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Stranger Things 4 volume 2 — who's going to die?

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield in STRANGER THINGS 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

Thinking about who will die in Stranger Things 4 volume 2 is a very natural, if only somewhat morbid thought exercise that many are going through at the moment. Trials and tribulations have surrounded our favorite teens and adults of Hawkins, Ind., all season, but it feels like we're building to something worse.

We've seen the kids survive a trip to the Upside Down (well, Nancy's still there), watched Hopper take on a Demogorgon in a Russian Fight Club and even observed Eleven return to the last place she wanted to go. And we still have almost 4 hours left this season, which is part of why "who dies?" is one of the Stranger Things 4 questions we need answered.

So, with a finale that's as long as a modern Marvel movie, it feels like there's a lot of room for Ross and Matt Duffer, the brothers behind Stranger Things, to take some of our favorites away from us. 

Stranger Things 4 is already confirmed to be a penultimate season, so it would be unsurprising for the series to kill off one or more beloved characters, both to raise the stakes for Stranger Things 5 (and who knows when that will hit Netflix) and to give the surviving characters more trauma to digest.

Here's what we think ahead of the final episodes airing tomorrow (July 1) at 3 a.m. ET / 12 a.m. PT / 8 a.m. BST.

Is Steve Harrington going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington in Stranger Things season 4s

(Image credit: Netflix)

I do not want Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) to die. Co-creator Matt Duffer is amused about the topic, telling TVLine that "Everybody’s always worried about Steve. I love it … It feels wrong to say ‘excited,’ but I’m excited that people are concerned. And they should be concerned going into the final two episodes [of Season 4] — for everybody." 

And while that last sentence is meant to sound the alarm for the full cast, if I'm honest, I think Steve's too good and brave and caring for his friends for us to be sure he'll make it out alive. I'm especially concerned because the Duffers revealed that Steve was meant to die in Stranger Things season 1, during Netflix Geeked Week 2022

What's more, Netflix has itself been playing up the 'Will Steve die in Stranger Things?' question, posting a mischievous — or possibly portentous — tweet earlier today (opens in new tab)

A Stranger Things season 4 billboard with the message "Protect Steve"

(Image credit: Netflix)

Does Steve need protecting? Yes, of course he does — he's marooned in the Upside Down. Does that mean he will die? Let's hope not, but he's got to be the favorite right now. – Henry T. Casey 

Is Max Mayfield going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Sadie Sink as Max, is levitating with her eyes going weird in Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

One thing we don't know for sure about Vecna is how long his control lasts after you've been freed. Logic states that Max (Sadie Sink) has been freed (thanks again, Kate Bush), and so she's on a fresh start against the baddest bully of the Upside Down. But, let's be honest: the psychological horror at play right now in Stranger Things makes us think that Max's time with Vecna makes her all the more vulnerable going forward.

Not only does Vecna know her emotional pressure points all the more intimately from their time together, but Max still feels in play because of her letters. Yes, those letters she wrote to her loved ones, in case she were to go. They're basically the Chekhov's Gun of Stranger Things 4, and since they're in play, it's hard to assume they won't be opened. – HTC

Is Eddie Munson going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS

(Image credit: Netflix)

The big concern around Mr. Munson (Joseph Quinn) for me comes from the fact that he's got a role to play in the fight against Vecna — he's been seen in trailers shredding on his guitar in the Upside Down, likely to help his friends — and a reputation to save. Right now, some of Hawkins' finest dullards have our favorite D&D dungeon master as their big target in the witch-hunt that's a callback to the Satanic Panic nonsense of the 1980s. 

And so I enter the final two episodes of Stranger Things 4 wondering how Eddie Munson can get off the hook with the haters of Hawkins. While a lack of proof that Munson was responsible for cheerleader Chrissy's death could be enough to quell the mob, I think Eddie dying a hero's death that makes everyone look bad for saying he's a satanic murder feels most probable. – HTC 

Is Will Byers going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Noah Schnapp as Will Byers in Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

It would be somewhat ironic if Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) died in season 4, considering he survived a trip to Demogorgon land in ST1, and very close brushes with the Mind Flayer in ST2 and ST3. But it's hardly impossible. For one, he's about to head to Nevada with Mike and Jonathan, in search of Eleven, at exactly the same time as Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan is on his way there. A shootout at Owens' desert lab seems likely — and innocent people sometimes die in shootouts.

