Strange Times

Stranger Things Season 4 theory reveals a huge time travel twist

Is the past the new Upside Down?

Stranger Things has shown us countless sci-fi tropes.

Child abduction? Check. Terrifying monsters? Check. Alternate universes? Check. In fact, it feels like Stranger Things has included every classic sci-fi trope apart from time travel. But that could all change in Season 4.

Even though it’s been two years since a post-credits scene teased what had happened to Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour), a recent teaser changes everything we know about that reveal. In fact, Hopper could be just as good as dead.

As part of Netflix’s Tudum fan event, a new teaser for Stranger Things depicted something we’ve never seen before — The Creel House, where inexplicable events took place decades before the show’s 1980s setting. This season, characters we know and love will investigate the house looking for clues. But what does the murder that transpired there have to do with the events of the past three seasons?

A shot of a newspaper in a Twitter teaser for the teaser itself revealed the Creel family lived in the house in 1959, where they were all horribly murdered, only for the Hawkins gang to reopen the cold case years later. But is that flashback the only thing we’ve seen from that year?

A newspaper clipping about the Creel murders dating the Season 4 teaser to 1959. Netflix

Redditor stephenknowlton suggests the reveal Hopper is alive and in Russia is only the beginning of his problems. Yes, he’s in Russia, but he’s in 1959 Russia. Whatever happened to Hopper, he was sent back in time.

Just look at the evidence: Back to the Future, the iconic 80s pop culture touchstone involving time travel from the 80s to the 50s, is referenced throughout the series. The Demogorgon, the first Big Bad of Stranger Things who was killed in Season 1, was spotted in the same prison Hopper was kept in.

The Hawkins gang in the Creel house.Netflix

Rumors that Stranger Things Season 4 would involve time travel are from years in the past themselves at this point. A clock was prominently featured in the Season 4 announcement teaser, and a clock appearing the recent teaser only cemented speculation the time-space continuum would be explored in the series.

Is time travel the next frontier for Stranger Things? After three seasons of no-holds-barred science fiction action, it may just be the only way to keep fans interested. For Hopper, the biggest obstacle keeping him from his adopted daughter isn’t the Soviet Union or even the Demogorgon. It may just be the passage of time itself.

Can he find his way back to present day? Fittingly enough, the only way we can find out is waiting a little longer.

Stranger Things Season 4 premieres on Netflix in 2022.