Stranger Things 2 TV Spot Breakdown. What Did We See, What Do We Think We Know, and What Can We Expect?
The first and probably only TV spot for Stranger Things 2 premiered during the third quarter of Super Bowl LI. Unless you were a Lady Gaga fan who watched her put on a solid halftime performance or an Atlanta Falcons fan whose team was up by 25 points, Super Bowl LI was pretty humdrum up to that point. And then we got the spot. The Stranger Things 2 trailer, all 25 seconds of it. And it was glorious, chock full of references, Easter eggs, and waffles. It gave me goosebumps. Even with it’s anemic run-time there was so much to see and digest.
Your eyes have gorged over the Stranger Things 2 trailer a bazillion times and maybe you’ve seen other sites break it down a dozen times before but hopefully not the way I’m about to break it down. What I’m about to analyze may be redundant in spots, but I hope to put a fresh Wiizzy Wiig twist to it and possibly find a few gobbets of gold everyone else missed. So let’s break it down… shall we?
What Did We See, What Do We Think We Know?
L’Eggo My Eggo. Our first scene and reference comes by way of an Eggo’s waffle commercial from the 1980’s. We know, by watching the trailer, that Stranger Things 2 takes place in 1984 with events leading up to Halloween. It’s a perfect nod, plus the fact the Eggo waffles is Eleven’s favorite food of choice. And, yes, the commercial features Jason Hervey, who played Kevin’s older brother in The Wonder Years. Oh and it doesn’t hurt that Kellogg’s got free ad time and publicity, which they seem to be enjoying. Check out their Twitter page and you’ll see why.
Got Quarters? Before XBOX and PS4, there was the Arcade. The Atari console was around, sure, but not everybody could afford it back then, and it was a while before it was any good. The place to be was still the arcade, with a pocket full of quarters. Could this be where Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will meet up with Eleven? Will we see a The Last Starfighter Easter egg? Is all that interference coming from the Upside Down? We do get our first glimpse of that fiery red storm and flashing lights in the distance.
More Waffles. Like I said before Kellogg’s brand Eggo are getting some good, clean, fun, and free publicity out of all of this, and they are running with it. Check this out from Eggo waffles, it’s worth a look.
It’s Eleven! Of course she’s back, it wouldn’t be Stranger Things 2 without her, but where is she? The last time we saw Eleven, she was in a final showdown with the Demogorgon. She seemed to have won, but at what price? From the camera angle we can assume she’s in the Upside Down, but is she trapped there? We do hear Mike scream her name, and that seems to have jarred her awake. Way to go Mike.
And They’re Off! Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, are off on their bikes and another adventure, but where’s Will? Maybe they know where to find Eleven. Whatever it is, wherever they’re going, they do seem to be in a hurry. We also get our first reference to the Ghostbusters. I’m betting there’s more to that reference than just costumes for Halloween.
Chief Hopper… Look Out! He’s definitely hiding or running away from something, but from what? At first I thought it was a car smashing through the front door. The secret government agency (CIA or DoE) hot on his trail? Maybe he reneged on his deal with them.
It all happens so quickly, but I played this scene, back and forth, over and over again, like the Zapruder film and picked up on one thing that makes me think it’s more nefarious and possibly non-human. The crash/explosion has two different points of entry. The first, from behind Chief Hopper and to his left, the one most of us missed. The second crash/explosion comes from his right (or left of the screen) which we all seem focused on, due to it’s greater impact. My guess it’s not the CIA or the Department of Energy and it’s not a crash or explosion like some other geek minded sites have speculated, but instead, it’s the monster we see later in the trailer, terrorizing Chief Hopper with a smash and grab into his trailer, with his claws, because monsters have claws. And if not “the” monster then possibly another monster that has broken out of the Upside Down and into our world as well. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Still, speculate away.
As the World Turns. No soap opera references here, thank you very much, but we do get our first half of the message that let’s us know what’s about to happen.
Who You Gonna Call? We get a better shot of the boys wearing their Ghostbusters uniforms. It’s hard to see but I’m pretty sure that’s Will standing behind Dustin. Will’s got the blue Keds on and you can pick up on the fact that whoever it is, is also wearing khaki overalls, ipso facto… Will. On a side note, I wonder if the boys decided/argued about who was playing who? Pretty sure Dustin wanted to be Venkman, Mike definitely Egon. I’m sure Lucas put up a fuss about having to be Winston for obvious reasons, and probably wanted to be Venkman. Who knows, maybe he got is way.
Will? He’s Ray Stantz, at least I think he should be Ray. I’ll explain why a little later.
Can You Dig It? Is Chief Hopper digging something up or stabbing something with that shovel so it doesn’t get him first? Whatever it is that he’s doing, it’s during the cover of night so it can’t be good. Best guess, Hopper found that slug that Will puked up at the end of Season 1.
