Stranger Things will return with the final episodes of Season 4 in July – but show creators The Duffer Brothers are already warning fans: Stranger Things 4 will NOT have a happy ending. And really how could it, given where we left things? The evil threat of Vecna/Henry Creel (Jamie Campbell Bower) is looming larger than ever, while the Hawkins gang is in split ranks between the real world and Upside Down – with some characters already seeing great, big, death flags getting planted over their heads. So is it really that much of a a surprise to assume that not everyone is going to make it out alive?
"I don't really want to say, but I would be concerned about the characters going into Volume 2, for sure," Ross Duffer tells Empire Magazine. "I hope that that is sort of the sense, because it is a darker season and the kids are no longer kids. And there's sort of an ominous feeling that things might not go well. Now, whether they do or not, you'll have to watch."
The Duffer Brothers and their cast have been trying to emotionally prepare fans all throughout the production, promotion, and release of Stranger Things 4. Every interview has echoed how this fourth season is the most like a horror movie; how the young protagonists must inevitably grow-up and face darker parts of life; and how the core cast can last forever without taking some major losses.
Off-screen, there are any number of Stranger Things actors that could be ready to move on after this season. David Harbour (Hopper) and Finn Wolfhard (Mike) both have doors to Hollywood movies wide open to them; and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) is a brand all to herself at this point. Of course, the Hopper-Mike-Eleven connection is a main core of Stranger Things: more expendable is the (tired?) romantic triangle between Nancy (Natalie Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). Nancy was clearly left in peril facing Vecna alone in the Upside Down realm – but that could easily be misdirection. Either Jonathan or Steve (or both) would lay down their lives to save Nancy – and might.
We do know Noah Schnapp's Will is safe, as the Duffer Brothers tell us so in the same interview ("Will's] journey and arc is far from finished") unless their phrasing is also misdirection.
In any event, the cast has promised that by the time we get to Stranger Things 5 (the Final Season) we need to be ready for multiple deaths!
Stranger Things 4 vol. 2 arrives on July 1st.