There's not yet been a date confirmed for the release of the third season of Stranger Things, but we can guess at what movie and television show might influence the next eight episodes of the Netflix smash.
The action-packed supernatural web-series, which follows the story of a group of friends as they uncover the weird goings on in their hometown of Hawkins, pulled in an estimated 15.8 million viewers for the first episode of season two in the US alone. So it no surprise the show is set to return for a third season either late in 2018 or early next year.
One reason why Stranger Things is so well-loved is for its retro feel and 1980s references. The show itself has been described as a cross between 'The Goonies' and 'Stand By Me', two classic 80s movies. Each episode is packed full of references to toys, television shows, and pop culture trends from the 80s.
The first series, which was set in 1983 included references to 'All The Right Moves', 'The Dark Crystal' and 'He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe'.
Season two was set a year later and featured nods to 'The Terminator', 'Punky Brewster' and of course we saw the boys dressed as ghostbusters.
With the younger cast members of the show ageing fast, it's likely that the next series will be set two years after season two, in 1986. The year when the devastating Chernobyl nuclear accident happened, Halley's Comet passed its closest to Earth, and the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch.
We know the show's writers love to drop in pop culture references of the time, so perhaps in 1986 the boys will be playing on their new Nintendo NES, or with the brand new high-tech talking Teddy Ruxpin toy. They might be listening to Cameo 'Word Up!', Tears for Fears 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' and Hall & Oates' 'Out of Touch'.
The boys of Hawkins clearly like science fiction, based on all the references to the genre in the previous two seasons. So, they're sure to have seen Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in the 1985 movie 'Back To The Future'. It's easy to imagine that Dustin or Will might have a model of the iconic DeLorean time machine in their bedroom by 1986.
Will Hawkins' cinema being showing any of the top ten blockbusters of '86 during the season? Perhaps 'Top Gun', the Tom Cruise movie debuted in cinemas in May and went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year, netting nearly $177 million in the US alone.
1. Top Gun
2. Crocodile Dundee
4. The Karate Kid Part II
5. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
6. Back to School
8. The Golden Child
9. Ruthless People
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
One movie which is quite likely to be referenced in Stranger Things 3 is Ridley Scott's 'Aliens', the sequel to the 1979 film 'Alien', starring Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley. We're pretty sure the Duffer brothers were inspired by the first movie when writing season two of Stranger Things.
When Steve and Dustin descend into the storm cellar hunting for Dustin's pet, they find a shed skin, and a growing alien creature. Just like the xenomorph in 'Alien', Dustin's pet demogorgon, D'Artagnan, rapidly grew once hatched.
The cast of next season might be quoting Mick Dundee, the lead character from one of the biggest movies of 1986, 'Crocodile Dundee', "that's not a knife!" 1986 was also the year that 'Stand by Me' was released in cinemas, a film the whole series has been likened to. Could we see a more direct homage to 'Stand by Me' in season three?
We know that the Duffer brothers love science fiction, as do Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. 1986 was a big year for sci-fi with 'Short Circuit' and 'Flight Of The Navigator' showing in cinemas. These are two family-friendly sci-fi movies that the boys are sure to have seen.
One movie that the gang shouldn't have seen is 'The Fly', which was scaring cinema-goers in '86, but the boys would have been too young to see. The horror film, which stars Jeff Goldblum, seems like the type of movie that might influence the Duffers' writing.
In the world of television, 1986 was when viewers watch stunned as Bobby Ewing was revealed to be alive and showering in his ex-wife Pam's bathroom in 'Dallas', it turned out that the entire 1985–86 season was nothing more than Pam's bad dream.
Cher appeared on NBC's 'Late Night With David Letterman' and famously called the show's host an "asshole." Oprah Winfrey started her journey to world domination when her regional talk show went nationwide, and viewers bid farewell to 'Diff'rent Strokes' and 'Knight Rider', which both came to an end in 1986.