With a two-year wait behind us, it’s fair to say that Netflix subscribers were more than ready for Stranger Things to return to the platform this year with season 4. In its first weekend it rocketed to the top spot of the most watched English-language seasons that the platform has ever produced (second overall only to Korean thriller Squid Game).
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been hard to miss the excitement that season 4 of the Stranger Things has generated; whether that’s Spotify-curated Vecna escape playlists, the “Chrissy Wake Up” TikTok meme or the general social media discourse on what comes next.
Introducing us to what viewers have to assume is the show’s true big bad, season 4’s dense package gave us an incredible thrill ride in its own right as well as plenty of answers to hanging story threads. Fans now know the true story of the Hawkins Laboratory massacre that led to Eleven’s escape in the pilot episode and even a little more about how the Upside Down came to be.
That being said, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered about the state of Stranger Things’ world and its inhabitants moving forwards.
Thankfully, the Duffer Brothers may have left the answers out in the open for all of us to see, providing you know what you’re looking at.
4. The Talisman
Targeted by the Upside Down’s mastermind as the perfect victim due to her past trauma, Max plays a huge role in unwrapping the enigma of Vecna and a way to stop him. Not to mention she holds the key to getting Kate Bush back into the charts.
In the finale’s elongated epilogue, Max lies unresponsive in a coma. Lucas tends to her bedside, reading from a copy of the Stephen King and Peter Straub collaborative novel The Talisman.
The general audience probably didn’t recognise the significance of this choice. It’s when you dive into the story of The Talisman that some interesting similarities can be drawn.
Twelve year old Jack Sawyer journeys across America to find a crystal called the Talisman that will save his mother who is dying from cancer. On this journey he discovers a parallel world, a similar but twisted version of America, which over the course of the novel bleeds into his own. When Jack finally gets his hands on the Talisman, a great earthquake rips through the world. However, in the finale he returns to his mother and cures her of her ailment.
It seems in no way possible that Matt and Ross Duffer gave Lucas that book without thinking about the implications. The final season may well see Lucas' journey to find something to return Max’s consciousness to her body. After all, they still haven’t had a movie date.
Of course, it needs to be mentioned that the Duffer Brothers are currently signed on to adapt The Talisman for Netflix and it could be a cute nod to their own future… but the possibilities are striking.