Fans have waited three years for the return of Stranger Things.
The first part of season 4 of the hit Netflix Original was released on Friday, with seven episodes leading to a big reveal, leaving fans with questions about the final two, which will be out on July 1.
While the five-week wait won’t be easy, there’s plenty to mull about and theorise over. For those who haven’t watched the latest season, beware as there are major spoilers ahead.
‘Stranger Things’: season 4, volume 1 ending explained
One of the biggest reveals concerns Vecna, the main villain of this season. While in the beginning it seemed as though he was just another bad guy from the alternate universe of the Upside Down, we learn there is more to him in episode 7, The Massacre at Hawkins Lab.
After Eleven loses her powers at the end of season 3, we wondered if and how she would get them back. In season 4, she is reunited with Dr Owens (Paul Reiser) and comes face-to-face again with Dr Brenner (Matthew Modine).
It turns out, they believe if Eleven can relive her memories, including the painful ones, then that might be enough to trigger her powers.
She climbs into a sensory deprivation tank and we’re given a closer look at her life while growing up in Hawkins Lab through flashbacks.
She relives memories of befriending an orderly called Peter Ballard (Jamie Campbell Bower), who seems to be watching out for her, but we later learn he is manipulating her, even persuading her to remove a chip from his neck.
Although it was believed that Eleven killed all the others in Hawkins Lab, it was Peter, who is revealed to be the mythical 001.
Not only that, as he battles it out with Eleven after she refuses to join him, we also learn that he is Henry Creel, son of Victor Creel.
This is important because another storyline of season 4 focuses on the Creel house. As teenagers around Hawkins in 1986 are killed off, their deaths follow a pattern of murders that occurred in the Creel household in the 1950s.
Victor is blamed for the murder of his wife and daughter, while his son slips into a coma and dies a week later. We later discover that Henry didn’t die, but was taken by Dr Brenner to study his powers.
As if that wasn’t enough of a twist, as Eleven remembers her battle with Henry, she regains her powers through the emotionally-charged memory.
We see that as Henry is about to kill Eleven, she overpowers him, sending him to the Upside Down. As she does, we see him transformed into the terrifying Vecna. Yep — Vecna, 001 and Henry Creel are the same person.
Of course, that’s not all. Other cliffhangers include Joyce and Murray going to Russia to rescue Hopper and getting trapped. Meanwhile, Nancy gets caught in Vecna’s mind trance, which brings her back to the pool where her best friend Barb died in season 1.
So with that recap, here’s a look at three predictions we have for season 4, volume 2:
A major character will die. While this has fans fearing the worst, and there was a close call with Max’s character in episode 4, many seem to think it will be one of the main older teenagers: Steve, Nancy or Jonathan. However, there’s also some speculation it could be Hopper after he offers up a speech saying that “maybe I can still help El if it's the last thing I do”, with some believing this is fateful.
Eddie Munson will redeem himself. The leader of the Hellfire Club, a Dungeons and Dragons society, is introduced in the first episode of the new season. While he's loud, charming and brash, we also see how he reacts in more frightening situations. “I see danger and I just turn heel and run. Or at least that's what I've learnt about myself this week,” he says. We're willing to bet the final two episodes will see him step up when he needs to.
Vecna won't be defeated … yet. While it would be very handy for him to easily be beaten by Eleven and the gang in the final two episodes, he may be the one who has the upper hand. Having already once lost to Eleven at Hawkins Lab and with Eleven relearning her powers as he grows stronger, we could see that Vecna may not be such an easy foe to vanquished the second time around.