The wait for season two of Stranger Things is still a long one—new episodes won’t hit Netflix until 2017—but with production on the new batch of episodes set to commence on the Atlanta set in just a few weeks, co-creators (and brothers) Matt and Ross Duffer have opened up about the follow-up to this summer’s breakout hit and want you to know one thing: They’re reading your theories, Internet.
“Some of the fan theories online are amazing. Most are wrong, but I’ve read a few that are right or very close,” Matt admitted to THR. “Is it Reddit? Some of those people have figured stuff out based off of the chapter titles.”
“Some of these theories are elaborate and smart,” Ross added. “They’re not crap. I love reading this stuff.”
By chapter titles, Matt is, if course, referring to the video released announcing the second season pick-up that flashed a series of titles for upcoming episodes in the new season, including “The Boy Who Came Back To Life,” “The Secret Cabin,” and—perhaps the most ominously—”The Lost Brother.” The idea to include the titles in the teaser came directly from the siblings, who weren’t too excited by what Netflix originally had in mind.
“Netflix had another teaser, but it was about going back to stuff that had happened already. I thought it wasn’t exciting enough, and we wanted to provide some hint of where we were going in season two without giving anything away,” Matt revealed. “I do think some of the titles will change. There were titles we didn’t want to put on there because we felt like it would give too much away. The whole season was already broken when we did this.”
Whether the titles change or not, one thing is for sure: The info provided in that teaser is important. “Even if they aren’t the final chapter titles, everything in that teaser is major,” Matt added. “But they’re ambiguous enough that no one is going to be able to figure it out.” (You hear that, Internet sleuths?! Sounds like a challenge to us!)
As the brothers tell it, if season one was all about figuring out where in the hell poor Will disappeared to, season two will be about exploring the bigger picture now that we know the Upside Down exists. “Season one does almost feel like a big movie that comes to a sort of ending. A lot of that was based on the character of Will and the repercussions of him being in this upside down world for a week. Exploring that would be the second season,” Matt said. “Once we got into the room for season two, we started expanding our mythology. We never got boxed in, because we’re dealing with an alternate dimension. It feels like the possibilities are limitless.”
The nine-episode second season (one more episode than in the first) will buck season one’s example of starting things off at nearly a fever pitch with Will’s abduction in the first act. Instead, expect things to steadily build from episode to episode. “And what we’re actually able to do the second season is ramp it up like a coaster that just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it builds to this big, climactic finale. That was harder in the first season because Will was taken right away and everyone was on high alert,” Ross said, adding that the plan is to keep the episode count as low for future seasons. “The concern, if we did 13 episodes or something, would be having to tread water. We like this format, but we’ll see where the story goes.”
And if you were scratching your head over how Netflix appeared to drag their feet before finally renewing the series a month and a half after its premiere, the truth is even stranger. “They greenlit the second season before we even premiered,” Matt revealed. “So when everyone was going, ‘Is there going to be a second season?’ we had been writing the entire time. So we’ve been working on this almost all summer.”
Of course, the Duffers would soon learn that the streaming giant’s initial obfuscation would pay dividends in the end. “Netflix has its mysterious ways, but it actually ended up working because it had built up to this fever pitch,” Matt added. “I guess that’s what they were intending to do all the time.”
Stranger Things returns for season two in 2017 on Netflix.