In some Upside Down–esque alternate universe, summer vacation in Hawkins, Indiana, would mean three school-free months of sunshine and R&R. Unfortunately for the Stranger Things kids, summertime in the Hawkins they know and love means no such thing. Sure, there’s time for Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) to go to sleepaway camp and for the whole squad to while away the hours constructing a clubhouse in an empty field, but there’s still a Demogorgon on the loose and a pesky portal to the Upside Down that just won’t stay shut.
The new trailer for the long-awaited third season of the hit Netflix show, which will premiere on July 4, highlights our beloved band of misfit tweens’ struggle to balance facing down the aforementioned sci-fi threats and living their regular tween lives. “We’re not kids anymore. I mean, what did you think? We’re just gonna sit in my basement all day and play games for the rest of our lives?” Mike (Finn Wolfhard) intones.
But amid frightening flashes of the Demogorgon prowling around in the dark, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) fending off nosebleeds and slipping back into the Upside Down, and Will (Noah Schnapp) still struggling to come to terms with his own tenure in that horrific other world, we see them all—plus Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink), of course—exploring what may be the most daunting alternate universe of all: Hawkins’s brand-new shopping mall. The Starcourt Mall opens Max’s and Eleven’s eyes to the joys (and perils) of being regular teenage girls, allows Dustin and Steve (Joe Keery) to show off their unlikely friendship in front of Steve’s coworker Robin (Maya Hawke) at the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor, and makes the citizens of Hawkins more outraged than they were when they found out a laboratory within city limits was doing unlawful scientific testing on children. Ah, the ’80s.
Not much else is known about the actual plotlines of the new episodes, owing to Netflix’s policy of ultimate secrecy, but Sink recently teased to W that, compared to the previous seasons, it’ll be “very different from the others—but in a good way.” She continued, “Forget about sci-fi—it’s just about what’s going on with them and being teenagers in the summer, going to the mall, doing normal teenager stuff. You really dive deep into who the characters are and their backstories this season, and then as the season goes on, it gets into the stranger things.”