With the third season of Stranger Things now released on Netflix, it was only a matter of time before the Internet got to theorizing about all the possible storylines that Stranger Things Season 4 will inevitably include. There were plenty of cliffhangers left dangling for fans to investigate in this season. And there were also plenty of possible plots introduced with seeming throwaway lines or fleeting moments.
It would be virtually impossible to wade through all of the leading theories currently circulating around on the Internet, especially when so many of them have to do with vastly differentstoryliness and unrelated characters. Here, we've gathered up ten of the most convincing theories that we've found so far, and we've detailed why exactly these theories just might be entirely plausible after all.
10 Other kids with powers will appear
The introduction of Eleven's "sister" Kali, also known as Eight, was hardly a popular plot point during the second season. The Eleven-centric episode that follows her adventures with Kali and her criminal gang is widely regarded as the worst episode of the series. But that doesn't mean that the series can avoid introducing other kids with powers - or that it should, for that matter.
With Stranger Things Season 4 possibly teed up as the grand finale to the series, and with the potential to have the biggest battle of them all, it might make sense to reveal the extent of Hawkins Lab's experiments once and for all. Especially if Eleven doesn't get her powers back - which is also a very real possibility.
9 The Russian demogorgon is the same one
The mid-credits scene in Stranger Things Season 3's finale is full of plenty shocking moments, but one of the biggest and most unsettling reveals comes in the form of the fact that the Russians working on the Upside Down project have now acquired a demogorgon of their own. But is this really a new demogorgon after all? Some fans aren't so convinced.
It's entirely possible that this might be a new Upside Down monster. But if Eleven managed to survive their epic battle at the end of the series' first season, and if the Russians came to work in Hawkins after that, couldn't this beast very well be the same monster that Eleven and her friends faced off with a few years ago?
8 Eleven will travel to Russia
From the beginning of the series, people have wondered whether a once nearly mute and buzzcut-sporting Eleven was, in fact, a Russian spy or weapon of some sort. Even Murray Bauman, the series' resident voice of wide-eyed zany reason, was convinced that she was a Russian assailant of some sort, during his investigation into Barb Holland's disappearance.
Now that characters actually based in Russia have been introduced, it comes as no surprise that some fans are now convinced that Eleven's journey is actually destined to take her there. If other theories regarding key players currently being held captive in Russia pan out, it makes all the sense in the world that Eleven, as well as some of her friends, could wind up there, too.
7 Dr. Brenner is "the American"
In the mid-credits scene at the end of "The Battle of Starcourt," Russian guards are taking a prisoner down to be fed to the demogorgon as a sacrifice. Before they find the prisoner they are looking for, however, they mistakenly stop and nearly open the cell of a prisoner known only as "the American."
There are plenty of characters that this could be, but one of the most compelling theories to surface so far involves Matthew Modine's enigmatic Dr. Brenner, also known as Papa. Dr. Brenner was presumably killed by the demogorgon at the end of the first season, but viewers never actually saw a body or received real confirmation of his death.
6 Jonathan and Nancy stay together, long distance
While Stranger Things may be a series about friendship at its core, there's no denying that romance is also a key factor in the series, too. One of the series' central relationships is the romance between Jonathan Byers and Nancy Wheeler, and at the end of the third season, the duo's future is entirely uncertain.
With Jonathan and his family moving away from Hawkins after everything they've been through, Nancy and Jonathan are forced to share a tearful goodbye. But are they really? With both of them being just on the cusp of heading off to college, it's not entirely unlikely that these two aren't just planning on keeping their relationship going long distance for now.
5 Eleven's powers won't come back
One of the most shocking cliffhangers that Stranger Things Season 3 left viewers to grapple with was the reveal that Eleven's powers have vanished without a trace. At the end of the season, Eleven seems almost resigned to the fact that her powers are gone, but Mike tries to reassure her that they'll come back someday.
But would it really be so bad if those powers don't come back? Eleven never asked for the experiments to be done on her that led to these powers occurring. Plus, moving out of Hawkins as she does at the end of the season, Eleven deserves the chance to start over as a normal kid, once and for all.
4 The kids will time travel
Stranger Things is known for its pop culture references and homages, and one of the biggest tributes in the third season was by far the classic 1980s film Back to the Future. Steve and Robin go to see the movie while they're stoned on whatever drug the Russians injected them with, and after their viewing of the film, it's basically all they can talk about.
In past seasons, Stranger Things has featured frank discussions of dimensions and the ability to travel between them. Now, time travel as a method of dimension-hopping has been introduced. Who's to say that Stranger Things Season 4 won't take things to a whole new level?
3 Will is going to come out as gay
The hints regarding Will Byers' clear disinterest in all things related to girls and romance have been in the series from the very beginning. Will himself repeatedly professes how he never plans to fall in love, how romance grosses him out, and how he'd rather spend time in a world without girls.
A heartbreaking confrontation between Will and Mike in the third season even has Mike callously throwing the fact that Will doesn't like girls in Will's face, which clearly truly hurts Will. So could Season Four finally find Will opening up about his sexuality? Lots of fans seem to think so.
2 Hopper is alive - and he's in the Upside Down
The most shocking part of Stranger Things Season 3 came in Chief Jim Hopper's heroic sacrifice in the finale, when he willingly risked his life so that Joyce could close to the gate to the Upside Down (hopefully) once and for all. But is Hopper really dead? Most of the Internet sure isn't convinced, and neither are we.
One of the possibilities for Hopper's fate could be that he actually found a way to get to the Upside Down. He could have jumped through the gate before it was blasted with the key. Even once Dr. Owens and his men arrive, the gate doesn't look totally closed off.
1 Hopper is alive - and he's "the American"
If Hopper didn't make it to the Upside Down, it's also entirely possible that he still escaped, but somehow wound up in Russian captivity. He could have easily run down those stairs to a point below the main landing and wound up in the hands of some of the remaining Russian soldiers.
It could be, then, that Hopper is in fact "the American" that Russian guards refer to in the mid-credits scene. After everything Hopper did, and all that he learned, he would be a valuable prisoner for Russian scientists.