'Stranger Things' Season 4 Release Date Needs to Answer These 4 Questions
We're just as confused as poor Steve Harrington.
Stranger Things Season 3 left us with a few huge questions — What happened to Hopper? Was that the Demogorgon? What classic ‘80s movie anthem will Dustin sing in Season 4? — but there are plenty of smaller loose threads worth pulling, too. Despite a very conclusive ending, we still have plenty of questions about what’s next for Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max, Will, and the rest of the gang — plus a few new additions from Season 3.
With that in mind, here are four questions that Stranger Things needs to answer in Season 4. (Also, this should go without saying, but *spoilers for Season 3 ahead.)
Why Did Eleven Lose Her Powers?
At the end of Stranger Things Season 3, Eleven loses her powers during the final confrontation with the fleshy Mind Flayer that’s been terrorizing the people of Hawkins for eight long episodes. It’s never clear exactly what happened, though it seems to be connected to the moment the Mind Flayer bites El’s leg and leaves a squirming baby Demodog under her skin.
Eleven uses her powers to remove the demon (In a season full of gross moments, this is without a doubt the grossest.), but that’s one of the last times we see her unleash her psychic abilities. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll get those powers back eventually, but Season 3’s finale does nothing to explain what happened or even hint that they might be returning. Stranger Things Season 4 will have the tough job of unraveling that loose thread. — Jake Kleinman
Where Did Joyce Byers Move at the End of Season 3?
Stranger Things Season 3 ended on a bittersweet note when Joyce Byers adopts Eleven after Hopper’s apparent death. At the same time, she decides to move out of town with Will, Jonathan, and El in tow. Eleven and Will have the strongest connection to the Upside Down, so for them to leave Hawkins feels like a huge deal. Unless Season 4 takes place entirely during a visit back to Hawkins for the Byers family, the next batch of episodes will have to explore a new town or city. Will wherever they move to also have a strong connection to the Upside Down? — Corey Plante
How Did the Russians Initially Discover the Upside Down’s Existence?
Surprisingly, this crucial detail never gets explained when Alexei is busy spilling Russian secrets to Hopper and Joyce. While Stranger Things never totally explains the USSR’s motives, the post-credits reveal of a Demogorgon held captive in Russia implies that’s what the Russians are after — hence their excitement to reopen the gate and grab more of those fiendish suckers.
As for how the USSR found out about all this in the first place, it’s unlikely it happened without a willing informant. If “the American” mentioned in the post-credits scene is someone other than Hopper — like Dr. Brenner or one of Eleven’s “siblings” — that might explain it. Alternatively, the Russians might have discovered the Upside Down by accident, just like Eleven did. Either way, this needs to be explained in Stranger Things Season 4. The Russians will most likely figure into the new plot, and viewers won’t readily accept the old half-baked explanation as things get even more complex. — Allie Gemmill
What’s Happening to Hawkins’ Economy?
To illustrate an ever-changing world, Stranger Things nodded to the economic shifts of the 1980s as shopping malls rose and the old American main street enterprise died a painful death. Today, in 2019, malls are getting their comeuppance, closing en masse as consumers turn to two-day online shipping. In fact, the physical filming location for Stranger Things this season was an actual shopping mall in Duluth, Georgia, that was/is on the brink of collapse.
But in 1985, things were looking up for the American shopping mall. However, can the good people of Hawkins say the same thing about their town post-Mind Flayer?
With the Mind Flayer having #rekt Starcourt, we’re not quite sure where Hawkins’ disposable income is going. The finale hinted that some businesses returned downtown — we see Robin and Steve apply for jobs at a new video rental store in downtown Hawkins (another doomed period-appropriate enterprise). But what about the rest of Hawkins? Where are all these dang restless kids going to hang out now?
Looking ahead, I wonder what kind of economic reputation Hawkins has earned. We know the town got caught up in conspiracy theories by the end of Season 3 as Hawkins became the subject of curiosity in the national tabloids. Given that the mall 1) attracted a body-swallowing beast from the netherrealm and 2) was caught up in a political scandal involving (gasp!) Russians, it’s safe to say that the outside world is staying away from Hawkins for a little while. — Eric Francisco
Stranger Things Season 3 is streaming now on Netflix.