Spoiler alert: This article contains major spoilers for the fourth season of Stranger Things.
Season four of Stranger Things came to an exciting conclusion as Vecna’s plans for Eleven and Hawkins begin to take form in the real world. The two-part season was full of exhilarating and shocking moments, but it only set the stage for what will be the final fight in season five.
The Duffer Bros said they will begin writing for the final season soon, which would set it up for release in summer 2024. The wait might be long and more difficult than ever given that the season left fans even more invested, but it does give time to theorize and speculate about the final season, and to examine which characters should be featured more.
Although he’s been a central figure throughout the series — his abduction into the Upside Down catalyzing the first season’s events — Will was relegated to secondary status for the fourth season. It could seem this was intentional in a way to show the emotional turmoil he is going through, but that no one besides his brother is noticing.
Many fans are invested in his story and transformation over the past several seasons, so they had some strong reactions to his heartbreaking moments in the finale. Given the trajectory for season five, Will needs to return to true main status, and that does seem likely. He still has a connection with Vecna and the Mind Flayer, so he could become a target for them. If so, they could whittle away at Eleven’s strength and resilience.
Like his brother, Jonathan was part of the C-plot, and he didn’t come into the spotlight until the finale when he spoke with Will. The season focused instead on an unresolved connection between Nancy and Steve. However, that only sets the stage for an even more active season for Jonathan as he can finally engage in this relationship.
Nancy and Jonathan continue to keep secrets from each other, so it remains to be seen if Nancy and Steve officially pair up if Nancy will be single. Regardless, Jonathan would still have a powerful story to play in helping his struggling brother. Whatever happens, he deserves more attention in season five, but given the stakes, that could mean he doesn’t make it out alive.
While Joyce and Hopper have headlined the adult storylines, with Murray joining along for the ride, Karen Wheeler is still an intriguing character. She did get some more focus during season three as she contemplated an affair with Billy Hargrove, but she couldn’t go through it. Though her moments have often been brief, Cara Buono’s shone.
She’s never been directly in the action, but that will have to change in season five. Nancy did see a vision of her family dying from Vecna’s plans. Therefore, she could be targeted by them. No one could ever doubt she would sacrifice herself to protect any one of her children, but here’s hoping she doesn’t have to do that.
One of the best additions to the original Stranger Things cast, Erica Sinclair returned with all her sarcastic flair. She’s become more and more ingratiated in the main group. She’s been chased by the gigantic spider monster, and now she joined her brother and Max at the Creel house.
Erica is still young, but her bravery and resourcefulness should never be in doubt. This season also showcased her and Lucas connecting more, perhaps evolving past the fighting siblings phase, and that looks like it will continue into the next season. She’s become like a shoulder to cry on for him. Fans would be delighted to see her involved more, as long as she’s safe, which no one is anymore.
It is a trend for Stranger Things to introduce a new character who will meet their end later in the season. That was the case for Eddie Munson this season, joining the likes of Bob Newby and Alexei as one of the most tragic deaths. That did not apply to Argyle, Jonathan’s new and eccentric friend. Among a crowded ensemble cast, he was a great addition.
He adds levity to nearly every scene he’s in, especially in the finale. This was important as it allowed characters like Will or Mike to serve as more dramatic, making their moments land even harder. Although he lives in California, Argyle would be missed if he weren’t to feature in season five, and it already looks like it will need his special touch.
Just as Steve’s story continued to focus on his tumultuous and disastrous love life, his best friend, Robin also got to experience that. Following her introduction in the previous season, she became a fan favorite, which isn’t easy to do among such a stellar cast of characters. Robin has developed a crush on her bandmate Vickie and fans are invested in seeing them get together.
One of the most heartbreaking moments in volume two was when Robin learned that Vickie had a boyfriend. However, in the season’s final moments, Vickie returns, saying they broke up and expressing apparent interest in Robin. She could very well join Robin as part of the main team, but fans wouldn’t want to see her put in danger so they don’t have to see Robin in more pain.
Another character who was introduced and made it through to the end of the fourth season is someone Game of Thrones fans are familiar with. Tom Wlaschicha, who played Jaqen H’ghar, joined Stranger Things as Enzo, a secret Russian ally to Hopper, Joyce, and Murray. The season ends with him convincing Yuri to help them escape so the Americans can return home.
He also got a good look at some of the forces of the Upside Down. Perhaps with hell breaking loose in the real world, he will find a way to aid his new friends in the upcoming war. Though it could be unlikely to reincorporate the Russians since the finals season looks to be solely taking place in Hawkins.
Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan
Not all villains are coming from the Upside Down, or trying to get into it. That’s what makes Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan such a great antagonist. He blames Eleven for the deaths happening in Hawkins and begins to hunt her down, executing almost anyone who gets in his way. Even worse, he now has Dr. Owens in his custody.
His involvement in the final season could go two different ways. Seeing that Hawkins, and therefore America, is in danger, he and the army could aid the town in stemming back this evil. Though they’d likely just be easy to beat for Vecna and his forces. It’s more likely he’ll continue as an antagonist and will come to Hawkins to end Eleven.
The kid’s middle school science teacher didn’t feature in season four now that they’ve moved on to high school, but he could and should still come back for the final season. Mr. Clarke was a steady figure in the first few seasons, helping in establishing an understanding of what the Upside Down could be. Furthermore, it would just be nice to see how his story resolves.
It does seem likely that the remaining residents of Hawkins would try something to push back the encroaching hellscape. That’s how he could be involved, or he could take a larger role and join up with the adults and parents. Regardless, it would be a shame to not see Mr. Clarke return for the fifth season.
Calvin Powell & Phil Callahan
Since Hopper was presumed dead, he was replaced by Calvin Powell as Hawkin’s chief of police. It’s anyone’s guess if Hopper will return he job, or focus solely on the upcoming fight. However, Powell and his colleague Callahan should be incorporated more in the final season – though that could end up dooming them.
They are a funny duo, so along with the likes of Argyle and Murray, they can help lighten up such a serious story. It does seem likely that they’d have a role to play in the beginning of the season, but hopefully they won’t be abandoned and can feature all throughout, or at least until one or both likely meets their end.
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