It’s been a month since Stranger Things season three dropped on Netflix and after multiple viewings, creators Matt and Ross Duffer have left us with some serious questions.
When season three was released on Netflix on July 4, the streaming service nearly went into meltdown as the viewership stats for fans hungry to devour the latest happenings in Hawkins went completely off the charts. Tens of millions of fans binged the entire season in less than a week, and it still continues to chart as the streaming service’s most in-demand content.
It’s easy to understand why. With perfect casting, imaginative and creative storytelling and a flawless blend of horror, comedy and drama, the Duffer brothers have managed to cook up something truly special, and fans are lapping it up like a demodog hunting for fresh meat.
But, if like millions of others, you have already binged your way through season three (and have probably already started watching the whole series again from season one), you are no doubt already beginning to feel the itch at the back of your neck wondering what the Mind Flayer will be up to next. Well, whilst we wait for the Duffers and the cast of Stranger Things to do what they do best, let’s take a look at what we can most likely expect from the fourth season of Netflix’s hit show.
ELEVEN STRUGGLING TO REGAIN HER POWERS
Always ones to ensure they have plenty of new ground to cover, the Duffer brothers left audiences with a number of potential story threads, which will no doubt tie directly into the next season. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ross Duffer suggested they already have a broad view of where the next season is heading, stating: “We don’t want to write ourselves [into] a corner so we try to have these early discussions with the writers just to make sure that we’re setting ourselves up to go in the right direction.”
One of the biggest threads that was left dangling at the end of season three’s finale was the fact that Eleven was still struggling to use her psychic abilities after the infected bite she suffered from the Mind Flayer seemingly drained her of her powers. Whilst her ever-supportive boyfriend Mike seems confident her abilities will return in time, it’s unlikely that the Duffer brothers wouldn’t make things so easy for their characters, and no doubt season four will see Eleven doing whatever she can to reclaim her abilities.
LIFE OUTSIDE HAWKINS
With the exception of the one episode in season two where Eleven goes to Chicago to track down her fellow Hawkins Lab “sister”, Kali, the entire story of Stranger Thing has been focused on the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. This seems all set to change in season four, however. Matt Duffer explains in the same interview: “I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s going to open up a little bit, not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing plotlines into areas outside of Hawkins.”
At the end of season three, we see Joyce Byers sell the house that featured so prominently in season one, and leave Hawkins with her sons, Will and Jonathan, as well as Eleven, who she has now taken into her care. No doubt trying to put the last few years behind her, there was no indication as to exactly where Joyce and the kids were moving to, but it seems unlikely that their new home will provide them with the fresh, new start she was hoping for.
LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS
When Dustin returns from science camp at the start of season three, everyone seems highly dubious as to the existence of his new long-distance girlfriend, Suzie. It is not until the series finale, when the ever romantic Dustin serenades her over the radio with the theme song to the NeverEnding Story in order to get the numbers that make up Planck’s constant, that people actually learn that she is real.
No doubt Dusty-Bun and Suzie-Poo will continue to heat up the airwaves with their endearing long-distance romance, but will things run so smoothly for both Mike and his sister, Nancy, now that their respective beaus, Eleven and Jonathan, have both left Hawkins? Or will Nancy and Steve begin to rekindle their original connection now that Jonathan is out of the picture? Based on Steve’s truth serum-aided admission to Robin, we doubt it, but it nonetheless remains a possibility.
WHAT ARE THOSE RUSSIANS UP TO?
Apparently the Duffer brothers knew that they wanted to introduce the Cold War-era Russian threat into the show as early as season two, and while the previous season may have seen the US Government’s Hawkins Lab shut down, the Russians just had to try and meddle with the Upside Down by attempting to open another gate beneath the newly built Starcourt Mall.
Hopper’s prisoner-turn-Russian-defector, Alexei Smirnoff, said that whilst the Russians attempted similar experiments in their own country, there was something unique about the location of Hawkins that made it easier to break through to the alternate reality we all know as the Upside Down. When Hopper sacrificed himself to allow Joyce to destroy the machine the Russians were using, and US Troops stormed the Russian facility, which should have been an end to that particular threat.
But then the Duffer brothers gave us all one final gut-punch via a very important post-credit scene set in Russia, where a prisoner is fed to a captive Demogorgon. Does this mean the Russians have succeeded in opening another gate elsewhere than Hawkins, and perhaps far more important than that…
WHO IS THE CAPTIVE AMERICAN?
For all intents and purposes, Hopper appears to have been killed when Joyce destroyed the machine that was opening the Russian gate into the Upside Down… Or was he?
Unlike the Russian soldiers trying to stop him, we never actually saw Hopper’s death on screen and when the all-important post-credit scene plays, we learn that the Russians have another prisoner they refer to only as “The American”. Did Hopper somehow survive the explosion only to find himself thrown into a cold cell on the other side of the planet? Perhaps rather than die, Hopper himself was sucked into the Upside Down before the Starcourt gate closed and was later captured by Russian soldiers using their own gate into the dimension.
One thing is for certain, if Eleven manages to reclaim her powers and learns that Hopper is alive, nothing will stop her, not even the might of the Russian military.