Priah Ferguson as Erica, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Maya Hawke as Robin in Stranger Things 4
The New Stranger Things 4 Poster Is Full Of Clues About The Final 2 Episodes

Let's speculate wildly.

by Ani Bundel

From Game of Thrones to Westworld, some shows just lend themselves to fan theories and speculation. Netflix’s Stranger Things falls solidly into that category. The series is well known for tantalizing fans with plot points to ponder — and not just in its episodes. Nearly every piece of promotional material leading up to a new batch of episodes dropping is riddled with, well, riddles for fans to work out and glean some intel about what’s to come. The Stranger Things 4, Vol. 2 poster is no different; it’s filled with hidden clues that may point to what’s going to happen next — although there are probably a few red herrings in there, too.

Warning: Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4, Vol. 1 follow. Stranger Things may have abruptly ended with two episodes still to go when Volume 1 arrived back on May 27, but the setup for the showdown was already in place: Vecna turned out to be Henry Creel, the son of Victor Creel. He’d gone into a coma after slaughtering his mother and sister and pinning the whole thing on his father. Then, Dr. Brenner took him in and turned him into MKUltra’s first test subject, Number One.

Whether Number One has been behind the treacherous antics of the Upside Down in Hawkins this whole time remains to be seen. What is certain is that One and Eleven are heading for a showdown. The poster for Volume 2 has several details that could be clues to the show’s conclusion.


The Rightside Up Kids & The Upside Down Kids


The first thing that is noticeable about the poster is that, like it was in the first half of Season 4, the cast is divided into groups. Half the characters are in the Rightside Up and the other half are in the Upside Down. But that’s a little odd. With the exception of Nancy, the four characters who are front and center down under were already rescued from the Upside Down.

Now, one could argue this was merely for separation’s sake. But it also hints at where the story is going. With Nancy under Vecna’s spell and still in the Upside Down, are Robin, Eddie, and Steve going to dive back in to rescue her? Or are all three still trapped there the same way Nancy is, even though they might not know it yet?


... vs The Upside Down Cast

The other set of characters pictured in the Upside Down, Team Hopper, aren’t in the Upside Down at all when Volume 1 ends — they’re in the USSR. Their placement in the Upside Down has fans guessing this is a hint of how the group will get home. Hopper wound up traveling halfway around the planet in the space of a few minutes via the Upside Down to get there in the first place. To get back to Hawkins, and quickly, Team Hopper may be venturing back into it.

But a few more questions remain: Why are they chilling with the Demogorgon? Are they friends now? And where is Enzo? Fans are pretty sure he’s a goner, but it seems a bit rude to cut him from the poster before he’s taken out on screen.


The Background Characters


The California contingent of Stranger Things hasn’t been that important this season (no shade). But still, fans can’t help but notice how small some of the characters are on the poster.

That may seem a silly thing to focus on, but Charlie Heaton, for example, was a significant character in the first three seasons. And now he’s smaller than Erica. It’s got fans wondering if some of these characters whose footprints have been reduced (Robin, Jonathan, Argyle, and Murray) will survive.


The Foreground Characters

Another theory suggests those foregrounds are the ones in trouble: Max, Lucas, Mike, Will, and Dustin in the Rightside Up, and Steve, Nancy, and Eddie in the Upside Down. This makes a little more sense. If the show is going to take out multiple characters before Season 4 is done, it needs to be the ones to whom the audience is attached. You know, to provide maximum devastation.

For example, Steve and Nancy are practically telegraphing their endgame possibilities. Dustin, Lucas, Will, and Mike are all characters Eleven cares about deeply. Erica stole viewers’ hearts when she reminded viewers you couldn’t spell America without her. As for Eddie, anyone who knows that one does not simply walk into Mordor but then does it anyway is the hero fans need. Any of these characters’ deaths would be a huge gut-punch, which is what it sounds like the creators have been teasing.


Steve’s Bike Light


For those looking for clues that the foregrounded characters are goners, the first detail to note is Steve’s bike. Unlike the other three in the poster, his is dark. Does that mean it’s lights out for Steve? And how does that jive with the Volume 1 poster, in which Eddie’s bike was the only one of the Upside Down crew *with* a working headlight?


Dustin’s Odd Attire

What is going on with Dustin’s outfit? Sure, the kid never takes his hat off, but the hoodie he’s wearing in the poster looks more like the sheet that was draped over E.T. than a typical sweatshirt. Why is there a shield in front of him and a spear beside him? Is that fur wrapped around his shoulders? Is he transferring to Vikings: Vahalla?

Is this proof Eleven’s fight against Vecna will also be the biggest, most deadly game of Dungeons and Dragons Eddie has ever led? There’s so much going on in that little corner of the poster.


Max’s Lack Of Headphones


The biggest question of all is focused on Max, front and center. Max’s possession by Vecna was the first key to unlocking the puzzle, and saving her via the opening track of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love was a central plot point. Every time fans have seen Max since that moment, she’s got her Walkman playing and her headphones strapped to her ears, constantly playing to the “Running Up That Hill” like her life depends on it. (To be fair, it kind of does.)

So, where are her headphones on this poster? Viewers are already concerned about Max’s safety. She may have found out how to keep Vecna at bay, but 1980s batteries aren’t like 21st-century ones... they run out at the most inopportune times.

Stranger Things Season 4, Vol. 2 arrives July 1, 2022.