All the hidden meanings you may have missed in Stranger Things season three

The Never Ending Story bit is so cute omg

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Stranger Things is famous for having a wealth of 80s pop culture references and hidden meanings, from the obvious to the incredibly well hidden. You probably picked up on most of them, but some were so sneaky they might have slipped past you.

Even though season three introduced a whole host of new faces, it still managed to pack heaps of these references into just a handful of episodes. These are all the Stranger Things hidden meanings you may have missed:

When Dustin serenades his girlfriend Suzie

In the finale, Dustin's long distance girlfriend Suzie asks him to serenade her and he sings The Neverending Story theme song.

The Neverending Story is an 80s fantasy movie featuring a young boy trying to save the world and Falkor, a magical luck dragon (you might have seen his face in various memes).

The producers were actually considering using the Ent song from Lord of the Rings, but decided against it because Amazon are currently remaking Lord of the Rings and they thought Netflix might not approve. But that didn't stop them from making another subtle LotR reference later.

The name of the radio hill makes a reference to Lord of the Rings

In one scene, Dustin tells the other characters to meet him at Weathertop, the hill on top of which the big radio system is set up. This is actually a reference to a hill in Lord of the Rings, where Frodo is stabbed by one of the Nazgul. Very subtle, very sly.

The Russian villain is based on The Terminator

The evil Russian chasing Joyce and Hopper for the majority of the series gives off major Arnold Schwarzenegger vibes, and it's not an accident.

The character is clearly based off of Arnie in The Terminator films, a series which started up in 1984, just a year before this season is set. His accent is even the same!

There was a subtle hint about Will's sexuality

"It's not my fault you don't like girls" was a particularly cryptic line said by Mike to Will in episode three of this season. It had many fans puzzling over whether it was a reference to Will's sexuality or not.

Finn Wolfhard weighed in on the debate, saying that it was just one of many variations of the line, including "it's not my fault you don't like girls yet", and not a reference to sexuality.

But Will's real life counterpart Noah Schnapp disagrees. He said he can't guarantee that the line isn't about sexuality, and that he prefers the question of Will's sexuality to remain unanswered for good. This means Stranger Things have left their options open when it comes to Will's sexuality, but if Noah Schnapp has any say in it, we may never find out.

The scene where Nancy was about to be eaten by the Mindflayer was a reference to Alien

The scene where Nancy is about to get eaten by the Mindflayer in the hospital is a homage to this iconic scene with Ripley in Alien, where she's pressed against the wall and his very gross open mouth is next to her.

Also, the way the Mindflayer inhabits his hosts by attaching onto their mouths is the same as the Xenomorph facehuggers, also from the Alien franchise.

Alien has been mentioned many times by the Stranger Things creators as a main inspiration for the show, so these parallels were definitely intentional.

The Billy slow-mo scene was inspired by Fast Times at Ridgemont High

The scene where Billy slow-mo walks past the pool while a crowd of on-looking mums stare is arguably the best scene in the series. But you may be unaware that the scene is originally from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where Phoebe Cates emerges from a pool.

Also, do you recognise the name Phoebe Cates? That's the actress Dustin compares his girlfriend Suzie to when he says "she's hotter than Phoebe Cates" in the beginning of the series.

Plus, in the final episode, when Steve and Robin are looking for new jobs in the video store, he says Fast Times is one of his top three favourite films.

Back to the Future is referenced twice, and not just in the cinema scene

You probably noticed the characters attending a viewing of this 1985 classic in episode seven, but there are more Back to the Future homages than just that.

A large portion of this season's big finale showdown is set in the car park of a mall, undoubtedly a reference to the key scene in Back to the Future (the scene where they go back to the future).

The villains breaking down doors is a nod to The Shining

There are two references to the legendary breaking the door scene from The Shining in this season of Stranger Things.

Firstly, when Billy breaks through the glass of the sauna window and secondly when Doug (nasty blonde man who works at the newspaper) breaks through a door at the hospital to catch Nancy.

He even says "Hi there" after he does it, which is definitely the Stranger Things equivalent to "Here's Johnny".

There are possible links to the Chernobyl disaster

Some fans have predicted that season four will focus around the Chernobyl disaster, where a nuclear reactor exploded in 1986.

The presence of the Russians, nuclear reactors and the fact that this season was set in 1985, just year prior to the disaster, all suggest that Stranger Things and Chernobyl could be connected in the next season.

Maybe Eleven could cause the disaster, or the disaster might be used as a cover for the secret Upside Down related experiments conducted by the Russians. Either way, with all the heavy Russian themes running through this series, it's too likely to ignore.

Dustin uses code names from Star Wars when he's on the radio

When Dustin radios in after returning from summer camp, he checks in as "Gold Leader". It's a moment early in the series that may have slipped past you, but this is actually the trademark signal of Star Wars character Lando Calrissian.

And not only is it a reference to Star Wars, but to earlier Stranger Things seasons too. In the previous seasons Dustin repeatedly calls people "Lando" if he suspects they have betrayed the group. This is because Lando Calrissian betrayed Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back. It's a little running reference that's been used by Dustin since the very start.

There's a Beetlejuice tombstone in Mr Clarke's house

This was an Easter Egg so small, the writers literally begged people to find it.

If you look closely at the model of Hawkins in Mr Clarke's house you can spot a minuscule replica of Beetlejuice's tombstone. Beetlejuice is yet another iconic 80s movie – but it's also more than that. Beetlejuice's main character Lydia was played by young Winona Ryder, who now plays Joyce Byers in Stranger Things. We love a reference within a reference!

The Mayor of Hawkins is Westley from The Princess Bride

Did you think the slimy Mayor of Hawkins looked weirdly familiar? That's because he's actually Westley from The Princess Bride! Just a bit older and without the little moustache. Madness.

The booby traps were an Indiana Jones reference

When Erica, Lucas' little sister, infiltrates the Russian's base in Starcourt she says she's worried about booby traps.

This might seem like a pretty standard worry, but when they ask Erica what booby traps she expects she says "walls with spikes". This is a reference to the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where he's trapped in a room with moving walls made of spikes.

The movie came out in 1984, just a year before this series is set, so Erica was definitely a bit scarred from watching that – hence her completely rational fear of booby traps.

There was a very subtle Godfather reference too

Do you really need me to explain this one to you?

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