The Best Theories About Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5

Things aren't looking good for many characters.

Vecna stares menacingly at the camera

Earlier this year, Stranger Things debuted its fourth and arguably biggest season yet on Netflix. After climbing to the top of Netflix’s streaming charts, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer left themselves a lot to live up to with the upcoming final season of the science-fiction horror series. The Duffer Brothers have continued to gain more momentum, popularity and quality with each passing season of Stranger Things. The only thing that worries fans with each season of the show is whether or not its cast members will look too old after production breaks. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that too much with the wonders of the makeup and prosthetics teams in modern television.

During the latest season of Stranger Things, fans were given more information about the Upside Down as well as the introduction of the terrifying Vecna, as the writers behind the series set up an overwhelmingly large invasion of Hawkins. A penultimate season that certainly leaves fans clamoring for more, with discourse running wild over the internet. Now that we’re far enough from the season, let’s take a step back and go over six Stranger Things season five theories that we think really stand out above the rest. 

1. Eddie Munson will return

Eddie smiling at the camera

While it’s not uncommon for modern shows to introduce a new “Red Shirt” in order to raise the stakes in a later event, the fan attachment to Eddie Munson is too strong for the character to be dismissed as quickly as Barbara “Barb” Holland. There were plenty of reasons behind the popularity of season four, but one of its best scenes was the Dungeons and Dragons game in its very first episode. During a Hellfire Club session, Eddie Munson and more key characters take on Lord Vecna and his army of cultists.

A popular theory claims that Eddie could make his return as a character who’s similar to the Dungeons and Dragons vampire Kas the Bloody-Handed, who kills Vecna in the tabletop role-playing game. It’s hard to dismiss this as a possible route for Eddie’s return and it certainly would be an exciting way to bring back the fan-favorite Stranger Things character.

Eleven will destroy the Upside Down

This has been a point that many people have been calling for since the first season and a final character moment that makes sense with Eleven’s connection to the Upside Down. This is likely a given going into the final season, but how it is accomplished leaves fans with a rather large question: will she have to sacrifice herself to do so? Season five may see an end to El’s life and I’m not sure the fans are ready to embrace that ending with open arms. 

A time jump to the 90s

Eleven and Max shopping for clothes

Stranger Things has spent so much time in the ’80s, celebrating the fashion and media of the time, but this last season was spent just over halfway through the decade. With the ’90s come new fashion trends, Hollywood classics and, depending on how far you go into the decade, you get plenty of new Dungeons and Dragons content, including the Player’s Option series that would be huge for a group as dedicated as the Hellfire Club. While it likely won’t jump far enough ahead for the D&D books, a time jump could be a big breath of fresh air to finish out the season in a fun and new way. This likely wouldn’t occur early in the season but perhaps as an epilogue as we see the characters after the events of the show.

Max becoming a puppet like her brother

Max floating in the air with her eyes glazed over

With Max Mayfield unable to properly grieve the loss of her brother Billy, many are wondering if she’ll suffer the same fate as him. A monster offering a character who’s suffering the promise of a returning, dead relative? Not unheard of. Here it makes more sense given we still need a way to end the arc between Lucas Sinclair and Max properly. The choice between Lucas and Billy by Max will be an unfair choice to put on a teenager but may be the definitive ending that the show is leading towards.

Will Byers succumbs to Vecna

Will crying in the car with Mike behind him

Will’s connection with the Upside Down is undeniable and has only grown with Vecna’s introduction. The current theory by many is that Will succumbs to Vecna’s control, leading to a emotionally charged duel between the younger Byers sibling and his friends. Unlike the potential death of Eleven discussed earlier, this could kely end in a happier way, with his best friend Mike Wheeler being the one to save him. There are only so many character deaths the fans will be ready to deal with and I’d be surprised if the writers are willing to kill Will after he’s spent so much time in the shadow of the rest of the main characters. The final season will likely shine a bright spotlight on Will and hopefully give him the happy ending the fans have been craving for since his misfortune in the first season. 

The return of all who have passed for a final battle

Barb and Nancy in front of the lockers from season 1

A growing theory among the fanbase is the return of Max Mayfield as well as othe Vecna victims, with the idea being that they’re trapped in the Upside Down, waiting to be freed. This theory could allow the return of the gone-too-soon Chrissy, Patrick and Fred. If the theory ends up becoming a reality, it could lead to a more hopeful ending than the show’s current path, with Will and Eleven’s endings being in hot contention right now.

In a show that has killed so many named characters, it’s hard not to see them coming back in some way to help wrap things up. While their physical bodies may be gone, their spiritual forms may still exist in the Upside Down, leading to finale where the now freed spirits finish off Vecna instead of El and her crew. A show going on for this long has so much to pull from and will require a larger-than life-finale in order to appease long time fans. This is one of many ways the Stranger Things writers can achieve this, but this route will maybe finally give the fans justice for Barb!

The biggest takeaway from this season of Stranger Things should really just be how big of a finale we’ve watched the Duffer Brothers build up to over the last few years. While it’s easy to be cynical about series finales, with how many have ended poorly, it’s better to stay positive and look forward to what the Stranger Things creators have in store for us. Everything has been built up so wonderfully that no matter how thisends, the fans will be sure to remember this show for years to come. If the final season is even half as good as the fans have built it up to be, we’re sure to have quite the television event ahead of us.