Stranger Things has only been around for three seasons but it has been enough to establish that they like killing characters that viewers have connected with, one way or another, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they killed a major character in season 4 – like fan-favorite Steve Harrington. The team behind Stranger Things is currently preparing for a fourth season, which will hopefully answer some of the biggest questions the previous seasons have left. What’s for sure, though, is that fans will see another relevant character die.
Stranger Things season 1 saw the death of minor characters like Barb (which prompted the “Justice for Barb” discussion on social media) and the apparent demise of Dr. Brenner. Season 2 decided that Bob Newly wasn’t going to make it, and season 3 said goodbye to Billy and surprised viewers by supposedly killing off Jim Hopper. If Stranger Things knows how to do something, it's create a connection between viewers and the characters they are planning to get rid of.
There are no plot details on Stranger Things season 4 yet, but it’s a great opportunity for the writers to get creative now that they have a solid fanbase and the series is well established. Creativity involves taking risks, and because they have a thing for killing relevant characters, Stranger Things should take things a bit further and kill off a fan favorite: Steve Harrington, which if done well would actually work wonders for both the series and character.
Stranger Things Season 4 Needs To Shake-Up The Status Quo
Stranger Things has brought mystery, action, and a lot of emotion, but its formula has been pretty much the same: an unknown threat from the Upside Down arrives to terrorize Hawkins, and Eleven is the one to save them, all while the bad guys from a laboratory or hospital try to get in the way. The characters haven’t changed much either, and season 3 completely wasted the opportunity to expand on them and their relationships, not only between friends and romantic partners but with their families as well. This has worked fine for three seasons, but it can become tiresome if its repeated in season 4.
As mentioned above, Stranger Things needs to get more creative and not be afraid to take risks – they are already on the right path by taking Eleven’s powers away, but they’re going to need more if they don’t want to fall into the same pattern. It’s unlikely they will stay away from killing off characters, as this is what prompts the biggest reactions from the audience, but they can shake things up by truly killing a major character, one that has been part of the ride since the beginning and who would be the biggest loss the series has had.
Stranger Things Hasn’t Had A MAJOR Death Yet
As much attention as Barb managed to get from social media users with the unforgettable #JusticeForBarb, she can’t be considered a “major death” as she wasn’t a main character. The Duffer Brothers did some fan-service by addressing her death at the beginning of season 2 but they pretty much forgot about it after that. Bob “superhero” Newby was a truly sad loss as he not only was helping Joyce, Will, Hopper, and Mike escape from the demodogs at the hospital and was a big support for Joyce, but he had a pretty brutal death... right in front of Joyce. Still, Bob wasn’t a main character, and while Billy appeared in two seasons and sacrificed himself to save the rest, he doesn’t count as a “major death” either.
Dr. Brenner has been confirmed to be alive, somewhere, and Hopper may not be dead either, though it’s unknown where he is and how he’s going to come back. While all these deaths (and disappearances, in the case of Brenner and Hopper) have had an impact on viewers, none of them can be considered major deaths. It has been implied that season 4 could be the last, so it’s the perfect time to actually shake things up, and if Stranger Things truly wants to bring a big change to its universe and shock its audience, killing off Steve Harrington is their best option – and it would work even better if the series is renewed for a fifth season.
Dying Is The Perfect End To Steve’s Arc
Steve Harrington began as the stereotypical arrogant jock, who went as far as to break Jonathan’s camera because Nancy was spending too much time with him. Steve wasn’t anyone’s favorite during half of the first season, but the character’s development began a few episodes later, and Steve proved that there was much more to him than just an antagonist with great hair. Season 2 continued his journey and turned him into an ally, with Steve teaming up with Dustin to find Dart and later with the rest to save Will from the Mind Flayer and stop it from spreading. Steve became a figure of authority for the kids and did his best to keep them safe, even getting into a fight with Billy to protect Max and the rest.
Steve was one of the few characters that wasn’t static in season 3, and he bonded with his Scoops Ahoy! coworker, Robin, while also strengthening his relationship with Dustin. Surprisingly, Steve is the character with the best arc in the series, and the only one that has been in constant development – the Steve viewers met in the first episodes of Stranger Things season 1 is definitely not the same one that was presented in season 3. He also has a bond with most of the characters, and has proven to be quite brave if he has to protect others.
Having him die to save Dustin, Robin, Nancy, or someone else (or everyone, as Billy did) would be an ideal way to bring his arc to an end – started as an arrogant antagonist, died as a hero. Steve has become a fan-favorite, so the writers don’t have to worry about his death not having the impact they want/need. Given the aforementioned bond he has with most characters, his death would also be a big shock within the series, prompting changes in the characters and their dynamics. At this point, anything can happen in Stranger Things season 4, including the death of a main character like Steve, but it will all depend on how open to change the writers really are.