My candidates for Stranger Things 3
I’ve been writing a lot about Stranger Things recently. But the series had its greatest success with Stranger Things 2 and there is still much to unpack. Previously, I talked about how the second season’s villain compared with its Dungeons and Dragons counterpart. And that got me thinking.
Given the Stranger Things tradition of naming monsters after DnD creatures, what might we see in the unannounced third season? As a longtime DnD fan—for almost ten years now—I have some ideas of what I think would work and what I would like to see.
1. The Beholder
Demogorgon and the mind flayer are two of DnD’s more iconic creatures. But only ‘more’ as they are not the most iconic, a spot held by the beholder. It has appeared in every edition of the game since 1975 and is even seen in other media, such as Futurama.
The beholder is essentially a floating, alien head with a single eye and ten smaller eyestalks. Other than its huge size, the beholder is a big threat because of the magical abilities tied to each of its eyestalks. Each has the ability to cast a spell or fire a laser, and with ten available, the beholder can attack in all directions at once.
Beholders are one of my favorite boss monsters from DnD and I think they would be perfect for Stranger Things. It’s alien enough normally to belong in that world, but its eyestalks may be rendered in the show as capable of psionic abilities like Eleven.
The true kicker of the beholder, however, is the ability of its central eye to disable magic. Meaning it could be in Stranger Things as the counter the Mind Flayer needs.
The manticore wasn’t a monster I was originally considering. But the more I thought about it, the more interesting. Though the manticore finds its origins in Persia, the DnD iteration is perhaps the most interesting.
In DnD, manticores are creatures with the body of a lion, the wings of a dragon and a human-like head. Though imagined by Persians to have the tail of a scorpion, the DnD version takes it further. On its tail, the manticore bears several poisonous spikes, which it can launch at-will. Manticores are pure evil and they live to bring suffering, in addition to their hunger for human flesh.
A manticore would be something truly monstrous in Stranger Things. If the Demo-dogs and Demogorgon aren’t connected, this is what I would like to see their final evolution be.
One of the main plot points of Season 2 was Will’s takeover by the Mind Flayer. But what if, instead of possessing someone, the Mind Flayer took their place instead? The doppelganger is the DnD creature to do just that.
Though originally found in German folklore, doppelgangers in DnD have the ability to shapeshift into almost any humanoid creature. This ability would result in them being used as spies and assassins by powerful wizards and lords. But on their own, doppelgangers would kill people merely to quietly take their place in their lives, posing as their victims.
What if Season 3 brought the new threat of mimics? What if the Hawkins team lost the ability to fully trust one another? A doppelganger is the perfect means for sowing discord, as well as isolating Eleven from the safety of her friends.
This might seem like a weird choice, I know. Bugbears aren’t nearly as fantastic as beholders or manticores. But they too have been around since 1975, and their status as a minion monster is what makes them perfect.
In DnD, bugbears are big and stupid creatures similar to goblins. And in Stranger Things 2, we encountered at least a few stupid people, including Tommy, Billy’s dad and a few bullies of Will (maybe Billy too). To branch the two antagonists, it might be interesting to see the Mind Flayer bend these characters to its will, as DnD mind flayers often do with bugbears.
In Stranger Things, bugbears might be villainous townspeople possessed by the Mind Flayer, who together work to unravel the Hawkins team.
In Stranger Things, the Upside Down seems to function as an alternate plane of existence, acting as a filter applied to the events and locations of the real world. In DnD, a similar thing exists with the Shadow Plane, a corrupted version of the Material Plane.
Nightwalkers exist in the Shadow Plane as a perversion of death and shadow. They’re giant undead with the ability to command other undead, driven by an uncanny intelligence and a desire to spread evil. They move almost entirely silent and have the ability to manipulate shadows and disappear within them.
The nightwalker would be perfect as an avatar of the Mind Flayer, a creature to work its influence covertly.
I can’t say that Stranger Things will certainly use any of these, or that Stranger Things 3 will even use a DnD monster. But if they do, these are the monsters I think are best.
But what about you? Any monsters you might think are better for the show? Let me know in the comments!