Stranger Things season 4: a recap of cliffhangers and questions from season 3, from what happened to Hopper to Eleven’s superpower struggles
- Stranger Things returns on May 27, nearly three years after the third season of the science fiction horror drama aired in June 2019
- To jog your memory before the new season of the highly anticipated Netflix series drops, here are the biggest cliffhangers and questions from season three
At long last, Stranger Things fans are about to return to Hawkins in the US state of Indiana and, hopefully, get answers to some long-awaited questions.
Why is Hopper in Russia? Did Eleven really lose her powers? And where exactly did the show leave off again?
It’s been almost three years since season three debuted on Netflix – plenty of time for even the most diehard fans to forget some important details. The new season, arriving May 27, picks up six months after season three, with the friends separated for the first time and “navigating the complexities of high school”. Seven episodes will be released, with two more to drop on July 1.
To jog your memory before the new season drops, here are the biggest cliffhangers and questions from season three.
What the heck happened to Hopper?
During the season three finale, police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) went undercover as Russian officers to infiltrate a secret Soviet base underneath the Starcourt Mall.
Hopper and Beyers destroyed the laser the Soviets were using to keep open a portal to the Upside Down, thus ending the Mind Flayer monster the kids were battling upstairs.
But it came at a cost: Joyce hit the switch, causing the laser to explode with Hopper standing right beside it. She ran to the other side of the glass after the explosion, but Hopper was nowhere to be found – now he’s presumed dead by Joyce and the kids. A newspaper headline read: “Hero chief dies in fire.”
Or did he?
A post-credit scene featuring Russian guards had fans abuzz. The guards stopped at a closed cell, with one of the guards saying “No, not the American” before they chose a different prisoner to feed to a Demogorgon. Was Hopper “the American”?
The first teaser trailer for season four seemed to prove this.
The 50-second clip, released in February 2020 and titled “From Russia with love …”, zoomed in on a snowy work camp filled with barking dogs and armed guards. One of the workers was none other than Hopper.
“He is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human … and other,” the show’s producers and brothers Matt and Ross Duffer said of Hopper at the time. “Meanwhile, back in the States, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything.”
Eleven and the Byers bid farewell to Hawkins
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), whom Hopper adopted and treated like a daughter, doesn’t know he’s alive.
The season three finale ended with her tearfully reading a letter Hopper had written for her but never had the courage to give to her. After finishing it, she bid goodbye to her friends before getting in a car and driving off with the Byers family.
Where were they off to? A teaser trailer released in November 2021, titled “Welcome to California”, shows Eleven navigating a new school.
She has another problem to deal with outside making new friends – the loss of her powers after the battle with the Mind Flayer.
After Eleven unsuccessfully tried to grab something with her telekinesis while packing, her friend-turned-romantic-interest Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) assured her the loss is only temporary – but are her superpowers gone for good?
Season four is the ‘beginning of the end’
In a letter to fans on February 17, the Duffer brothers said the fourth season will mark “the beginning of the end” of the beloved series.
“Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things,” they wrote. “It proved too large to tell in four [seasons] – but, as you’ll soon see for yourselves – we are now hurtling toward our finale. Season four will be the penultimate season; season five will be the last.”
But don’t worry, Stranger Things fans. The Duffer brothers have said there are “still many more exciting stories” to come before the show ends, including new mysteries, adventures and characters.