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‘Stranger Things’: 5 Theories of What Could Happen In Season 4

BY Stephanie Larson

Published 3 years ago

'Stranger Things': 5 Theories of What Could Happen In Season 4

This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3, read our season review here

Stranger Things is a great many things and one of them is that it’s a giver. It’s a giver of ominous mid-credits scenes that rips you out of the relieved but emotional puddles that the Season 3 finale has reduced you to. Just when you thought the rollercoaster ride is easing down to the ground, it suddenly jump-starts again. It’s fun and all but, it had definitely given us something to be bothered about. Questions like what does that mean, why are they doing it, who’s there, and how will it all go down are some of the top contenders. And all we can do at this point is to wait and let our imaginations run wild. With a cliffhanger like that, you just have to. Here are some theories of what we think might happen in Stranger Things Season 4:

1. Quest to get Hopper Back

Though we got quite the emotional send-off for Hopper in the finale episode of Stranger Things Season 3, we didn’t really get the full evidence of his death. That darned mid-credits scene did nothing to help squash the speculations that he’s alive either. So, if he is, this theory can go three ways.

David Harbour in Stranger Things Season 3

First off, if Hopper was the “American” mentioned in the mid-credits scene, it would be a quest to get him back from the Russians. Murray’s character could be an essential link for Joyce and the others to know of this. Or Hopper can figure out a way on his own to let the others know where he is and what the Russians are doing. If he knew of the Russian Demogorgon, he’d surely be desperate to let the others know.

On the other hand, Hopper could also be stuck in the Upside Down. Just before the machine blew up, he could’ve jumped into the gate to save himself. Or something could’ve pulled him in before it closed up. He could be another Will that gets stuck there. And with the Russians digging around that thing, it’s not impossible to find him which leads us to the third possibility in this theory. Hopper could’ve somehow gotten into the Upside Down only to emerge or be found in the Russians side of the world. And that’s why he’s being kept prisoner, as a valuable source of information. Either way, if Hopper is alive, he might be a narrative focus of Season 4.

2. Getting out of Hawkins

The Byers leaving Hawkins once and for all was one heartbreaking part of the Season 3 finale. But, it might’ve also hinted at new settings for Stranger Things Season 4 outside of Hawkins. Mike’s statement to Eleven could’ve also hinted just how exactly. In one of their final moments together, Mike told Eleven that they got the green light to visit in the holidays. So, the action might just follow El and the others to where they’re moving in that specific time period. Some theories have even gone so far to suggest that this place out of Hawkins would be Russia. And it does make sense seeing as the Demogorgon was in Russia as well as the “American.”

Noah Schnapp and Charlie Heaton in Stranger Things Season 3

The other thing is the concept of portals. Though it was never really revealed why the Russians were trying to reopen the gate, they could’ve seen it as a portal. And if this theory is true, it might be another way of taking the story out of Hawkins. The Duffer brothers themselves have confirmed this expansion out of Hawkins in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. But, we’ll still have to see how the journey is made and where it leads exactly.

3. Brenner Working for the Russians

If you remember, Dr. Brenner was El’s “papa” in Season 1. And things seemed to end for him when he was attacked by the Demogorgon in the finale of that season. However, in Season 2, it was revealed that he was actually alive. And he could be returning as one of the villains in Season 4.

Mathew Modine in Stranger Things Season 1

For one, he could now be working for the Russians. That might be how they got hold of the Demogorgon and knew of the gate. Because if you think about it, knowledge of the gate and the experiments involving El was confined to Hawkins with Brenner at the top of it all. There were never any Russians in the picture. Then suddenly, here they are with what seems to be vast amounts of information. And Alexei also mentioned that they were doing other experiments. What if one of those was replicating the experiments on Eleven because of Brenner? His name was already tarnished on American soil. So, what stops him from offering his services elsewhere for a bargain? The Russians surely wouldn’t refuse such a possible advantage like the one Brenner presents.

On the other hand, Brenner might also be the “American” instead of Hopper. It’s a possibility that after he’s shared his knowledge and his methods to the Russians, he was deemed useless. And he was only kept in alive just in case. Either way, his reappearance could really set off quite the chain of events next season.

4. El’s Powers Don’t Return

Up until the last second of Season 3’s finale, El’s powers have not returned. And it might never return. This would definitely shift the tone and narrative for next season if it comes to life. El with no power just doesn’t seem like Stranger Things. But, come to think of it, it would definitely be the challenge of a lifetime. El has always been the one holding her hand out and saving the day on most occasions. Without the advantage of her powers on their side, the Hawkins gang would REALLY have to get creative.

Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things Season 3

In addition to that, this might entail involving more people to the fight like Dr. Owens and his crew. Dr. Owens was Will’s doctor back in Season 2. And we last saw him gazing in horror at the gate beneath Starcourt Mall. Given that he knew about it, he might just chase the Byers for some answers including El especially that a Demogorgon is still out in the world.  Dr. Owens might just be the key to connecting it to the bigger picture like the ongoing Cold War perhaps. A huge fight is inevitable. And maybe this time, El won’t be the standing as the first line of defense. Maybe the other psychic kids would show up. Or maybe it’ll be an all-out Russia vs America battle. All we know is it’s going to be big.

5. Important People Die

Stranger Things has been relatively tame when it comes to important character deaths. But, if Season 4 would be its final season, there’s a fat chance we’re going to lose some of our favorite characters. Just think about it. We were given a taste of that with Hopper. And if the stakes would be at its highest in Season 4, deaths would be imminent.

Natalia Dyer, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Charlie Heaton, and Noah Schnapp in Stranger Things Season 3 (2019)

In fact, Joe Duffer actually admitted that two major characters were almost killed off in Season 1. These were El and Steve. As Duffer said, “Eleven was going to sacrifice herself to save the day. That was always the end game.” But, they left it up in the air once it became obvious that Stranger Things would exceed more than one season. However, now that they’re positively nearing the end, could they still have the same end game? It might not be El or it could be her. But, seeing that a grand culmination is what’s expected of Season 4, it’s hard to imagine everyone getting out alive sad as it may.

With all these theories out there, only one thing’s for sure: Stranger Things Season 4 is a wildcard. And by the time it comes, we’ll probably forget about all these theories because we’ll probably be too busy taking all the Stranger Things in.

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