Warning! The following contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3. Read at your own risk!
Stranger Things Season 3 gave us shocking exits, twists, and unexpected moments that teased this story will only get crazier as it pushes onwards to Season 4. In fact, there was a pretty crazy end-credits scene that seemingly set the stage for what comes next, although I'm curious if that scene really a precursor to Season 4. What if, instead, it's the intro to what's coming in a Christmas special set between this latest season and the next?
It may sound like a theory from completely out of left field, but honestly, there's some evidence to suggest something like that is in the works. Here are some things to consider while pondering the possibility of a Stranger Things Christmas special, which will presumably fill the gap between Season 3 and 4.
Mike's Conversation With Eleven
In the Season 3 finale a Hopper-less Eleven moved in with Joyce, Will, and Jonathan. Unfortunately, this meant she was headed out of Hawkins as it was revealed earlier in the season Joyce had plans to ship out of town and get away from all the craziness even before it officially kicked off. Mike was devastated, but suggested to Eleven that maybe Joyce will bring her and Will back that Christmas.
That's an oddly specific line to throw in there, and one that Stranger Things probably could've left out if writers weren't trying to imply a Christmas special is on the way. Sure it could just establish that the Byers will visit Hawkins from time to time in the time between seasons, but that could've been said without specifically mentioning Christmas. While it's not clear evidence a Christmas special is in the works, it certainly is interesting to say the least.
Stranger Things Has Always Tied Into Major Holidays
A Stranger Things Christmas special sounds a whole lot less crazy when one considers that every season of the Netflix original has at least touched on a major holiday season. Season 1 was approaching Christmas following the finale time jump, Season 2 featured Halloween, and Season 3 tackled Independence Day. So when a character explicitly mentions a meetup of all the major characters around a festive holiday, it's hard not to notice.
Now, one could argue that Season 4 could take place around Christmas of 1985, but for reasons we'll get into later, that doesn't seem like a good idea. For now, let's just focus on the tradition of significant Stranger Things events happening around major holidays, and acknowledge there's plenty of things that could happen with the cast between now and the new season.
Netflix Has A History Of Granting Its Originals Christmas Specials
For as progressive as Netflix has been in revolutionizing a lot of other things about television, some things never change. People love Christmas specials, and the genre is in dire need of some new classics for audiences to enjoy. Luckily there's been no shortage of those from the streaming giant as even shows like Bojack Horseman and Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina have gotten holiday episodes.
Now, imagine the viewership potential of a Stranger Things Christmas episode, and how families could all sit down in front of the warm television and let those chestnuts burn in the fireplace. Talk of events in Hawkins and whatever other mysteries a special would unravel could be a new way to celebrate the holidays. To me, that sounds like a very merry Christmas indeed.
Including Christmas Of 1985 In Season 4 Wouldn't Be A Great Idea
Now, it's entirely possible one could follow this whole line of logic and say that Mike is actually teasing that Season 4 will take place during Christmas 1985, which is a possibility. While possible, it wouldn't be the best idea, for reasons that couldn't be more obvious than looking at the changes in the child cast between Season 2 and Season 3.
These kids are growing up, and if it takes another 2 years for Stranger Things to crank out Season 4, most of them will be legal adults by the time it's done. It would be pretty hard to sell that only 5 months had passed between Season 3 and 4 unless production was already underway on the new season. That doesn't seem to be the case right now, so it seems like that Christmas reunion won't happen during Season 4.
There's Chatter Season 4 Could Be The Final Season
Take this information with a grain of salt, but there's already chatter circulating the web that Season 4 will be the final season of Stranger Things. While I don't necessarily believe that, some of the cast has indicated they don't think the show should go on much longer, so maybe Season 4 is it. If that's true, however, then the Season 3 finale really left open some loose ends that would be hard to tie up in the average Stranger Things season.
That's not to say Stranger Things couldn't weave a tale that deals with the deaths of Hopper and Billy, Russia's motivations, the fate of Dr. Brenner, and that whole plot line from Season 2 the recent episodes completely sidestepped, because it totally could. I'm just saying that how or if Eleven gets her powers back, the identity of "The American," and other things could be resolved in a special that bridges the gap and sets Season 4 on a more defined path.
To revisit offbeat Christmas specials, a tactic like this was used in Season 1 of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. The episode essentially tied up a bunch of minor loose ends, and set the stage for Part 2 of the season to head in entirely different directions. Stranger Things could at least knock out the Russians' motivations, and have Season 4's basic premise already laid out so that things could explode right out the gate if it is the final season.
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