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Stranger Things 4 deaths confirmed by Duffer Bros — these characters won't return

Eleven, Mike, Will and friends stare into the distance in an official image from Stranger Things season 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things season 4 volume 2 packed a lot into its final few hours, but those last two episodes didn't answer every question fans might have. So, with the finale still fresh in people's minds, the show’s creators have been discussing what might happen in season 5 at great length. They also announced the Stranger Things spin-off is happening.

Spoilers for Stranger Things 4 volume 2 are ahead, in case you’ve not caught up

Speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast (opens in new tab), Ross and Matt Duffer touched on all manner of topics, including whether multiple characters really did meet a grizzly fate in the blood-soaked finale. 

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The duo confirmed that Dr Brenner, who was killed trying to escape Project NINA with Eleven, is actually dead this time. Brenner was assumed dead after the first season, and the battle with the original Demogorgon, but reappeared at NINA to aid Eleven in getting her powers back. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and he proceeded to be the same controlling, abusive piece of garbage he always had been — sacrifice or not.

Likewise, new fan-favorite Eddie Munson, who actually did redeem himself in a heartbreaking sacrifice, is also confirmed to be dead. Max, meanwhile, is confirmed to be alive — but the Duffers reiterated that she’s “braindead and blind, with all of her bones broken.” In other words, Max is far from OK, even if her body is technically still alive. 

That’s what happens when you tangle with a psychic demon from the Upside Down. 

Thankfully, everyone’s favorite babysitter Steve is doing just fine, not that the finale gave us any doubt about his current status. Despite fears that he could be killed off during Volume 2, the Duffers said they’re not sure where all that came from. Apparently there wasn’t any foreshadowing that he might be killed.

Steve’s fate was left open-ended after episode 6, thanks to him being attacked by the Upside Down bats, and killing him off later would be a strange decision. Which just goes to show how Steve, who was a complete asshat in the first season, has grown on fans in the years since.

The Duffers did confirm that all the stuff Steve has to go through is done on purpose, though. “We beat him up like always,” the creators said, “we have to beat Steve up every season. It’s just become a thing now.” So expect Steve to experience some serious pain in season 5, basically.

But as much as we all love Steve, we already know that the fifth season will be the last — so all bets are now off. Anyone could die in S5, and they can’t be mysteriously brought back in the future. Hopper could die for real this time, as could Eleven, Will and even Steve. 

We don’t know a great deal about Stranger Things 5 yet, but the Duffers have promised that it will fix one of the fourth season's biggest problems — and keep the action confined to Hawkins. The season is also likely to be shorter, will dive straight into the action in episode one, and will probably give us another 2.5-hour finale. 

As for its possible release date, David Harbour (Hopper) expects the show to film next year ready for a mid-2024 release. We're already counting down the days, but while we wait we'll continue to bring you all the latest news and rumors about it in our Stranger Things season 5 hub.

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Tom Pritchard
Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.