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‘Stranger Things’ Cast Previews Season 3: ‘Things Inevitably Turn Super Dark’

Season 3 of “Stranger Things” means new characters, new monsters, and a new backdrop for the citizens of Hawkins, Ind., executive producer Shawn Levy teased at the show’s PaleyFest panel on Sunday.

“Season 3 is set in the summer, so right out of the gate that’s a big difference,” Levy told Variety at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. “The first two seasons were very much school-based. This is that time of year where it’s not about school, it’s about the swimming pool and campfires and parades and Fourth of July and fireworks, so there’s kind of a poppy fun to Season 3 that’s really enjoyable before things inevitably turn super dark.”

Levy hinted that after the demogorgon and demodogs in the first two seasons, there will be more creatures coming as “the shadow monster is still lurking up there out there in the Upside Down.” “He is determined to find a way to achieve his goals,” he added.

As previously announced, Maya Hawke joins Season 3 in a lead role, while Priah Ferguson has been upped to a recurring role after her standout scenes in Season 2.

Levy calls Hawke — whose character is described as an “alternative girl” named Robin — “a really exciting, young brand-new face and actor. She came in and auditioned with Joe Keery and had such interesting chemistry and dynamic. She’s just a really spontaneous, in-the-moment actress.” He also teased that more casting announcements will be announced, both from established actors and newcomers.

Much of the “Stranger Things” cast was on hand for PaleyFest, including Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, Caleb McLaughlin and Natalia Dyer. The group starts working on Season 3 next month, and while they said they haven’t yet read the scripts, some revealed what they hope is in store for their characters in the upcoming season.

McLaughlin, who plays Lucas, said he wants more action scenes and friendship between the boys, while Brown said she hopes Eleven “evolves and understands what being a girl is.” Dyer, who plays Nancy, said she “really enjoyed all the stuff with the demogorgon and all those fun, otherworldly, supernatural scenes. I wouldn’t mind if she kind of got back into that world.”

During the panel, the cast broke down memorable moments from shooting the first two seasons, newfound fame and the close-knit relationships they have with one another. Harbour also talked about the challenge of getting into Jim Hopper’s mindset when taking care of Eleven. “I don’t have a child,” he said. “All of my experiences of love have either been romantic, or my parents, or a dog,” but that he found “a love that was human but pure, like you would take a bullet for someone.”

Brown responded that their scenes together early in Season 2 were particularly raw and difficult to film, but now they “are like father and daughter.”

“Stranger Things 3’s” release date has not yet been announced.

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