Stranger Things has firmly established that it’s willing (and eager) to kill characters that viewers have connected with, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Stranger Things season 4 killed off a major character–like fan-favorite Steve Harrington. Given the fact that Stranger Things season 4 is the longest, largest-scale, and highest-stakes season yet, it seems especially likely that a core cast member’s death will happen. When it comes to the question of who, several reasons make Steve a strong candidate.
Stranger Things season 1 saw the death of minor characters like Barb (which prompted the “Justice for Barb” discussion on social media) and the apparent demise of Dr. Brenner. Stranger Things season 2 decided that Bob Newby wasn’t going to make it, and season 3 said goodbye to Billy and surprised viewers with Jim Hopper’s fake death. Stranger Things knows how to create a connection between viewers and the characters they are planning to get rid of.
With Stranger Things season 4 arriving soon (as a two-parter landing on May 27 and July 1 respectively), it seems less a question of whether a main character will die and more a question of who it will be. Dr. Owens’ warnings about a coming war, along with the devastation evident in Stranger Things season 4’s footage, strongly suggest that casualties are possible. Since the series already has a knack for killing lovable side characters, Stranger Things season 4 could easily take things a bit further and kill off a fan favorite: Steve Harrington. If done well, this would actually work wonders for both the series and character.
Stranger Things Season 4 Needs To Shake Up The Status Quo
Stranger Things has brought mystery, action, and a lot of emotion, but its formula has been pretty much constant: the Upside Down conjures an unknown threat to terrorize Hawkins, and Eleven is the one to save them, all while the bad guys from a laboratory or hospital try to get in the way. The characters haven’t changed much either, and Stranger Things season 3 completely wasted the opportunity to expand on them and their relationships, not only between friends and romantic partners, but with their families as well. This has worked fine for three seasons, but it can become tiresome if its repeated in Stranger Things season 4.
Especially with the epic scope it promises, Stranger Things season 4 needs to get more creative and not be afraid to take risks. The story is already on the right path by taking Eleven’s powers away but will need more significant obstacles and tragedies to increase the stakes. It’s unlikely that Stranger Things season 4 will stop killing off characters, as this is what prompts the biggest audience reactions. However, a major shake-up could be achieved by killing Steve – a main character who has been part of the ride since the beginning and who would be the biggest loss to the series so far.
Stranger Things Hasn’t Had A MAJOR Death Yet
Killing Steve would be a chance for Stranger Things season 4 to finally terminate a main character. As much attention as Barb managed to get from social media users with the unforgettable #JusticeForBarb, she can’t be considered a “major death” as she wasn’t a main character in Stranger Things season 1. The Duffer Brothers did some fan service by addressing her death at the beginning of Stranger Things season 2, but they pretty much dropped the issue after that. Bob “superhero” Newby’s death was a truly sad loss. He was not only helping Joyce, Will, Hopper, and Mike escape from the demodogs at the hospital, but he was also a big support for Joyce and had a pretty brutal death right in front of her. Still, Bob wasn’t a main character, and while Billy appeared in two seasons and sacrificed himself to save the rest in Stranger Things season 3, he doesn’t count as a “major death” either.
Even Dr. Brenner and Hopper, two Stranger Things characters that are considered mains, have essentially had their deaths rescinded ahead of Stranger Things season 4. Teasers, trailers, and episode title leaks all point towards some type of unknown resurrection for Brenner, while Hopper’s return is official. While all of Stranger Things‘s kill-offs (permanent and otherwise) have had an impact on viewers, none of them can be considered major deaths. With Stranger Things season 4 being nearly the last one, it’s the perfect time to give the series a genuine shake-up. If Stranger Things truly wants to bring change to its universe and shock its audience, killing off Steve Harrington is the best option – and it would work even better continuing on into Stranger Things season 5.
Dying Is The Perfect End To Steve’s Arc
Steve Harrington began as the stereotypical arrogant jock, who went as far as to break Jonathan’s camera because Nancy was spending too much time with him. Steve wasn’t anyone’s favorite during half of Stranger Things season 1, but the character’s development began a few episodes later, and Steve proved that there was much more to him than just an antagonist with great hair. Stranger Things season 2 continued his journey and turned him into an ally, with Steve teaming up with Dustin to find Dart and later with the rest to save Will from the Mind Flayer and stop it from spreading. Steve became a figure of authority for the kids and did his best to keep them safe, even getting into a fight with Billy to protect Max and the rest.
Steve was one of few characters that weren’t static in Stranger Things season 3, and he bonded with his Scoops Ahoy! coworker, Robin, while also strengthening his relationship with Dustin. Surprisingly, Steve is the character with the best arc in the series, and the only one that has been in constant development – the Steve viewers met in the first episodes of Stranger Things season 1 is definitely not the same one that was presented in season 3. He also has a bond with most of the other characters and has proven to be quite brave if he has to protect others.
Having Steve die to save Dustin, Robin, Nancy, or someone else (or everyone, as Billy did) would be an ideal way to bring his arc to an end – starting as an arrogant antagonist, dying as a hero. Steve has become a fan favorite, so the writers don’t have to worry about his death not having the impact they want/need. Given the aforementioned bond he has with most characters, Steve’s death would also be a big shock within Stranger Things, prompting changes in the characters and their dynamics.
What Will Steve Be Doing In Stranger Things Season 4?
The story of Stranger Things season 4 is split between multiple locations, with Eleven and the Byers in California, Hopper trapped in Siberia, and Steve still in Hawkins with the gang. Stranger Things season 4 footage shows him at the Creel House, the cemetery, and other dangerous-looking locations. All of these details place Steve (along with much of the cast) in “the eye of the storm,” as Dr. Owens’s ominous voiceover intones, fighting the war with the Upside Down that Stranger Things season 4 centers around. If Steve is going to be mystery-solving and Demogorgon-battling along with the rest of the gang, as seems strongly implied, the chances of him meeting his end are significant.
Will Steve Die In Season 4 Of Stranger Things?
There’s been no actual confirmation or even strong hinting at Steve Harrington’s death in Stranger Things season 4, but that doesn’t rule it out. The cast has confirmed that Stranger Things season 4 will be a darker season, and killing off the show’s iconic reluctant babysitter would be a logical conclusion to Steve’s character arc from Stranger Things seasons 1-3. There’s even a season 4 scene that sees exes Steve and Nancy exchange the line “see you on the other side,” which could easily be imagined as a final goodbye before one of them bites the dust. Regardless of whether Stranger Things season 4 does kill off Steve Harrington, the character is sure to play a significant role due to his popularity.
Next: Will Billy Hargrove Return In Stranger Things Season 4?
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