Meanwhile, a growing division among the group threatens to tear them apart.

What's clear from the first trailer for Stranger Things 3 is that the seasons will feature dazzling new locations, teenage angst, and plenty of terrifying monsters, including a creature that has made its way into Hawkins.

Of course, the show's patented humor and love for the '80s is still going strong, as is the fantastic bond between Dad Steve and Dustin. We're going to need a strong bond like that with angry flesh monster's lurking around.

Stranger Things Season 3 hits Netflix on July 4.

Stranger Things 3 teaser says it's almost feeding time

Sometimes there are things you wish you could unsee but you can't. Case in point: this new teaser for Stranger Things Season 3, which features a pack of rats running through an abandoned factory. We have no clue what's going on, but we definitely don't like it.

"It's almost feeding time," the teaser says, complemented by an upside down smiley face.

What will be feeding? Is something from the Upside Down feasting on these rodents? Or are these rats gathering to eat something?

The teaser could be a hint that a trailer is imminent. Netflix hasn't shown any footage from the upcoming season, and with its premier date just a few months away, it's about time to start getting the hype machine in motion.

All the big details

Stranger Things 3 release date

Netflix's release schedule for Stranger Things has been inconsistent to say the least. The first season debuted all the way back on July 15, 2016, followed by the second season on October 27, 2017. The show then took a year off and is set to return on July 4, 2019.

Stranger Things 3 teaser trailer

Netflix has yet to release a proper trailer for Stranger Things 3 though the service did share a fun promo video last summer. In the faux advertisement, audiences are introduced to the Starcourt Mall, which is a new addition to Hawkins, Indiana.

If you look closely, you'll see Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) is an employee of Scoops Ahoy, along with a new character named Robin (Maya Hawke).

Stranger Things 3 characters

Speaking of Steve and Robin, they're just a few of the many characters set to appear in Stranger Things 3. All of the main surviving cast will return, along with a few new additions, including Cary Elwes as the mayor of Hawkins and Jake Busey as a corrupt news reporter.

As for Steve, he'll become more of a focal point.

We'll definitely get to see more of Steve Harrington in season three, and I'll just say we won't be abandoning the Dad Steve magic, said producer Shawn Levy. I don't want to say much more, but I literally feel that we were walking along and stumbled onto a gold mine with Dad Steve.

Below is the main cast of characters set to return in the third season.

  • Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder)
  • Jim Hopper (David Harbour)
  • Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard)
  • Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)
  • Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo)
  • Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin)
  • Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer)
  • Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton)
  • Will Byers (Noah Schnapp)
  • Maxine "Max" Mayfield (Sadie Sink)
  • Steve Harrington (Joe Keery)
  • Robin (Maya Hawke)

Stranger Things 3 episode titles

Often, the minds behind Stranger Things like to include clues in the show's episode titles. For those of you who like to look under the surface, Netflix has released the titles of all eight episodes of the new season.

  • Suzie, Do You Copy?
  • The Mall Rats
  • The Case of the Missing Lifeguard
  • The Sauna Test
  • The Source
  • The Birthday
  • The Bite
  • The Battle of Star Court

Stranger Things 3 plot

We know a few things going into Stranger Things 3. One of the biggest changes will be the fact that there will be a time jump of one year between seasons two and three. Additionally, the third season is set to take place during the summer, rather than during the fall.

Setting the season during the summer could change the show's whole tone. Rather than focusing on school, the kids will be outside enjoying their adolescence and going to the movies. Of course, they'll also encounter those awkward teen years, so there will be new emotional challenges.

That means further exploring the relationship between Mike and Eleven, as well as the dynamic between the core gang, who might be moving beyond their love of Dungeons & Dragons.

"Mike and Eleven are going strong, so that's a relationship that continues, and same with Mad Max and Lucas, Levy said. But again, they're like 13- or 14-year-old kids, so what does romance mean at that stage in life? It can never be simple and stable relationships and there's fun in that instability.

Poor Will Byers will also get a break after going through hell for two seasons.

We're going to give Will a break, Levy said. We're not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row. He'll be dealing with stuff, but he won't be at rock bottom the way we forced the amazing Noah Schnapp to play.

Season three will also introduce audiences to the Starcourt mall, which will be the cool new hangout spot in town. It might also be a place of conflict, as the season's finale episode is titled "The Battle of Star Court."

The mall could be the place where the Upside Down again collides with Hawkins. At the end of season two, it was clear that the Shadow Monster had not been eliminated, so it's likely the show will further expand on the Upside Down's mythology.

In fact, Levy said that the gang will be "dealing with forces of evil that are new," but stopped short of revealing what that new evil will be.

Whatever new evil the gang comes up against, it'll be worth the wait, according to Cindy Holland, Netflix's VP of original content.

Well, it's a hand-crafted show, Holland said. You know, the Duffer brothers and Shawn Levy have worked really hard and they understand the stakes are high. They want to deliver something bigger and better than what they did last year. And so, they really want to take the time to get it right. I think it's gonna be a fantastic season, it's gonna be worth the wait.

Stranger Things 4 and 5?

Over the past few years, the team behind Stranger Things has indicated that they already have an end in mind for the show. But the third season won't be the series finale. Instead, it could stretch for a few more seasons.

Netflix has yet to confirm exactly how many seasons fans can expect, but at the very least there will be four with a possible fifth season in the distant horizon. If so, it means fans can enjoy a few more years of content—and who knows, maybe there will be a spinoff or two.

Before any of that happens, Stranger Things Season 3 will hit Netflix on July 4, 2019.