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The Best Stranger Things Season 3 Fan Theories

Stranger Things season three is just a few months away, and fans are buzzing with theories. Some of them are far-fetched and belong in the Upside Down, but many actually have some merit. Don’t mistake merit for positivity, though: Several of the convincing fan theories out there will bum you out. An internal squabble between the Stranger Things kids? Joyce potentially standing up Hopper for a date? Joyce potentially skipping town?! Say it isn’t so!

Well, actually, we can’t say anything for sure until July 4 (a.k.a the season premiere). But until then, these theories should satiate your appetite for all things Stranger Things. Be sure to read them in a bright room, far away from the Mind Flayer.

1. The Starcourt Mall is more than it appears. This giant, sparkly new shopping complex is at the center of Stranger Things season three. Netflix even dedicated a promo to it. But what if the Starcourt Mall isn’t really a mall at all? A new theory posits Hawkins, Indiana’s newest establishment is actually an extension of Lynx Corp, the super-secret (and possibly maniacal) organization introduced in another season three promo. Check that out for yourself, below:

So why do fans think this? Take a look at the video Netflix posted about Starcourt:

There’s an eerie mystery to both of these places that suggests they’re one in the same. Perhaps Lynx is using the glossy sheen of the mall as a cover to carry out its schemes. That’s a scary thought when you remember just how many people—including the core Stranger Things kids—hang out at the mall. Evil (might) be happening right under their noses.

2. A zombie infection will break through from the Upside Down. This theory comes straight from Reddit, and points to two episode titles from season three—”The Bite” and “The Battle of Starcourt”—as its primary evidence. We’ve seen Demogorgons and Demodogs use their teeth to kill people, but the show hasn’t emphasized the physical bite until, presumably, now.

So why is that? Is it perhaps because people who are bitten by Demogorgons but live turn into Demogorgons themselves? And building on that, is the “battle” at Starcourt actually between humans and creatures from the Upside Down? It’s entirely possible the Starcourt Mall is just a shield for alternative universes—more evidence this new place is not what it seems.

3. Joyce wants to skip town. If this is true, we totally understand why. After all, her son, Will, was lost in the Upside Down in season one and kept having terrifying visions in season two. Also, let’s not forget her boyfriend, Bob, suffered a terrible death at the hands of a vicious Demodog. Reddit user TheHairyManrilla thinks that might be enough to push Joyce out of Hawkins for good. Plus, she might be out of a job if she stays: The Starcourt Mall will no-doubt affect the livelihoods of everyone who works in retail.

4. Something happens to Max and Billy’s mom. An episode title serves as the main meat for this theory too. When Netflix revealed the first episode of Stranger Things season three was titled “Suzie, Do You Copy?” fans were confused. Who the hell is Suzie? The only character with that name on the show is Max and Billy’s mother, Susan Hargrove. And because the phrase, “Do you copy?” implies something is wrong, put two and two together. Ms. Hargrove could absolutely be the one who’s in trouble—unless, of course, there’s a new character named Suzie. That’s also possible.

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