Yesterday’s post of the Stranger Things 4 trailer generated a discussion in the comments section about who could possibly croak in the upcoming finale. Some readers were more pessimistic than others, but nothing topped this:
A Season 5 where every major character except El has been dumped would be….unexpected, to say the least, and probably one of the biggest mistakes any show could ever make, so…I think I can safely write this possibility off. A Red Wedding episode is not imminent, no matter how the promotion suggests it.
If anything is clear by now, it’s that this show loves its characters and cannot bear to part with them. This is kind of a problem when you’re telling 80s horror stories because they require a body count to keep up tension. But there was an interview with the Duffers where they confessed they regretted killing Chrissy, and that’s a character that only appeared in one episode and had “Vecna Chow” written all over her. They said the instant they regretted it was when they filmed her scene with Eddie at the picnic table. They realized in that moment that Chrissy and Eddie “had great chemistry” and that a head cheerleader and a punk outsider entering a relationship could be a great hook. In just ONE SCENE, they had not only grown attached to Chrissy but already paired her with someone. That’s the kind of people the Duffers are, and it’s written all over the show.
Based on what we know about standard television storytelling tropes and past decisions the show has made, here is who is probably safe for Season 5, and who is less so.
ELEVEN — NOT POSSIBLE
The time to worry about El’s life is the series finale. That being said, given the direction the plot is moving, it’s possible she ends this season “in limbo” — trapped in the Upside Down, captured by the Feds, or something else. We hope we’re wrong about that, because it’s also been hinted that they’re thinking of a “time jump” for Season 5 and that would mean El would be stuck wherever she is for at least two years. This does not compute, given her loyal friends would immediately work on freeing her.
MIKE — NOT POSSIBLE
The only thing that could kill Mike is Finn Wolfhard leaving the series, and we haven’t heard of that happening. Safe purely due to his connection to El.
DUSTIN, LUCAS, JOYCE, NANCY, ROBIN, ERICA — NOT POSSIBLE
There is no valid reason to get rid of any of these people.
WILL — NOT POSSIBLE
Can you imagine the sheer NOISE the Internet would make if Will came out of the closet and then immediately died? The Duffers DO know that’s an offensive trope, right? ….Right?
EDDIE MUNSON — POSSIBLE
Eddie could very well be the next Bob — a one-season character that introduces himself, does a lot of quirky things and then goes out the hero. There are several reasons to assume this. Eddie’s murder charges probably won’t go away even if Vecna does. But if he DIED, the cops would be like “oh well” and walk off, clearing the slate for Season 5’s plot. Our biggest piece of evidence for this theory is the shot from the trailer of Eddie shredding guitar atop his van — we think he’s doing that to play a song that will free one or multiple people from Vecna’s control. Vecna’s next step, then, would be to shut him up.
MAX MAYFIELD — BORDERLINE
There are arguments for and against Vecna killing Max “for real.” The strongest argument against is that…we already went through this. We blew our emotional wad on Max and after a struggle, she won. To reverse this and have her die anyway would be shoddy storytelling. The strongest argument FOR her death is the fact that she wrote goodbye letters to her family, which presumably still exist. Remember what happened to Hopper when HE wrote a letter?
JIM HOPPER — NOT POSSIBLE
Where would the show find another 80s Macho Man Action Movie Hero Stereotype at this late hour?
MURRAY — BORDERLINE
There’s a chance Murray could sacrifice himself to allow Joyce and Hopper the opportunity to escape from something. But they already have a fourth, disposable character in the group that could serve this purpose. I’m leaning toward “Murray lives.”
STEVE HARRINGTON — BORDERLINE
There’s an outside chance Steve could die from his injuries received in the Upside Down…but he kind of recovered pretty fast. It’s more likely Jonathan will bite it than him.
JONATHAN — POSSIBLE
If they’re looking for an established character they can slay for shock value while still keeping the core group intact, Jonathan would be the easiest pick. This show started with Jonathan as the good-natured photographer to root for and Steve as the boo-hiss antagonist…but as the show developed, Steve turned into a much better, more well-rounded, way more interesting character, while Jonathan has grown flatter with every season. As of 2022, he’s barely there. And Nancy’s eyes are wandering back toward Steve. Jon has a target on his back.
Did I calm your nerves? Did I miss anyone? Let me know. And while you’re here, read my comic.