At the end of Season 1, Stranger Things did a one-month time jump to show how Will was still affected by the Upside Down. But more than a month has passed between Seasons 1 and 2 and that will inevitably impact how old the Stranger Things kids are in Season 2. With age comes new drama and as Season 2 will show when it premieres on Oct. 27, that drama includes early teenage love. Because although Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Will (Noah Schnapp) are still in middle school in Season 2 of Stranger Things, a lot can change in the crush department in only one year.
Considering the events of Season 1, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas will have to deal with Will not being the same since the Upside Down. Yet, the kids will still find time for some romance amid all of the supernatural activity. While Mike is concerned about where Eleven is, Dustin and Lucas will be occupied by the new girl at school — Max. As Wolfhard told People, "She's this sort of skater punk girl, and Dustin and Lucas end up kind of falling in love with her." Mike, on the other hand, is not pleased with this change in his friends. So this new development not only means some puberty-filled tension, but also that the boys — particularly, Dustin and Lucas — have come a long way regarding girls since Season 1, befitting their older age.
The kids growing up on Stranger Things is in large part because of the actors who play them. The creators, writers, and directors of Stranger Things, Matt and Ross Duffer, told IGN before Season 2 was officially picked up by Netflix that they had to jump further ahead in time due to their young cast aging in real life. Matt Duffer specifically referenced how Matarazzo had already become more mature during Season 1 as the Dustin actor's voice had changed. So in order to keep the kids' ages believable, they had no choice but to move the series ahead a year.
"As much as I would love to have it be Christmas [in Season 2], it's just not feasible, so we're going to skip a year. They'll be a year older and all their changes they're going through, we'll take that into account and kind of work that into the show," Matt said.
Beyond the kids discovering girls, the creators decided to make the most of the time jump in other ways. Ross Duffer said in that same IGN interview:
"It's also just exciting having these initial conversations about it because the jump allows us to say, 'What happened in that year?' It actually opens up a lot more storytelling possibilities. These characters have changed and the audience has to sort of fill in those gaps of what went on in that year. To us, it's exciting. So the fact that we have to make this jump, because of the kids, we're trying to use that to our advantage."
Once Netflix officially renewed Stranger Things, it was revealed that Season 2 was taking place "in the fall of 1984." Trailers also show that it's Halloween in Season 2, so the new season is taking place nearly exactly a year from when Will was abducted on Nov. 6, 1983, in Season 1. Will was 12 years old at the time, so it can be assumed that Will and his friends Mike, Dustin, and Lucas will all be 13 in Season 2 — and same goes for the missing-in-action Eleven.
With the kids being official teenagers in Stranger Things Season 2, they still have a lot of growing up to do. And so before they can become adults, they'll have to go through all of the normal pains that come with aging in the real world — and all of the tremendously abnormal pains that come with fighting the Upside Down.