Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4 part one.
If there’s one thing we love, it’s a good fan theory. After devouring all of Stranger Things Season 4, part one over the weekend, we were left with a ton of questions, like “what is Vecna‘s end goal, exactly?”, and “What happens to Nancy now?” and “Does Eleven have her full powers back?”
This season, Stranger Things‘ creators Matt and Ross Duffer have raised the stakes of the Upside Down like never before with Vecna, a towering, skeletal creature who has the added bonus of having a bunch of dark, gooey vines popping out of his back. He’s got big ol’ hands with claws best used for slashing faces, too. Love that for him.
Like the demogorgon, Vecna’s name comes from the immensely popular board game Dungeons and Dragons. Given that the D&D version of Vecna is one of the most powerful villains of the game, you know the Stranger Things character isn’t here to mess around.
While we won’t get answers to any of our questions for a little while — Volume 2 doesn’t drop on Netflix until July 1 — we can’t stop thinking about what might happen in the second part of Season 4, and in Season 5.
So, we dove into the fan theories. Here are five theories we found veeeeery interesting.
The Season 4 Finale Will See Them All “Fail Miserably”
Reddit user chaseinthyface theorises that our beloved gang are about to “fail miserably” in the final two episodes of Season 4, which will set them up with “lots of damage control to deal with in the final season”.
“The knowledge that the Upside Down is fixed in the past does not seem to be accidental to me,” they said. “I believe the final season of the show will deal with time travel and undoing mistakes to some degree and pay homage to Back to the Future. That’s my bet.”
Reddit user Lizcatherine agreed, and recalled that in the season’s premiere, Eleven called them all time travellers.
“Remember how in the first episode of Season 4 El says that we are all time travellers?” Liz Catherine wrote. “Because time moves fast/slow depending on our emotions. It was a random line that was seemingly insignificant so now that I think of it you’re probably right.”
In other thread, Reddit user Elite_VRTX also posed the idea of Season 4 ending with failure.
“What I’m saying is that they fail on closing the gates between the Upside Down and the real world,” they said.
Elite_VRTX went on to say that while they think Vecna will be killed in the Season 4 finale, “it has been referenced multiple times that the Mind Flayer is the big boss”, and that Vecna is acting as “his five-star general”.
“I predict that Season 4 will end in a bad note with the Mind Flayer finally arriving in the real dimension, which also means that season 5 will be the first season that immediately start with a crisis,” they wrote, adding: “[The confirmation that] Season 5 is the last season also reinforces this theory. If the Mind Flayer doesn’t find a way to arrive now, when will it happen?”
Will Could End Up a Victim of Vecna
“I’ve also seen fans discussing how Lonnie’s actor (Ross Partridge) was seen at a table read, meaning that he could potentially reappear to taunt Will. Also, Finn Wolfhard has discussed how Mike “gets kicked into gear when someone that he loves is in danger”. Noah has apparently also said that Will’s saddest scene yet is in Season 4, although I couldn’t find a source for this.
“If these clues add up and Will is going to be a victim of Vecna, do you think he could die? I know that he hasn’t had the largest role since Season 2, but it feels wrong to kill him off — as I’ve seen others comment, it would fit into the harmful “bury your gays” trope, and also be counterintuitive when Season 1 was all about protecting him. Perhaps this could instead be a long-overdue emotional moment for Will to confront his demons? He’s in need of some character development and time at the forefront of the story. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about this!”
Reddit user SnooOnions3052 felt that maybe Vecna would instead try “to make an offer to Will that parallels his one to El when he tried to get her to go with him after the massacre” that would play on his fears and remind him “that his friends haven’t prioritised him” recently.
Meanwhile, with music playing such an integral role in Season 4 part one, Reddit users Glittergirl2424 and Nicky2222 both felt that “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” by The Clash will play a role in determining Will’s fate.
“You know in Season 1 when Will was in the Upside Down and was singing a song and El and Mike heard it?” wrote Glittergirl2424. “I think he was singing the song to keep himself alive. I feel like Vecna will take over Will but Mike will save him by singing his favourite song and maybe he will realise how important Will is to him.”
