HomeTelevisionStranger Things Season 4: 8 Things What We Want to See

Stranger Things Season 4: 8 Things What We Want to See

Photo for Stranger Things Season 4 piece
Photo Credit: Netflix

Whether you binged all of Stranger Things Season 3 like a mind-controlled rat eating fertilizer or decided to slowly enjoy the season like a refreshing can of New Coke, you’ve probably got questions about the inevitable fourth season of Stranger Things. As the excruciating wait for the next batch of episodes begins, it’s time to start exhaustively speculating about what will happen to Scoops Troop and company when they return to Netflix. If you’re ready to go down the rabbit hole (or incredibly deep Soviet elevator), read on and see what this fan would like to see from Stranger Things Season 4.

An American in Paris, We Mean Russia

As the credits of “The Battle of Starcourt” rolled, a surprising mid-credit scene suddenly turned our expectations upside down. So many questions immediately sprang forward. How did the Soviets get a Demogorgon? What are they planning to do with the creature? Why are they so interested in the Upside Down? And, of course, who is the unnamed American the Russians are holding captive?

Fans obviously have thoughts on the answer to that final question, and Stranger Things Season 4 will need to reveal the American’s identity. The easy money would be on Hopper (David Harbour), though I question how exciting his return would be considering how emotional and conclusive his death felt. Other theories have suggested that Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) could be the American. Whoever this mystery person is, the show needs to make sure the answer is surprising but satisfying.

We also know very little about the Soviet’s agenda in Hawkins still, and the mid-credit scene makes it clear the Russians aren’t done causing havoc yet. Stranger Things 4 needs to flesh out what the baddies’ objectives are and transform them into more than your typical 80’s action villains. An extended field trip to Russia would also be a nice change of pace for a show primarily set in the American Midwest.

No Place Like Home?

The other big question mark from this season’s finale was what happens now that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the Byers family have moved. As much as I love Hawkins, this development could be another chance to bring the threat of the Upside Down to places other than a small town in Indiana. Season Four should take advantage of this bold move and really explore what this world of alternate dimensions and super-powered children is like. What does the rest of the world think of Hawkins? What other mysteries exist across the country? 

The change in status quo also promises to have a big impact on our heroes and their relationships. The show will need to address how two young couples (Mike and Eleven, Nancy and Jonathan) handle long distance relationships. As much as I hope these couples survive, seeing the emotional toll of their separation would make for some compelling romantic drama.

And on an individual basis, the writers should explore how the Byers cope with and adjust to living somewhere normal. Would they truly be able to leave their trauma and baggage back in Hawkins? Or (more likely) would they find their memories haunting them even from a distance? Assuming the Byers actually did move to a community free of supernatural occurrences, these questions need to be answered.

Squad Goals

Many of the characters from Seasons Two and Three have become fan favorites and fully integrated themselves into the original cast’s misadventures. As wonderful as these additions have been, though, a few characters have taken a backseat to accommodate the ever-growing ensemble. While season four will undoubtedly introduce more new characters, Stranger Things will need to make sure it doesn’t lose sight of its core players. 

After taking on a recurring role in season one, Noah Schnapp was a revelation in season two. Having been elevated to the main cast, Schnapp presented Will as a gentle, tortured soul gradually warped by the Mind Flayer; by all accounts, the young actor delivered an incredible performance. In this latest season, however, the writers largely relegated Will to the position of Upside Down radar. Having given a breakout performance the season prior, Schnapp now had little to do other than get goosebumps and touch the back of his neck.

Stranger Things 4 needs to make sure that Will and other central characters (Jonathan and Lucas also come to mind) don’t get forgotten. Knowing how talented Schnapp is, pushing him into the background again would be a huge mistake.

Where There’s A Will

Speaking of Will, now that the series has finally introduced its first openly LGBTQ+ character (in the form of Maya Hawke’s Robin), it’s time to stop dancing around Will’s sexuality. The show has hinted since season one that Will is gay, and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) very nearly confirmed his friend’s sexual orientation this season. Noah Schnapp himself has suggested that Will’s sexuality is up for interpretation. And while there is nothing wrong with keeping this subject in the subtext, it feels cagey for the show to avoid giving an answer after introducing Robin and exploring her sexual orientation in such an honest, empowering manner. Season four owes Will more screen time as something other than a possessed, traumatized victim. Examining his sexuality, then, would give more agency to his character and make the series more inclusive. 

