In addition to a new teaser trailer detailing Eleven’s not-so idyllic California life and what looks to be a bombastic spring break for the Stranger Things crew, Netflix has provided audiences another clue to potential upcoming content for season 4.
Given that destroying the Mind Flayer at the end of season 3 also meant the end of the Byers’ and Eleven’s time in Hawkins, the potential dissolution of Eleven’s powers, and the suggested end of Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour), the story seems to be spiraling toward a conclusion. Slated to stream in mid-2022, Netflix released the titles for each of season 4’s episodes this week. Let’s see if we can break down what they might mean for the now teenage monster fighters and their allies.
The Hellfire Club
It appears that the kids who remain in Hawkins are still major Dungeons and Dragons players. Footage released via Stranger Things social media accounts shows rolling dice and Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) carrying a flag for the “Hellfire Club.”
This is also the show’s second reference to X-Men’s Phoenix saga, highlighting a loose connection between the powerful minds of Jean Grey and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). The Hellfire Club is a nasty mutant organization in the Phoenix saga, which hints at some brutal baddies on the horizon.
Another D&D reference! Vecna is a wizard turned undead necromancer and one of the most formidable creatures in the game. After achieving immortality, Vecna was maimed by a usurper, which led to his left eye and hand becoming magical artifacts themselves.
Like previous plot points, D&D might lead the remaining Stranger Things gang to unravel a Hawkins mystery, possibly at the Creel House, teased a couple of months ago. We also have Will (Noah Schnapp), who did technically die and come back to life. Could there be another character bringing back creatures from the other side?
The Monster and The Superhero
Who is the superhero here? Eleven, who has presumably lost her powers? Hopper, who’s presumably dead? A new cast member granted superpowers? And who is the monster? An escaped Robert Englund as Victor Creel? A Russian scientist at the base where Hopper is recovering?
The ambiguous title invites a number of possibilities that are fun to explore, but we will have to wait until the season arrives to find out.
The nasty bully, Max’s older stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery), actually died a hero, saving Eleven’s life in the season 3 finale. This episode title suggests we’ll see how Max (Sadie Sink) is dealing with his death, but this is Stranger Things, so things could take a weird turn in this journey through trauma.
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The Nina Project
Here’s where the fictional Hopper may collide with actual history. Nina Kulagina was a real-life willing subject of the 1970s and 1980s USSR experiments that tested her supposed telekinetic powers. Could her story collide with Hopper’s at the facility where he’s being detained?
Another murky title that will be better understood as season 4 unfolds. Does this dive refer to actual deep water or into another world like the Upside Down?
The Massacre At Hawkins Lab
Yikes. This one’s pretty on the nose. While the Hawkins Lab is shut down by the end of season 3, perhaps this is a flashback to previous days at Eleven’s former home. The title of the next chapter certainly suggests this episode as a forerunner.
Here marks the return of Matthew Modine’s Martin Brenner. Is this the final meeting (and the final clash) between the mad scientist and his acolyte Eleven?
Though the word ‘piggyback’ is benign, the Stranger Things world suggests an ominous undertone. Who is carrying who and into where? Whoever or whatever it is, we will likely get to see something very bad and someone very good exiting this world in the last episode of season 4.