As the World Turns Upside Down. Now we have the second part of the message and together with the first part, spells out, The World Is Turning Upside Down. For all the Demogorgons and other monsters, that’s now right-side up, and that spells trouble for everyone in Hawkins, Indiana. Have faith though… like Sting from The Police once sang “When the world is upside down, you make the best of what’s still around”, and that bodes well for the boys, Eleven, Hopper, et al. Pretty sure those are the lyrics, either way, I’ll bet even money that it ends up on the Stranger Things 2 soundtrack. It is a song off of Police’s 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta. It’s the right time period for that song and no doubt in Jonathan’s music collection. Jonathan, that’s Will’s brother in case you forgot.
Light ‘Em Up. Looks to me like the CIA is still doing a little covering upping. Could they be protecting us from what’s yet to come? Something seeping into our world from the Upside Down? The blow torch is a nice reference to Alien or Aliens and The Thing, take your pick.
Somebody’s Watching Me. Rockwell did release the song back in 1984. Wishful thinking, it makes its way onto the Stranger Things 2 soundtrack.
So in these two scenes we have Joyce with her son Will hooked up, being examined by Dr. Owens played by Paul Reiser. I can spot that toupe a mile away so I know it’s him. I’m thinking he’s some high-ranking official within the secret government assigned to clean-up and contain the situation now that Dr. Brenner is Demogorgone. Remember Paul Reiser played the quiet and unassuming villain role in Aliens. If we’re looking for references/nods let’s hope he meets a similar fate. Unless of course he’s a good guy, which I doubt he is. We see this happening on a monitor with a time stamp that puts us on the day before Halloween. So not only do we get Stranger Things 2 on Halloween, the events take place at the same time albeit during 1984.
As we pull back to the next scene we see an agent monitoring the monitors. We can determine that they are back at the lab where it all started. This is the lab where Eleven was experimented on, you can see the drainage pipe that she escaped through, in the monitor by the agents face.
What’s Wrong Mike? Actually this is not Mike, or Will, and definitely not Lucas or Dustin. It’s Eleven, and she’s really upset. Not sure why. She has long hair and she’s no longer in the Upside Down. It seems pretty obvious that this is Eleven even though during my research I found a number of other geek minded sites (I won’t mention any names) that did similar breakdowns of the trailer to refer to this scene, as it being Mike. It’s not Mike. It’s Eleven. If you look at either Mike or Will in the other scenes from the trailer, their hair isn’t this long or this curly, and Eleven has had a year to let it grow out.
I can understand the mistaken identity and jump to conclusions, it is such a dark scene and it happens so fast, but with the right analysis and a thing called Photoshop, the correct identity could have easily been reached. A little dodge tool, some level adjustments and voilà! Eleven!
UPDATE: EW just released a new photo of the kids. Check out Eleven’s hair.
Will, What’s That A Drawing Of? We all know kids making scary drawings or depictions of something looming and foretelling, eventually happen. It’s a horror movie trope, that the Duffer Brothers have no problem using. It’s part of their bag of shtick.
Is this part of Will’s therapy in dealing with his Upside Down PTSD? I’m sure we’d love to see his other drawings if he has any. I’m sure we’ll see more. How much of Will is still connected to the Upside Down? Will could very well be the conduit that puts everything in motion and he may have nothing to say about it.
I’m dying to know what that monster is and what other creatures we might end up seeing. Expect the Duffer Brothers to ratchet it up for Season 2. We know it’s not a M.U.T.O. from Godzilla but it kinda, sorta looks like the female M.U.T.O. doesn’t it? Could it be a version of the Balrog from LOTR and a possible Sean Astin connection? Probably not. A Lovecraftian nod to Cthulhu a la The Mist? That’s a strong possibility. I’ve even seen people referencing the Eldrazi from Magic: “The Gathering”. Maybe the Spawnsire of Ulamog or Kozilek? You never know.
So Will, what’s that a drawing of? My best guesstimate is that it’s a Thessalhydra. If you remember the last episode of Stranger Things, Dustin, Lucas, Will, and Mike are all back together again, playing D&D just like they were in the first episode. Remember that the Demogorgon was first introduced during that game by Mike who was the Dungeon Master. Mike is also the Dungeon Master during the D&D game in the final episode and we see him introduce the Thessalhydra. Will kills it with a fireball… at least we think he kills it? Foreshadowing?
This Looks Oddly Familiar? Anyone who broke down this trailer, nailed this scene, right away, as a direct nod to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The difference is that in the Close Encounters scene the boy opens the door to reveal UFOs, in the Stranger Things 2 scene with Will, the door magically opens as if by some supernatural force to reveal the fiery red sky with a monster surprise inside.
So is it a dream or vision Will’s having? It could very well be, but that’s too easy of an explanation, so I’ll press on. I believe this is actually happening and Will is somehow possessed. If you replay this scene, from behind, you can see Will’s jaw moving. That usually means someone’s talking… or chewing gum… or maybe, just maybe chanting some kind of incantation. An incantation that summons the monsters and allows them entry into our realm? I know that’s what I would do if I were possessed.
