Here’s my SPOILER filled hot takes for Stranger Things Season 4:
Hopper is ALIVE!
I know….Not much of a hot take. Considering my wife vowed to quit the show altogether after Hopper “died”, this should come as good news. Most people are pointing to the post-credit scene “Not The American” comment as evidence Hopper is alive. I’ve heard more compelling arguments that “The American” is Doctor Brenner. We know he is alive and I find it almost inevitable that the Russians would have been using him this whole time to help improve the Key and understand the Upside Down.
I think the more interesting play is Hopper being stuck in the Upside Down. Everything we know about the Upside Down tells us it mirrors the real world; so unless Hopper walked all the way to Russia, I’m not sure how he would have ended up coming back on the other side of the world. Every season has seen characters either travel too, be trapped in, or mentally connected to the Upside Down, so a search for Hopper would be a great way to kick start the action in season 4.
No New Major Characters
Season three cashed in on the addition of Max and Billy in season two. At times their addition felt forced and unneccesary to the battle against the Upside Down. Looking in the rearview mirror, it was a brilliant set up for season three. Billy was a dynamic villain, even at times feeling for the kid taken over by the Mind Flayer. Max played an integral roll in Elevens character development, rounding out Eleven into a “normal” teenager.
I don’t see this kind of character set up in season three. Robin was a good addition, but it was disappointing she did not end up with Steve and I don’t see her becoming the villain in season 4. Alexei was the only other significant addition, but don’t even get me started on him (Alexei… you deserved better! RIP 😥).
This leads me to think they will build upon the characters they already developed. Don’t be surprised by a return from Kali and Dr. Brenner as El tries to recover her powers.
Who’s The Big Bad?
Every season has seen a pretty dramatic change in the threat from the Upside Down. Season 1 we saw the Demogorgon, season 2 brought the Demodog army and Mind Flayer, and season 3 toped them all with the incarnation of the Mind Flayer in Billy and the Flayed. I expect to see the same from season 4, making the outlook for our heroes even bleaker, with Eleven desperately in need of her powers. I don’t expect to see a new monster replace the Mind Flayer, following season 3’s lead. I do expect to see all the big bads return this season. Prepare for an all-out war, the last push from the Mind Flayer and his minions to finally escape the Upside Down and take over the world.
What Is The Upside Down?
Where did it come from? Where has it been? Or is the real question WHEN is the Upside Down? I have heard many theories about the Upside Down, the most interesting being that the Upside Down is the future. I don’t see time travel being much of a stretch for season 4 when we have already accepted the Upside Down being another dimension. The Upside Down sure looks a lot like nuclear fallout and rumors that season 4 will have a connection to Chernobyl paves the way for a major disaster.
Either way, the Russians were so out of left field in season 3, that it seems like the creators will have to justify their inclusion by making the Russians responsible for the Upside Down. It could be a future nuclear fallout or showing them create the dimension that Eleven eventually tapped into.