Stranger Things showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer tease story details for season 2, including that the mystery surrounds a shadow monster. Season 1 of Stranger Things debuted on Netflix last summer, unraveling the mysterious disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), the appearance of a young telekinetic girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), and the supernatural creature called the Demogorgon in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s. Viewers fell in love with the Goonies-like band of kids at the core of Stranger Things – which includes Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) – as they tried to find their friend and fight the Demogorgon.

The series also followed Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) as she worked with police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) to find her son, while Will’s brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Mike’s sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) conducted their own investigation into the Demogorgon and the Upside Down. Season 2 of Stranger Things, which has been given the theatrical moniker of Stranger Things 2, will introduce some new players to Hawkins, including Sean Astin’s Bob Newby, Sadie Sink’s Max and Dacre Montgomery’s Billy. Now, some of the major characters of Stranger Things 2 grace the covers of EW’s latest issue, while the Duffers reveal new details about

While talking to EW, the Duffer brothers revealed the season 2 mystery will revolve around something called the “shadow monster” – a massive creature that appears to Will in a PTSD-like vision of the Upside Down, which were teased in the Stranger Things season 1 finale. Ross explained, “It’s all connected to this singular threat, which is tied into this shape that Will sees in the sky.” Matt went on to say of the entire nine-hour season, “Each episode is building on the last one. It gets much crazier than it ever got in season one.” Take a look at the Stranger Things EW covers in the gallery below.

Considering how phenomenally well viewers and critics responded to Stranger Things season 1, the second season has some massive shoes to fill – pressure that was undoubtedly felt by Matt and Ross Duffer when plotting out a return to Hawkins. However, the Duffers are embracing the sequel status of Stranger Things 2, even though Netflix wasn’t always entirely on board with it since sequels aren’t always as successful as their predecessors. Matt said:

“When we started describing it as a sequel, Netflix was like, ‘Don’t do that, because sequels are known to be bad.’ I was like, ‘Yes, but what about T2 and Aliens and Toy Story 2 and Godfather II?’ … We want people to argue about what season is better. I want the debate. I want the Toy Story debate!”

Based on the comments of Matt and Ross Duffer, fans seem to be in for a markedly different Stranger Things season when the show’s sophomore outing debuts next month. Obviously, the core of the series will stay the same considering all the same cast members are returning, and it was the dynamic of that group of kids at the center of Stranger Things that was one of its biggest strengths. But that dynamic won’t necessarily be the same what with the return of Will from the Upside Down – and the ramifications of his time there manifesting as PTSD and visions of evil creatures – the mysterious reappearance of Eleven once she returns, and, of course, the addition of Max.

But, while the new elements of Stranger Things 2, between the shadow monster and the new cast members, will add a fresh spin on the show, it seems likely the series will continue to build on what made it so well loved. Whether Stranger Things 2 lives up to season 1 – and whether it will inspire the Toy Story-like debates Matt Duffer hopes – remains to be seen. But with only a month left before Stranger Things 2 debuts, fans will be able to watch the followup soon enough.

Stranger Things season 2 premieres Friday, October 27th on Netflix.