**Warning – this article contains spoilers for Stranger Things 3**
Stranger Things 3 could be the most action-packed instalment of the nostalgic 1980s sci-fi series yet, filled with shock twists, tragic ends and intriguing hints to the future that are bound to have fans desperate to see whether there’ll be a Stranger Things 4.
And as the lights of Hawkins fade away on your Netflix screen for the last time this year, we’ve tried our best to answer any lingering questions (or ongoing matters of confusion) you might have after our most recent trip to the Upside Down.
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Check out our breakdown of Stranger Things 3’s remaining mysteries below, but beware – obviously we’re dealing with major spoilers hereon out, so please look away if you haven’t had the chance to watch the whole series yet.
Is Hopper really dead?
David Harbour’s punchy police chief was apparently disintegrated in the secret Russian base, but we never saw a body (or puddle of viscera), and we’re not convinced.
And when the series’ post-credits scene included a Russian base with an unseen prisoner referred to only as “The American,” we doubt there was a single viewer who didn’t merrily leap to the conclusion that the kettled Yank was none other than Hop himself.
How could he have survived? And how did he end up in Russia? Well, we’ve gone into that in a bit more detail here…
Why were the Russians trying to break into the Upside Down?
The dramatic thrust of this series was provided by a Russian plot to re-open the “gate” between our dimension and the Upside Down, the twisted (and slightly greasy) version of reality that’s also home to various creatures like the Mind Flayer and the Demogorgon.
The version accidentally opened in Hawkins was closed by Eleven back in season two, which is why the Russians travelled to Indiana to try their luck (the walls between realities are still weaker) – but why WERE they so determined to break through, to the extent of building an entire fake mall and vast underground facility in the heart of the US?
Were they hoping to extract some sort of energy source? Did they just want to carry out some experiments? Or did they see a military application for what they might find in the Upside Down? One clue suggests it might be the latter…
How did the Russians get a Demogorgon?
The really big moment of the post-credits scene (sorry, potential Hopper) was the reveal of a Demogorgon (you know, the big toothy monster from season one) kept inside a remote Russian base.
Given that the Russians never ACTUALLY managed to open the gate to its Upside Down home, the Demogorgon’s appearance is a bit of a mystery. Did it slip through when the gate was only partially opened? Did they manage to catch it before the original gate was closed, and is that how they learned about the Upside Down in the first place?
One thing’s for sure – the Russians may have been planning for some Demogorgons to arrive from the start, given that Erica (Priah Ferguson) noted some conveniently-sized cages in the Starcourt hidden base…
Will the Demogorgon escape?
Look, it’s like Chekhov’s Demogorgon – if you show it, you have to use it, right? We’re betting that Stranger Things 4, if and when that’s officially confirmed, will feature this friendly tooth-faced beastie in a fairly major way, even if it’s difficult to tell exactly how it’ll feature at this stage.
How and when did Eleven lose her powers?
Stranger Things 3 ends with Eleven depowered and unable to use her telekinetic abilities, but it’s not entirely clear what removed them from her.
Although it seems connected to the piece of Mind Flayer that burrowed inside her leg (lovely), the worm-like tendril was still in there when Eleven was able to hurl a car across the mall, and she then used her abilities to remove the worm itself.
If it was that injury that sapped her powers, why would it only hit after she’d removed the source of the problem? Did she really use the last smidge of her telekinesis to get the slug out, and then had no more?
Or did the trauma of performing self-surgery merely block her off from her abilities? She seemed to be able to jump back into her psychic powers when pleading with Billy (Dacre Montgomery) for her life, although that could just be from details she’d remembered seeing earlier.
Will Eleven get her powers back?
Finn Wolfhard’s Mike seemed pretty confident that Eleven will be back to her good old TK-slinging self in no time, and we don’t see any reason to doubt him. Her powers have always been a central part of the series, and it would make for a decent series four plotline to see her gradually regain them after some time living as a normal child in a new town, unable to simply enact mental revenge on bullies and “bad men”.
The removal of her powers does make sense from a storytelling perspective as well – because if Eleven had her abilities and Hopper WAS alive, she’d easily be able to find him, wouldn’t she?….
Is the Mind Flayer gone for good?
Through some telekinesis, fireworks and judicious closing of the Upside Down gate, the Mind Flayer was thwarted once again – but has he been permanently dealt with?
After all, he was locked in the Upside Down and expelled from a host once before, and it only intensified his desire to break back through and enact revenge. So have the gang just REALLY put a bee in his bonnet for another attempted comeback?
We’re hoping this time was a little different – after giving himself a physical form, its collapse may have affected the Mind Flayer more than the events of Stranger Things 2 – but don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mr MF.
What happened to Eight?
Hey, remember when Eleven went to Chicago for a whole episode, hung out with drifters and met her superpowered “sister,” who could create illusions and had a slightly more vengeful streak? Well Stranger Things certainly doesn’t, because there was no sign of that storyline (or Eleven’s character development) present in Stranger Things 3.
In a way, it’s no surprise Eight was left out of this series. The episode Eight and her friends appeared in was regarded as a misstep in Stranger Things 2, and the storyline was tied up just enough (with Eight and co escaping the authorities) for it not to seem like too much of a gap that the characters are no longer involved.
Still, we can’t help but wonder if any of Eleven’s other superpowered siblings are still out there, somewhere…
Where are the Byers family (and Eleven) moving to?
After being teased all season, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) finally decided to move her family and Eleven away from Hawkins, leaving behind the town where they’ve seen so many of their loved ones die and been tortured by various sci-fi creatures. To be fair, yes, that does seem like a good decision.
Where the Byers are moving to, however, remains a mystery. It’s far enough away for Will’s friends to feel a real separation, but not so far that it’d be completely ridiculous for planned Thanksgiving or Christmas visits.
Now, we’re just wondering how the Byers clan (plus Eleven) will find their way back to Hawkins for any future series. Personally we’d love to see a very Stranger Christmas…
What’s that song?
As ever, there’s all sorts of terrific tracks playing throughout the series, and you can check out our song-by-song guide here.
However, if you’re specifically talking about the song that Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) serenades his girlfriend Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo) with at the end of Stranger Things 3, it’s the theme song to classic fantasy movie The Neverending Story – listen above, and practice your rendition.
Will there be a Stranger Things 4?
Stranger Things 3 leaves enough dangling plot threads – Eleven’s missing powers, the Demogorgon, Hopper’s possible return – to suggest where the series is planning to go in future episodes.
And while Netflix hasn’t officially confirmed that Stranger Things 4 is a go, series producer and director Shawn Levy has suggested that a return to Hawkins is a sure thing.
“I mean I will say we have a good sense of stuff that happens in Season Four. Season Four is definitely happening,” Levy told Collider.
“There’s very much the possibility of a season beyond that one, that’s currently undecided.”
So there you have it – best strap in for Stranger Things 4 AND 5. Let’s just hope they don’t drag it all the way to Eleven – that could get pretty confusing.
Stranger Things 3 is streaming on Netflix now