(Note: This article includes spoilers for “Stranger Things” Season 4).
Ahead of the Emmys, here’s a look at some of the big questions “Stranger Things” will likely address heading into Season 5.
Did Max die in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4?
One of the biggest cliffhangers in “Stranger Things” Season 4 is the fate of Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink. As the “Stranger Things” teens attempt to bring down the monster Vecna for good, Max — who was trapped in Vecna’s curse earlier in the season — offers herself up as bait.
The plan goes horribly awry, and Max does meet her death for a whole minute before Eleven uses her telekinetic powers to save her friend. But Eleven is unable to restore Max completely, and Max ends up in a coma with broken bones and her eyes presumably blinded.
Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of “Stranger Things,” recently opened up about Max’s fate and how they had even considered making her death permanent, Variety reported.
“It was discussed as a possibility,” Ross Duffer said, per Variety. “For a while that is what was going to happen. But ... we wanted to end it with a little more of a question at the end of the season. It’s still really dark and if Max is going to be OK, we just don’t really know. We wanted to leave it up in the air moving forward into Season 5.”
Will ‘Stranger Things’ see Vecna again — and have a greater role for Will?
We also know that the fifth season of “Stranger Things” will see a final showdown with Vecna, whose hold on Hawkins is stronger than ever. At the end of Season 4, Will Byers — who was trapped in the Upside Down in Season 1 — indicates that the battle is far from over, and that he can even feel to a degree what Vecna is thinking.
Some fans have posited that Will — who is clearly going through an internal struggle throughout Season 4 — could be a vessel for Vecna in Season 5, according to the website Comic Book Resources. His character was somewhat sidelined in Season 4, and the ending of the season hinted at a greater role for him. Overall, though, Season 5 will give the “Stranger Things” gang a chance to finish what they started in Season 4.
“We wanted them to actually lose,” Matt Duffer said, according to Variety. “We wanted our characters to experience what that felt like. That was the big idea coming into Season 4, that they were going to lose. We were going to introduce Vecna and they were going to lose to him. That sets our characters up for what will be the ultimate final confrontation with Vecna and with the Upside Down in Season 5.”
Will Nancy and Steve get back together?
It’s clear throughout Season 4 that Nancy and Jonathan’s relationship isn’t what it used to be (although in real life, the actors are still going strong). Now in a long-distance relationship, the couple has some communication problems, including not talking about their upcoming plans for college. Instead, much of Season 4 hints at a possible reconnection between Nancy and America’s favorite babysitter, Steve Harrington, who dated in Season 1.
“I think in the context of everything that’s going on, it’s really hard to be like, ‘Who’s she gonna end up with?’” actress Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy, told Collider. “And it’s like, ‘Well, in the world of our characters, the world is potentially gonna end and they just had this giant rift thing, and they just narrowly escaped death again. I don’t know!’ I don’t know. Who’s to say who she’s gonna end up with? It’s a really funny thing, but I like that it interests people still.”
Season 4 also saw a reunion between Hopper, who had been imprisoned in a Russian camp, and Joyce Byers, setting things in motion for their relationship to finally play out in Season 5.
It would also be nice if Dustin and Suzie — who brought so much joy in Season 3 with their rendition of “The NeverEnding Story” theme song — could actually be together in person for Season 5.
So when does ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5 come out?
We don’t know when “Stranger Things” Season 5 comes out, but we do know it’ll be the show’s final season, the Deseret News reported. The entire season will also return to the show’s roots, being set entirely in Hawkins, the Duffer Brothers told Entertainment Weekly.
“We wanna go back to a lot of the things we did in Season 1,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “A lot of the original groupings and pairings that we had in Season 1 — there’s something nice about coming full circle.”
Filming has not yet begun, but based on the series’ previous releases, Season 5 could possibly come in 2024, per Collider. David Harbour, who plays Hopper, anticipates a 2024 release.
“I think we’ll (shoot) next year,” he said, according to Forbes. “They’re finishing writing it this year, and they need to prep and stuff. ... But I think that’s the plan. So it’d probably come out mid-2024, based on our track record.”
The Duffer brothers may still be working through the specifics of Season 5, but they do know how the show will end.
“So long as you know where that destination is, it sort of gives you that clarity. It’s like that lighthouse blinking in the distance,” Ross Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “While a lot of Season 5 is actually pretty blurry, the last 30 minutes of it are pretty clear in our heads. So if we can make the journey entertaining, I think that we have an end that will hopefully satisfy. You can’t satisfy everyone, but the hope is that it’s something that feels right for this story.”