WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 4, volume 1.
Stranger Thingsseason 4 may be hinting at a major character death, either Steve Harrington or Nancy Wheeler, but past seasons tell us that this is unlikely. Likable Stranger Things newcomer Eddie Munson may not be so lucky, however, based on these same unwritten rules. The first three seasons have their fair share of heartbreaking deaths, and based on this formula, it looks like the leader of the Hellfire Club could be next.
Eddie Munson is introduced in Stranger Things season 4, volume 1 as the leader of the Hellfire Club, a Dungeons & Dragons club attended by Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair. As of the end of volume 1, Eddie is on the run after the people of Hawkins blame him for Chrissy Cunningham's death, unaware that the Upside Down's Vecna is truly to blame. The townsfolk are quickly turning into an angry mob, sick of the unexplained horrors Hawkins has endured as a result of the experiments on the Upside Down by the secret Hawkins Lab, led by Dr. Martin Brenner. The deaths of Barbara "Barb" Holland and Bob Newby are just two instances blamed on the "Hawkins curse," though the Mind Flayer's season 3 assault on the Starcourt Mall accounts for the bulk of the town's deaths. Unbeknownst to the town's residents, the Russian scientist Dr. Alexei was also killed at this time by the Russian hitman Grigori.
The pattern of deaths in Stranger Things so far seems to hint that Eddie is doomed, given that likable characters who last one season seem to be the norm at this point. Barb, Bob, and Alexei signify the most heartbreaking deaths of seasons 1, 2, and 3, respectively, as their deaths were particularly devastating for Nancy Wheeler, Joyce Byers, and Murray Bauman, respectively. If Stranger Things follows the same patterns as its previous seasons, the strong bonds developed between Eddie and Mike, Dustin, Nancy, Lucas, and Steve may signal that he is sadly next to be killed by Vecna's forces.
By the same logic of this unwritten role, Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler are probably safe this season. Both characters have become popular with viewers, with Steve's relationship with Dustin and transformation from villain to babysitter hailed as one of season 2's greatest strengths. It thus stands to reason that even though Steve is injured in the Upside Down and Nancy is Vecna's next target, both characters will likely survive season 4 by virtue of their "main character plot armor." This is made even more apparent by season 3's Jim Hopper fake-out death, an emotional end to the season that was immediately undercut by strongly suggesting that David Harbour's character was still alive.
However, the stakes are higher than ever in Stranger Things season 4, which means all prior rules could be off the table. Killing Steve or Nancy would be a great way to show that Vecna and the forces of the Upside Down are a serious threat ahead of season 5's climactic duel between Eleven and the Mind Flayer. Additionally, Stranger Things has killed off one main character that lasted more than one season, as the Spider Monster killed Billy Hargrove at the end of season 3 in front of his sister, Max Mayfield. Though Stranger Things' previous rules would hint that Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler are safe and Eddie Munson is not, the Duffer Brothers may well subvert expectations to raise the stakes ahead of the final season.
Stranger Things season 4, volume 2 releases on Netflix on July 1.
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