6 Burning Stranger Things Questions We Need Answered In Season 5

From Max's fate to Vecna's return, the epic season 4 finale left so many unanswered questions.

by | July 7, 2022 | Comments

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After an extended wait, Stranger Things 4 has come to an end. The Hawkins gang were once again thrust into a monster-hunting, world-saving mission, but this time, the stakes were even higher and the themes were much darker.

“It’s not Jurassic Park, anymore,” Matt Duffer previously revealed to Rotten Tomatoes about season 4. “It’s Hellraiser. It’s A Nightmare On Elm Street.”

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Eddie (Joseph Quinn), and Max (Sadie Sink) all had their various struggles throughout the season, but the common thread between all of them was the massive challenge of taking down new big bad Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). In the end, they were able to stop the nightmare killer, albeit temporarily.

Now that the gate to the Upside Down has cracked wide open in the middle of Hawkins, what will happen to our heroes? How will Vecna’s wrath be felt? And, most importantly, after all this trauma, can the gang ever catch a break and ultimately find their happy ending? We sure hope so.

While we wait for the next installment to drop, here are six burning questions we need answered in Stranger Things season 5:

1. What will next season’s theme and tone be?

(Photo by Netflix)

Up until season 4, Stranger Things tip-toed around the horror genre, giving winks and nods here and there, without raising the stakes too much, ultimately maintaining a nostalgic Amblin-esque aesthetic. This most recent installment, however, kicked off the training wheels and dove face-first into the brooding terror of it all.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess, but with Hawkins ripped open and the Upside Down spilling into the real world, something tells us Stranger Things will have a post-apocalyptic flair when the show returns for its fifth and final season.

And while the Duffers have yet to confirm or deny this speculation, Ross Duffer explained how the aging of the cast helps the show evolve from season to season: “I just like that the kids getting older is just forcing us to evolve. It just keeps us all on our toes and makes every season feel different. And that’s what we wanted to do: each one feels very different from the preceding season.”

2. How is Will’s connection to the Upside Down going to come into play?

(Photo by Netflix)

The Upside Down isn’t done with Will.

In the final moments of the season 4 finale, Will revealed to Mike that he is still very much connected to the nether-realm that continues to haunt Hawkins. As if he didn’t already have enough on his plate, Will admitted he’s tethered to Vecna. What exactly does that mean, anyway?

Will has already been put through the wringer with his kidnapping into the Upside Down; the damage is still there, mentally and physically. Moving forward, does this mean Vecna has a plan for him? Is it possible Will could end up being a pawn in Vecna’s endgame?

Considering his own enduring struggles with his identity, is it possible season 5 will take a page from the second Nightmare on Elm Street movie and explore Will’s shame and how that may manifest, if Vecna, hypothetically speaking, were able to possess the boy’s body?

There is one other detail regarding Will’s connection to the chaos that will be explored in season 5: the Upside Down has been frozen in time since Will’s initial disappearance in 1984. Matt Duffer explained to Variety that this will be a major plot point in the final episodes.

“There was debate that we even included that because we don’t resolve that, this season,” he revealed. “But that moment where they realize it’s frozen in time really is a huge part in season 5.”

3. How far ahead in time will the season jump?

(Photo by Netflix)

When Volume 1 of Stranger Things 4 premiered, it became clear rather quickly that many of the show’s cast members have aged out of their roles. The time span between season 3 and 4 is just six months, narratively speaking, but three years have gone by and these kids aren’t kids anymore. Sure, this isn’t something like Beverly Hills: 90210 where actors in their 30s are playing teenagers, but the passage of time has dictated a narrative pivot for the next season.

“I’m sure we will do a time jump,” Ross told TVLine in June. “Ideally, we’d have shot [Seasons 4 and 5] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that.”

Hypothetically speaking, moving the story ahead a few years may work wonders in matching the characters’ ages with the actors, currently. But, if you dial in on the detail that the Upside Down is stuck in 1984, we have to wonder if it’s possible that time travel could play a part in the supernatural series’ final bow.

If kids with psychic powers and an alternate dimension filled with devil-monsters can exist, why can’t Eleven and friends travel back in time? Great Scott!