Nicky2222 echoed the sentiment, writing: “They will play the song from Season 1 that Will was singing in the Upside Down… Much like how they put the headphones on Max to play the Kate Bush song. I can’t see Will being a Vecna victim but I think like Max he’ll survive. Maybe that will end up being Will’s confession to Mike.”
There Will Be a New Character Named Ruth
Reddit user junewick noted that the name Ruth keeps popping up in Season 4, which likely indicates some significance.
“What’s the significance of Ruth?” they wrote. “RUTH or Running Up the Hill is the song that plays when El runs from bullies and the song that Max used to escape.”
They continued: “Ruth, Nevada is where Project Lina takes place. Ruth is the fake name Nancy chooses when she goes to see Creel and it’s highlighted by Steve saying, ‘Ruth?’ And they share a knowing glance.”
“Why? What does it mean and why does it keep getting repeated?” they finished.
“Aaah I was going to make a post about this!” replied Reddit user LilyMarie90. “I’m glad someone else noticed too! It can’t possibly have been a full coincidence, maybe the fact that it’s an acronym for Running Up That Hill was; but not Ruth/Nevada and Ruth the psychology student.”
LilyMarie90 went on to point out that “TV shows and movies never use the same name for different things unless there’s a point to it”, adding: “If there wasn’t a connection or it wasn’t significant, someone in the writer’s room would have said ‘no we can’t use Ruth, NV, we’re already using the name Ruth for when Nancy and Robin are visiting the mental hospital’.
“I’m convinced it has some meaning that it pops up even twice, let alone three times (via the Kate Bush song as RUTH #3).”
Ms. Kelly Is Working with Vecna
By now, we’ve all seen the way Vecna preys on those who have insecurities and who are dealing with traumatic memories. He’s all about mind games, and takes pleasure in taunting his victims before going in for the kill.
This theory is basically that Ms. Kelly, in her position as the school’s guidance counsellor, is working with Vecna. Over the course of Season 4, we learned that Ms. Kelly was counselling both Chrissy and Fred, who both met their fate at Vecna’s hand.
Eagle-eyed TikTok user ladybug5489 also spotted a potential Easter egg in Ms. Kelly’s ensemble, pointing out that she’s wearing a key-shaped necklace with a clock on it.
Clocks are a big deal for Vecna—Chrissy and Fred both had visions of an ultra creepy grandfather clock chiming before their deaths. Max had the same vision, but managed to escape her fate with a little help from Kate Bush. Also noteworthy is that in Max’s first session with Ms. Kelly, you can hear a clock ticking throughout the scene, and in their second session, the camera even stops to hover on the clock.
It seems clear that there’s some type of connection there, but what’s less clear is the how and why of it all. Is Vecna shape-shifting into Ms. Kelly? Is he using mind control to get information from her? Or, is this all a red herring and we don’t need to concern ourselves with it? Who can say?!
Eddie Munson Might be 010
A lot of this theory rests on the D&D Dungeonmaster revealing that he had a buzz cut when he was a child — just like all the other kids at the Hawkins Laboratory.
While we don’t know a ton about Eddie, fans are speculating that the reason we got to spend so much time with him this season (we’re not complaining!) is because he’s connected to the greater story arc of One and Eleven.
stranger things theory (s4 spoiler): when Eddie was younger he has a buzz cut like eleven so what if Eddie was one of the kids in the lab because why else would the duffer brothers make him such a main character
— kt • she/her 🦩 (@sweetestariiana) June 1, 2022
We don’t see a clip 010 died when 001 brutally attack the lab, the fact that he is in the other room with ‘papa’ and Eddie also said “my hair was buzzed” 😭 and makes this theory more reasonable that Eddie is 010 #StrangerThings pic.twitter.com/rrp2GLUFPi
— agusartaaa (@agusartaaa1) June 1, 2022
— ash 🥤 (@comicalvillain) May 28, 2022
Want more Stranger Things content? Check out these stories:
- The ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Soundtrack Is Everything You Want and More
- Stranger Things Season 4: Everything You Need to Know About Vecna