In July, Netflix released the first teaser for Stranger Things 3, a cheeky ode to '80s malls that told us simultaneously everything and nothing. It didn't feature any Stranger Things characters beyond Joe Keery's Steve Harrington and a new character played by Maya Hawke (daughter to Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman). But, it did feature a whole lot of extras. Extras in full '80s garb — leggings, acid wash mom jeans, and the occasional leotard. Extras aren't that interesting in the context of a show, but in the context of casting calls, things get interesting.
Back in May of 2018, production put out a casting call for both "1980’s Male for Mall" and "1980’s Female for Mall," both of which could have tipped us off to the show's impending mall scene. (My nascent theory is that the mall will take the same role that Dungeons and Dragons did in the first season of the show. It will be both a setting and a guide to the ensuing plot.) In the interest of studying the ever-evolving world of Stranger Things, we broke down as many casting calls for the show, looking for clues. The company behind the extras casting in Atlanta is TaylorMade casting, and its Facebook page is rife with Stranger Things requests.
TaylorMade Casting put in a request for '80s "workout" types, suggesting that some scenes will take place in an exercise class. The StarCourt Mall, a fake mall production built in the Gwinnett Place Mall in Atlanta, also contains a refurbished Jazzercise studio, per local reports. Extras needed for the "workout" types must have "NO PROBLEM with SPANDEX."
Conclusion: Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) will take a Jazzercise class with Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) as a way to release all the stress from the last two seasons.
This request asks for a salesman with "a look of arrogance & sophistication - well groomed" for a shoot that took place on May 11.
Conclusion: Steve Harrington decides to get himself a fancy new car (with all his ice cream money, of course)!
This seems self-evident: The Stranger Things production team needs sci-fi archetypes. A scientist! A military man! An agent!
Conclusion: The Hawkins lab isn't dead yet — or maybe there's another lab.
A request went out in June for two female dancers — it specifies that the dancers will only be warming up.
Conclusion: Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) is getting into polka.
A June request asks for "pool males," "pool females," and a few "lifeguards." The lifeguards must also be CPR certified — as in, they had to be real lifeguards. We already know that Stranger Things 3 is expected to take place during the summer of 1985. This only emphasizes the point: whereas the past seasons saw the main characters in coats and beanies, this season will be all about swim trunks and sunblock.
Conclusion: The shadow monster monster made it to the local Hawkins swimming hole.
A casting request for a July 13 shoot asked for two athletic sprinters — a man and a woman — with previous track experience in the 18 - 30 age range.
Conclusion: Steve Harrington just took up track. That, or Hopper (David Harbour) decided to tackle the 5 minute mile.
A request posted in July asked for "snowballers" and their respective families. Season 2 ended at the Snowball, where Eleven (Mille Bobby Brown) finally seemed to settle into normal life in Hawkins. If the casting agency is looking for Snowball attendees again, this means season 3 might revisit the Snowball. Or, there's going to be another school dance.
Conclusion: We're going to hear "Every Step You Take" once more.