The new “Stranger Things” Season 3 trailer gave us a look at what life is like for the residents of Hawkins, Indiana, after their adventures in the Upside Down; a glimpse at the new characters coming to the show, such as those played by Maya Hawke and Cary Elwes; and there’s even a Dad-Steve (Joe Keery) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) moment.
That’s all great, but here’s the thing …
Besides fun shots of life in the ’80s, the trailer also includes a glimpse at a new monster, which seems to be going for this whole demon-crab-meets-aggressive-Silly-Putty aesthetic.
From that scene, as well as other hints in the new promo, fans started speculating that Season 3 has a dark twist with an already-dark character:
The theory: Billy is the monster.
In Season 2, we’re introduced to Billy (Dacre Montgomery), aka the bullying and possibly racist older brother of Max (Sadie Sink). Billy doesn’t have a ton of redeeming qualities (see: possibly racist), so it seems natural that the new season would take his antagonistic characteristics up a notch.
But could he be the actual monster of Season 3, as it’s been suggested on Twitter and Reddit?
Let’s examine the evidence:
1. Billy looks like he’s become infected by the Upside Down.
The new trailer makes it clear that there’s something wrong with Billy.
In one brief sequence, it appears Billy has become infected with something from the Upside Down, as dark, veiny tendrils spread across his arm. It’s not totally clear what’s going on.
(Perhaps Billy’s just having a bad reaction to shellfish. I’ve been there, bruh.)
Interestingly, Netflix already released the episode titles for Season 3, and one of them is called “The Bite.” It’s conceivable that something (possibly one of those rats that appeared in the Season 3 poster) passed a sort of Upside Down virus to Billy.
The idea that Billy becomes a host for something from the Upside Down has been around for a while. Montgomery played coy when The Wrap asked him about that possibility in 2017. But series creators the Duffer brothers didn’t demur when they revealed to Vulture that Billy’s story was originally going to get more supernatural, but was pushed to Season 3:
Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three.
2. Billy (that is, Dacre Montgomery) already told HuffPost that his character is getting even more sinister.
As bad as Billy and his extraordinary mullet were in Season 2, during an interview with HuffPost in 2017, Montgomery teased that his character would go even darker in the future.
“There’s something far more sinister going on with Billy. We’ll see how that unfolds” he added.
Honestly, Billy already acts somewhat like a monster. Taking it the next step — and making him an actual monster — just seems like a natural progression.
3. Lastly, here’s “The Thing.”
Influence from John Carpenter’s 1982 classic, “The Thing,” is all over “Stranger Things.” (Just look at the show’s name. It almost sounds like a sequel.)
The Duffer brothers have been very open about Carpenter inspiring their work, and they even put in some “The Thing” Easter eggs in Season 1, with the poster for the movie appearing in Mike Wheeler’s (Finn Wolfhard) basement and Mr. Clarke (Randy Havens) watching the movie while on his date toward the end of the season.
There are reports Season 3 would take even more inspiration from Carpenter, and a monster growing out of Billy would be a pretty direct way to do that.
If you compare the shots of the creature from the 1982 movie, pulsating and growing …
… to that of the monster in the “Stranger Things” trailer …
… the similarities scream at you louder than Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) when she didn’t approve of Jim Hopper’s parenting style.
An even-more-sinister possible twist involves fans thinking Steve (no, not Steve!) becomes a monster, too. In the trailer, he gets a syringe in his neck (see above), which, some are speculating, could be some kind of supposed cure for the Upside Down infection.
We’ll find out for sure when “Stranger Things 3” drops on July 4. Though as far as theories go, this one is pretty believa-bill.