One way or another, Will is key to the events that unfold during Stranger Things 2. And when I mean key I mean Louis Tully being possessed by Vinz Clortho the Keymaster, key. Wait, does that make Eleven, Zuul the Gatekeeper?! Wait, another Ghostbusters reference?!
Did You Choose Anything? OK last Ghostbusters reference, I promise. So remember earlier when I mentioned that within the group, Will was probably Ray Stantz, at least I thought he should be Ray? Here’s why. In Ghostbusters, Gozer asks the guys to choose the form of the Destructor, and Ray can’t help himself and thinks of the most harmless thing. Something he loved from childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy them. Mr. Stay Puft! The paths are parallel, because in his own way Will chooses this monster but out of fear and not love. Ok maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but the idea I’m getting at, is Will’s thoughts, dreams, visions, are bound to manifest themselves into our world much in the same way Mr. Stay Puft became the Destructor for Ray.
Whatever it is, however it got here, this scene with the monster, surrounded by a fiery circle of light, was what blew us away. Am I right?! So ominous, so cool.
And That’s A Wrap. After 20 seconds of Stranger Things 2 awesomeness, we get the familiar logo lock-up followed by “Halloween” indicating it’s release date. Yeah all of that footage was 20 seconds long, leading up to this scene.
What Can We Expect?
Questions from Season 1 will be answered, but more questions will definitely be raised in Season 2. A bigger questions is will they leave it open for a Season 3. We can expect more references and Easter eggs other than Ghostbuster ones, that’s for sure. It’s so part of Stranger Things and the Duffer Brothers DNA to have them spread throughout the episodes.
Stranger Things 2 is sure to give us another moody Moog/Synth based soundtrack from the band “Survive” along with classic 80’s era tunes, some of which I already mentioned that might show up in the new episodes. If the Duffer Brothers are reading this… You’re welcome.
We can expect new cast members joining the fray including, Paul Reiser which we already saw in the one scene playing high ranking government official, Dr. Owens. Sure to be a baddie. Then there’s Sean Astin as Bob Newby. He’s been described as “a kindhearted former nerd who went to high school with Joyce and Hopper and now manages the local Hawkins RadioShack. Some have speculated that he might be a baddie for the simple fact his name is Bob. Some people just don’t seem to trust the name Bob. Think Killer Bob from Twin Peaks or Side-Show Bob from the Simpson. Never realized the name could be associated with so much evil. Personally I think Bob will closely resemble the nerdiness of the 4 boys, sort of a Goonie all grown up, or a 5th Musketeer to the boys. Or a Samwise to the boys Frodo.
Next we have Linnea Berthelsen playing Roman, an “emotionally damaged, magnetic young woman who suffered a great loss as a child,”. That’s all we know about Roman but if I were to take an educated guess I’d say she was once a former test subject for the government, predating Eleven. I’ll be on the look out for a number tattooed on her wrist just like Eleven had (011). For a nice reference how about the number 007. We also get siblings Max and Billy played by Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery, respectively. Rounding out the new cast is Brett Gelman, who will play a character called Murray Bauman. According to Variety, Bauman is “a disgraced journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist who is investigating a cold case in the small Indiana town”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Bauman will be a Duffer nod to Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
There’s one thing I don’t expect or want, and that is another trailer. In fact I hope this is the first and last bit of news we get for Stranger Things 2. One of Stranger Things biggest assets was it’s anonymity. I hope NETFLIX and the Duffer Brothers realize that and don’t overdue it with the publicity, or do it at all. Keep us guessing for the next 8 months. The anticipation may kill us but the taste will be that much sweeter when we binge it come Halloween.
Final Note: Super Bowl Coincidence or Supernatural Conspiracy.
Unless you were a fan of football, you probably didn’t stick around to watch the rest of the Super Bowl. Let’s face it, it was a blowout midway through the 3rd quarter. The Falcons were up by 25 points over the Patriots. The Falcons were given a 99.5% probability of winning by sports prognosticators by then… and then this happened. And by “this” I mean the Stranger Things 2 TV spot. Yes, The Stranger Things 2 trailer aired during the 3rd quarter just as the Patriots were mounting the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history and the Falcons fortunes and world started turning Upside Down. Coincidence? Supernatural conspiracy?
The Stranger Things 2 trailer could have been possessed by some kind of multi-dimensional being, that swayed our reality, our very existence, and the outcome of the game. Was the Super Bowl our real life version of Stranger Things? If so, does that make Tom Brady, Eleven in a parallel universe? They share a similar haircut and menacing stare. Is it a coincidence that Tom Brady’s jersey number is 11? Ok it’s not, he actually wears number 12, but wouldn’t it have been weird if it was 11? If Tom Brady is Eleven in this scenario then that must make NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the Demogorgon.
One Last Update
I speculated earlier which Ghostbuster character each boy was, from Lucas putting up a fuss about having to be Winston for obvious reasons, and probably wanting to be Venkman. Apparently Lucas got his way, and Dustin is Ray Stantz and not Will. This was all confirmed with the latest photo from Entertainment Weekly. My theory about Will still holds true but we’ll have to wait until Halloween to see if I’m right.