Will the Wizard
Photo Credit: Netflix

Batman and Robin

One of the most delightful developments of Season Three was the friendship of Eleven and Max (Sadie Sink). After presenting Max as a foil to Eleven in Season Two, seeing the two girls get along was most welcome. Considering how often shows and movies use the trope of two girls being rivals because of their relationships with others (mainly boys), this new pairing was refreshing. The two characters have certainly earned more time shopping, reading Wonder Woman comics, and using Eleven’s powers for laughs.

What I’d like to see from Season Four, though, is another relationship of this nature. Robin was undoubtedly the MVP of this season, and her comedic chemistry with Steve (Joe Keery) was magical. But I’d like to see her form another unlikely friendship. And who better to pair her with than Nancy (Natalia Dyer)? After all, the only non-romantic friend of Nancy that we’ve seen died all the way back in Season One (RIP Barb). It’s time that Nancy had another female friend in her life, especially one that understands all of the sci-fi shenanigans she’s been through. Considering how Robin described Nancy to Steve, this potential friendship would clearly need time to grow and overcome some preconceived judgments. Once they get past these initial misgivings, I think Nancy and Robin would make a dynamic duo.

Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 3 Case of the Missing Lifeguard
Photo Credit: Netflix

Power Outage

As the team’s only super-powered member, Eleven has long been responsible for saving the day. Though her nosebleeds probably cost Hopper a fortune in tissues, she appears capable of defeating any monster or government agent that crosses her. As a result, her friends have become totally dependent on her to solve their Upside Down-related problems. 

Having Eleven lose her powers in the season finale, then, was such an intense development. Without everyone’s favorite telekinetic Eggo lover to rely on, the other members of the party had to step and contribute to the battle more than ever before. The notion that the Mind Flayer could actually succeed became much more real and Eleven herself had to find a way to fend off Billy (Dacre Montgomery) and the Mind Flayer without her powers.

When Stranger Things returns, Eleven’s powers should still be gone or at least on the fritz. Having based so much of her identity on her power, Eleven would be forced to continue the personal growth and self-discovery she’s experienced the last two seasons. She would need to confront who she is as a person without her abilities. She would need to find a sense of self-worth and agency without her unique skillset. And if danger looms, she would once again need to find another way to fight for her life and the lives of her friends.

I don’t believe that Eleven’s powers will or should be gone forever, but I truly think a prolonged hiatus from telepathy and telekinesis would be the perfect crucible for this character.

Photo Credit: Netflix

Flay’s Anatomy

When it comes to sci-fi and fantasy, the questions of “how” and “why” can be endless. Sometimes these questions need to be answered to flesh out the mythology of the series. Other times, they become distractions. And of course, there’s always the danger that these answers will prove unsatisfying and detract from the world-building that has already taken place. As a Lost fan/apologist, I am all too familiar with these possibilities.

While it’s probably unnecessary to go into a detailed breakdown of how the Upside Down came into existence and what the exact nature of the Mind Flayer is, some more mythology would be useful. At the very least, season four should explain why the Department of Energy and the Soviets have been so fixated on this parallel dimension. Conversely, learning what the Mind Flayer’s full objective is would also be welcome. Whatever the writers decide to reveal, they’ll need to make sure these answers have narrative significance and shocking repercussions.

New Formula

Though I didn’t particularly enjoy Lucas’ (Caleb McLaughlin) extended defense of New Coke, some of his arguments were persuasive. As good as the original may be, sometimes it’s necessary to take things in a new, bolder direction. Complacency is the enemy of progress and discovery. People may find change jarring and uncomfortable, but change is necessary for growth.

Much like the introduction of New Coke, Stranger Things needs to change its formula. Specifically, the series needs to stop the trend of splitting the cast into separate teams investigating tangential mysteries and then reuniting them in the season’s penultimate episode. This structure has worked incredibly well the last three seasons, but the format has become noticeably formulaic. While this divide-and-conquer mentality is efficient for a show with such a large ensemble cast, the strategy has become repetitive.

As I discussed in my preview for Season Three, Stranger Things must continue to evolve if the show is going to remain relevant and compelling. Breaking away from this seasonal formula is just one of the many adjustments the series can and should make to grow and improve. And hopefully, unlike New Coke, fans will recognize and appreciate this effort to make the show they love even better. 

Stranger Things Season 4 will be coming to Netflix in the future and we’ll bring you all the news on its premiere. For now, check out all of Stranger Things on Netflix.

Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky is one of Pop Break's staff writers and covers Voltron: Legendary Defender, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things. His brother, Aaron, also writes for the website, but Josh is the family’s reigning Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars champion.

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