But why Will? Well, despite being the initial poster boy for the series, he's been steadily sidelined ever since that first episode. His screen time has been severely limited compared to that of his buddies, and it's hard to see where else his story goes. Another brush with the Upside Down? Boring! Another psychic kidnapping? Yawn! No, the boy with the bad haircut seemingly has little to offer the Stranger Things story besides his own tragic death (prove us wrong, Duffers). Sorry, Will. — Marc McLaren

Is Mike Wheeler going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler in STRANGER THINGS 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) is in danger for all the same reasons as his (sometime) best friend Will. They're on the way to find Eleven, and are unlikely to receive a warm welcome from anyone there (other than our favorite shaven-headed superhero, of course).

But in some ways I'm more worried for Mike than I am for Will. Sure, that's partly because I really like Mike and don't want him to die, but it's also because surely he's the one who can help Eleven get her powers back. Not through his love — that would be too corny — but through his death. After all, we know Eleven channels grief and anger, and what could make her more upset and angry than her boyfriend dying in front of her. Oh, and the fact that he now looks about 30 rather than 15 also gives the Duffers good reason to write him out. — MMc

Is Eleven going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, at school, trying to use her powers, in Stranger Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

Alright, stay with me here. No, Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) probably won't die in Stranger Things season 4 — but what if she did? Stranger Things may be an ensemble show, but Eleven is by far the most important character in it. At the same time, she also holds it back. With Eleven around, you might feel a little worried about the fate of individual characters, but you know the world will be alright. Max or Mike may die, but Mayor Vecna is not going to be opening the 1987 Roane County Fair. 

If Eleven were off the scene, though, Season 5 really would be a blank slate. And it could happen. Sure, she's defeated evil of both the human and otherworldly kind before, but without her powers she's got no more chance of surviving Vecna's clutches than any other child. And that's assuming she can escape the attentions of the army guys and the mad scientists. 

Realistically, it won't happen; but it would be a proper TV moment if it did. — MMc

Is Enzo going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Tom Wlaschiha as Enzo and David Harbour as Hopper in a jail cell in Stranger Things 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things 4 has introduced a bunch of new characters, but none of them seem to have as much terrible luck as Dmitri ‘Enzo’ Antonov (Tom Wlaschiha) — the Russian guard who conspired to free Hopper from the gulag. Granted he was as corrupt as they come, and willing to free a criminal in exchange for a (relatively) large sum of money, but his willingness to help Hopper saw him make an enemy of high-ranking KGB agents, thrown in prison, attacked multiple times and then almost eaten by the Demogorgon.

Something tells me the guy’s luck is going to run out, and very quickly considering how many episodes we have left. Making an enemy of the Soviet Union is never particularly good for your lifespan, and Enzo being a family man suggests he won’t be defecting to the States with the rest of Hopper’s entourage. And if the KGB don’t get to him, you can be sure one of the Upside Down nasties will be looking for a snack. — Tom Pritchard

Dr. Martin Brenner / Papa

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven and Matthew Modine as Dr. Martin Brenner in a press image for Stranger Things 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

Before Stranger Things 4 came along, it certainly looked like Dr Brenner (Matthew Modine) aka Eleven’s "Papa" was dead, after being killed by the Demogorgon in the first season. There were rumors he lived, but we didn’t have confirmation until Eleven arrived at NINA to reclaim her lost powers. It’s here that he proved pretty conclusively that he does care for Eleven in his own way, even if he’s not a particularly good person.

And that is why I am certain Brenner is doomed. Eleven needs him because he’s the most qualified to help her regain her powers, and Brenner does feel like he wants to make amends. The real mystery here is why bring back a character we all thought dead? To kill him off conclusively, of course. Eleven has a lot of interested parties after her, including the U.S. Military. My personal theory is that the same group that attacked the Byers house will attack NINA, leaving Brenner with only one option: Redeem himself by giving his own life to preserve Eleven’s. Anything less and I’ll be prepping for a riot. — TP

Is Nancy Wheeler going to die in Stranger Things 4?

Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler in Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

Last seen stuck in the Upside Down inspecting Vecna's memories of life as Henry Creel, Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) has work to be done in the Rightside Up, which makes me think she's the least likely to die. Unfortunately, thinking someone is unlikely to die is basically like casting a bad luck spell on them. 

Right now, Nancy's probably going to survive long enough that she can give intel about who Vecna used to be to her friends. But beyond that? Her death would likely be a heck of an emotionally-devastating moment to at least Joe and her brother Mike. And just like with Max, I think that Vecna's probably not going to be happy if and when Nancy escapes. HTC

Next: All the deaths that happened in Stranger Things 4? They're real and won't be reversed in season 5

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

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