We’ve just got a very revealing teaser for the upcoming Stranger Thing 4, which shows that Hopper is alive. And unlike the rest of the Internet, I am not happy about that. One thing that I liked about Stranger Things is that death actually sticks, it means something. And you can go on and on about how we never see Hopper’s body and blah blah blah, but it cheapens the emotional ending of the third season and I am not having it. Not. Having. It.
So before we learn anymore about the new season, here’s four somewhat controversial things I am hoping we will get to see next in the nightmare that is Hawkins, Indiana.
1) A five-year time jump
Listen, I get that we love to see these kids running around being adorable tweens but the actors are starting to get older, and I think it’s time for them to move out of middle school and into high school. Having a five-year jump gives us more time for them to develop more nuanced personalities, lets the actors play parts that match their age. This also gives the older teens, like Nancy, Robin, Jonathan and Steve a chance to play young adults and having to figure out who they are after hitting their monster-killing peaks (well save for Steve). Five years also gives us plenty of time for Hawkins to absolutely deteriorate, which works well narratively, and will take us into the late 1980s, peeking into the 1990s. Different nostalgia, sure, but it’s time to grow! I’d love to see how the world shifts with the addition of time, and having Hopper come back to a radically different world would be fun to watch.
2) Mike and El to grow apart (and stay apart)
Cue the record scratch of disbelief, but hear me out. Obviously, the move is going to put a real strain on their relationship and we’ve already seen the fractures in Season 3. But for Season 4, I want them to break up for good. For El, Mike is the first boy she’s ever seen and formed an attachment in large part because of that. So it’s time for El to continue her social growth, maybe by having a different partner or developing her own group of friends. For Mike, he needs to grow outside of the relationship, given that for a long time he was obsessed with El. As per the show’s usual narrative, they’ll have to meet up again to take on the monster, which will be awkward but maybe they can develop a good friendship out of it.
3) A dissolution of the core group
I know, I know, I speak blasphemy. Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas NOT being the super friendship squad we’ve come to know and love? Well, if you’ve been following the story, you know that it’s already happening. Dustin was separated from the group for a good part of Season 2 and the majority of Season 3, and with Will moving away, there’s little reason for them all to remain close. Obviously Will will have his new school and new friends there. I think either Mike or Lucas will become a jock, or at the very least doing something more socially acceptable than AV Club. Dustin seems like the most likely candidate to remain a nerd, but given that he does have Steve as a mentor, he might go on to be “cool.” Either way, seeing them pulled apart will make it all the more satisfying when they finally reconnect, trying to remember how to work together and bringing individual strengths.
4) They will finally do something with El’s “siblings”
Ah, yes, everyone’s least favorite thing from Season 2. Still, the element was introduced and I demand they use it. We know Eleven is just one of several psychically-enabled children and we’ve met Kali, who is number 8. I’m sure not all of them survived, but there has to be more out there. Will they be able to factor in to Season 4? Will we at least get to learn who they are and what they can do? As El continues to grow and expand her powers, having other psychics around her will be crucial to her personal development. I don’t think they would just ditch a whole sub-plot just because the audience didn’t love how it was done. Plus, it would be cool to actually see the bigger picture of the secret organization and all of the different experiments they were running and the repercussions that resulted from it.