4. Will Max have powers when she regains consciousness?

STRANGER THINGS season 4 star Sadie Sink

(Photo by Netflix)

To paraphrase Kate Bush, Max has a huge hill to run up once the series returns. But, in her current condition (both her legs and arms were broken, thanks to Vecna’s attack) any sort of vigorous movement will be absolutely out of the question for a while.

Technically, Max was Vecna’s fourth victim. She officially died. Her heart stopped for over a minute. But with Eleven’s ability to psychically piggyback into Max’s mind, she was able to coax life back into the young girl’s body. It wasn’t enough to bring her fully back, but her coma offers some semblance of hope that she’ll eventually wake up.

Eleven did try to wake her up in the hospital, only to find Max’s mind a deeply blank slate. As we saw with Eleven’s piggyback maneuver, Max had jumped from one memory to another. And yes, it’s completely possible that she’s in a different locale than where Eleven was looking. However, something tells us Vecna has her hidden somewhere, and once she does come to, she will be forever changed.

Not only did she share her brain space with two supernatural heavyweights as they battled to the death, but Max did technically die. The fourth gate opened, and Vecna’s initial plan came to fruition. So does Vecna have a handle on her soul, now? If so, could Max overcome his vice grip and return with some of the big bad’s Upside Down abilities?

After all the grief and trauma, it would nice to see Max step into her power and give Vecna a run for his money. As we saw in Sadie Sink’s performance in the Fear Street saga, she’s definitely got some “final girl” energy. It would be awesome to see her use it to save Hawkins in season 5.

5. Is this the last we’ll see of Eddie Munson?

(Photo by Netflix)

One of the main story details Max was forced to reconcile in season 4 was her brother Billy’s (Dacre Montgomery) death in season 3. As abusive and toxic as he was to her, Billy’s demise represented a pivot for the character: in the end, he chose to sacrifice himself to save his sister’s life. He may have been gone, but Billy was definitely not forgotten, and his presence was very much felt in season 4 as Max continued to struggle with grief.

Eddie Munson had his own tear-inducing hero’s death in season 4. Now, Dustin faces a similar sense of loss and guilt; he was unable to get to the Hellfire Club’s leader in time to save him from the horde of bloodthirsty demo-bats that engulfed him in the Upside Down.

Knowing the pleasure Vecna gets from emotionally manipulating his victims, it’s almost a certainty that Eddie will return. And if he does come back, Eddie most certainly won’t be a welcome sight for Dustin or any of the Hawkins crew.

But one person who can’t wait for the guitar-wielding Dungeon Master to return is Joseph Quinn. “I’ll be furious if they don’t bring me back [laughs],” the actor told The Guardian. “I’d love to, if they’ll have me.”

6. How will Vecna make his return?

(Photo by Netflix)

“I have unfinished business with a lot of people,” Jamie Campbell Bower told Rotten Tomatoes during the press day for Volume 2.

In the beginning of season 4, we learned about Vecna through the mysterious murders plaguing Hawkins’ high school students. Through flashbacks, viewers got a better understanding of Henry Creel, the young boy with psychic (and psychotic) tendencies. And during Eleven’s mission to unlock memories of her past at Hawkins Lab, audiences finally pieced together that Henry was “One,” Dr. Brenner’s (Matthew Modine) first patient in his experimental program, and after a major confrontation between the orderly and Eleven, he was banished to the Upside Down, where his evolution into the insidious Vecna took place.

All Vecna needed was four kills to open enough gates leading into Hawkins for his plan of world domination to take shape. While he was set on fire by Steve and Robin and blasted repeatedly by Nancy’s shotgun, Vecna refused to stay down. And now that the Upside Down is becoming a part of the real world, one can only wonder what sort of tricks Vecna will have up his sleeve when he does return. Will his confrontations with the group still be rooted in psychic manipulation, or is it possible the gang will feel the power of his brute strength head-on?

“I think that resentment is still there,” Bower continued. “Between him in the lab and now, I think he’s further compounded his belief system and his desire to change the world.”

Stranger Things 4 is available to stream on Netflix.

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