WARNING: Spoilers for Stranger Things 4, Volume 1 ahead!
One week has officially passed since the release of Stranger Thing 4’s first volume of episodes, and fans across the world have been getting caught up with the latest installment of the franchise. With that, discussions have begun to circulate on what may transpire in the second volume releasing on July 1. One major topic has been the potential fates of the many characters as they traverse into the intense climaxes of the season. Stranger Things has especially been known to be a show with a low body count of main characters, with Billy Hargrove and Bob Newby essentially being the only two to have definitive deaths amongst the principal cast. However, this season’s ensemble has grown to such a large extent that one would have to think some have to die simply for the sake of being able to manage all the characters heading into the final season. In this article we will take a look into the likelihood of survival for all main characters currently in Stranger Things 4.
Characters with 0% Likelihood to Die: Joyce, Eleven, Dustin, Lucas, Robin, Erica
We will start by quickly going through all of the characters that, for all intents and purposes, will be penciled in to be part of Season 5 of Stranger Things. Joyce Byers still has a story to be told as she is the mother of both Will and Jonathan; there needs to be an explanation as to why she decided to essentially abandon them to rescue Hopper from Russia. It’s also fitting for the show’s original “main” lead character played by Winona Ryder to be part of the show’s endgame. As well, Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven has become too much of a lynchpin for the show to be killed off before its end. As for Dustin and Lucas, the characters are fan favorites and have fertile story opportunities to have an untimely end in the immediate future. And the same can be said as Season 3 standouts Robin and Erica — the latter especially would be too traumatizing of a killing for a young middle-school girl.
Jim Hopper: Likelihood to be Killed – 10%
The individual character being covered will be David Harbour’s Jim Hopper, the former Hawkins Police Chief being held captive in Russia after being presumed dead. Him being the main fake-out death of Season 3 makes him a safe bet to outright survive past the remaining Season 4 episodes. As well, there still has to be the emotional reunion between him and his surrogate daughter, Eleven, at some point in the show’s duration. If he is killed in these last two episodes, it will make the entire C-plot of this season for relative naught.
Will Byers: Likelihood to be Killed – 20%
As the character who has been the core of the show in the first two seasons, Will Byers carries a large amount of internal trauma and grief. That is something that would indeed make him an ideal target for Vecna, and him lacking the requisite information to survive his wrath could make him a prime target. Though he is especially low in percentage as it would be in very poor taste to just instantly kill off a character who is very likely about to come out as gay at the end of the season.
Mike Wheeler: Likelihood to be Killed – 30%
After having been the pure protagonist of the first season, Mike Wheeler’s character has struggled to really find footing in the writing of the show since then. He has essentially become a caricature of a doofy 80s young teen that struggles to connect with his girlfriend and friends. In my opinion, Mike should be killed off this season as it would be the largest twist the show has seen by killing a true main protagonist. As well, his death would hold large ramifications to the relationships amongst the remainder of more interesting lead characters (no shade is intended towards Finn Wolfhard, who is indeed a really strong actor). However, that would probably be too much of a risk for this show to take.
Max Mayfield: Likelihood to be Killed – 30%
One may be curious as to why Max is not in the 0% group after the arc seen in the fourth episode of this season, aka the high-water mark of the show since the first season (and maybe the outright best episode in the entire Stranger Things series). However, the eulogizing letters Max wrote to all her friends remain a smoking gun that has yet to fully go off. The likelihood that she dies in Season 4 is pretty low and this could be the fate she unfortunately meets in the final season, but as long as those letters remain unread by the group, audiences should be on high death alert for young Max Mayfield.
Nancy Wheeler: Likelihood to be Killed – 40%
Following the completion of Stranger Thing 4’s first volume of episodes, my major takeaway is that one of the Nancy/Jonathan/Steve love-triangle has to die by the end of this season. A death would provide dramatic stakes to this dynamic, and could actually just outright end any romance subplot due to the trauma. I’d argue that Nancy is the least likely of this trio to die. Especially as she has become the key to understanding the history of Vecna, something that will be critical towards the end of this season and potentially for the show’s end times.
Eddie Munson: Likelihood to be Killed – 50%
Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson has become a massive standout as a new character this season. Very quickly, he has captured the hearts of audiences as the outsider is dealing with being the prime suspect in the string of murders happening across Hawkins. While one would think he’d need to survive to prove his innocence against Vecna, it would be much in line with how Stranger Things operates for the show to develop a popular new character and subsequently kill him off by season’s end. As well, I struggle to see the world where both of Dustin’s surrogate older brothers live to see the final season.
Vecna: Likelihood to be Killed – 50%
Stranger Things has finally found itself a central antagonist from the Upside Down that maintains captivating pathos and can stand on its own as a massive threat in the show. Though with the show seldom leaning towards overtly dark season endings, I’d argue there’s a 50/50 chance the story of Vecna is wrapped up in the next two episodes of the show. Then again, if I had my druthers about me, Vecna would come out relatively victorious this season and create an Empire Strikes Back type scenario for the protagonist ensemble heading into the true final act of the show.
Jonathan Byers: Likelihood to be Killed – 70%
Amongst the love triangle mentioned earlier in this article, I’m of the belief that Jonathan should be the character that dies. While being a compelling character within the first season of the show, there hasn’t been much for the character to do beyond being a romantic partner to Nancy. Separating him entirely from Hawkins has made this concept even more clear. His death would certainly be very emotional, but could also keep more characters around that the Duffer Brothers have active plans for. Also, I think there is a very compelling story with Joyce in having her deal with straying so far from being the over-protective mother in the first season and it now leading to the actual death of one of her sons.
Murray Bauman: Likelihood to be Killed – 80%
If Stranger Things wants to have the Russia plotline this season hold serious stakes beyond returning Hopper into the fold, killing off Murray Bauman would successfully do that. He is exactly the type of the character that this series is known to kill off as someone who has become a regular fixture, but still remains on the periphery of the main ensemble. His comedy style, while appealing to some, might have less of a place in the growing intensity of the Vecna plotline and where the show could in theory head towards in its final season. There is also in theory less trauma for general audiences in killing off the older characters of the show than the larger swath of young adult characters, making Murray’s demise that much more likely.
Brenner and Owens: Likelihood to be Killed – 90%
As we now reach towards the characters with high likelihoods to die, I’ve combined both Martin Brenner and Sam Owens into this one entry as I believe they will share the same fate. These characters have provided Eleven the ability to regain her powers and, in theory, become a more actualized version of herself, and I don’t think there is much more utility for them beyond that now. Especially with such a large cast, it would be reasonable to close off anyone who isn’t absolutely necessary for how the show ends. With the US government now closing in on their secret project and bunker, Matthew Modine and Paul Reiser’s characters will likely meet their untimely end and provide El some more trauma before her return to Hawkins.
Steve Harrington: Likelihood to be Killed – 90%
There is not a character more set up to meet their maker by the end of this season than Steve Harrington. While the hypothetical death of Max was built upon for the first four episodes of this season, Steve’s has been a long-build throughout. Steve’s entire arc this season has been highlighting to him (and the audience) how much he has become beloved by the group around him, serving as the quintessential friend and babysitter. With that in mind, killing him here would provide the most amount of heartbreak and dramatic tension for the season and would showcase that the show is getting serious as it enters its eleventh hour. Losing Joe Keery from the show would be an absolute shame, but it definitely seems most likely that this is the direction we are heading towards.
Come July 1 and the release of Stranger Things 4’s second volume on Netflix, we will find out where exactly the show is heading and the fates of all characters.