We're Getting 9 Episodes Instead of 8
Stranger Things Season 1 was a scant (by Netflix standards - shows usually clock in at 13 episodes) 8 episodes. At the same time, it made sense for this show as there was nothing usual about it. So what might we see in the extra episode? Well, we know there are more characters in Stranger Things Season 2 (more on that later), perhaps the extra time was needed to expand/complete their story-lines. Also, this IS a new season so one can expect new story arcs that are (in some way) going to need to be resolved. Whatever the reason, we're not complaining about a longer Stranger Things season and it doesn't seem like anybody else is either.
The Story is set in 1984
Yes, you have read that right. The events in Stranger Things Season 2 will take take place one year after the events in Season 1. As this show is a look back at the 1980s, as well as a statement about the present, one can only wonder how this time period will inform the show. First of all, the year will be 1984. That was huge year for Apple so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see some first generation Macs now would it? More importantly, might we see a nod to George Orwell's book of the same name? 1984 was a dystopian look at the world and many might argue that it foreshadowed where we are politically and geopolitically in 2016? There was also the first untethered space walk, the Cold War with Russia was in full swing, the PG-13 rating was introduced, etc. Basically, the year 1984 will provide a rich backdrop for what already promises to be a second season filled with complex storylines, great characters, and deft storytelling.
The Story will be Darker and Scarier
Producer Shawn Levy recently pulled back a few layers on the new season, which will be much darker this time around. He explains that "Season 2 is bigger and potentially darker in its stakes. The threat, which in Season 1 was to Will Byers, has grown. That's all I'm going to say! But, I will say Season 2 has a bigger cast and is definitely loyal to the kind of magical storytelling that we established in the first season. It's character-based and still about our core group of characters." Finn Wolfhard went into tease that more character development this time around, saying, "Now that we've done a season, we know exactly about our characters. We are very conscious of them and can take them to the next level. I think we've grown up a little bit, and our characters have too. They have been through a lot and have used those experiences to help them grow and to be stronger in Season 2."