With a show as popular as Stranger Things, you’re bound to run into wild fan theories. And Stranger Things Season 5 is no exception. The Duffer brothers have created a show with enough depth that fans can easily speculate about the deeper meaning behind each scene. If your show has fan theories, it means you have an invested viewership that wants to engage in the franchise in a deeper way.
It’s known that the Duffer brothers have been planning the ending for a while. Perhaps they’ve been planning it since they first pitched the series to Netflix. The brothers said, “Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things. At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but—as you’ll see for yourselves—we are now hurtling toward our finale.”
So it makes sense that they planted seeds for what’s to come in Season 5 in the penultimate season.
Let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing fan theories about what’s to come in the story arc for Stranger Things Season 5.
Stranger Things Season 5 Fan Theories
1. Max’s Consciousness Is Still Within Vecna’s Mind
Max came into her own in Stranger Things Season 4, and the Running Up That Hill royalties alone prove it. So what’s up next for our girl Max in Stranger Things Season 5?
At the end of Season 4, she’s left in a coma, essentially brain dead. Vecna killed her, and while Eleven brought her back to life, we don’t know where her mind is.
TikTok user @hapi_117 thinks that her mind is still trapped in Vecna’s mind.
Eleven goes into the Darkness to look for Max but isn’t able to find her. So it would make sense that she’s still trapped with Vecna.
2. Max Will Take Down Vecna From the Inside
If Max is stuck inside Vecna’s mind, maybe she isn’t completely helpless. Maybe she could use this as an opportunity to take him down for good. Beastboi27 on Reddit says, “I also believe that Vecna consuming Max will ultimately be his downfall. Whatever 11 did with Max…I think it gave Max some leverage to roam around inside Vecna’s memories and it’s possible she will encounter other victims and free them and they form a group and come up with a plan to destroy Vecna from within and then she will be able to wake up from her coma.”
Hopefully, on the way out, she can rescue the other people lost in his mind, like Chrissy, Fred, and Patrick.
3. Eddie Will Return as D&D Character Kas
As Stranger Things fans know, the game Dungeons and Dragons plays a large “roll” (unabashed pun) in the story. All the creatures from the Upside Down are shown as D&D monsters and characters. Reddit user Fearless_Start7574 believes that Eddie (Joseph Quinn) isn’t truly dead. They think that Eddie will come back as Kas, a vampire from the game. Even the Duffer brothers themselves said a bat bite cannot kill you. So how could he actually be dead? As further proof, Kas’s weapon – a shield with spikes on it – matches the trash can lid with nails Eddie wields earlier.
Although Kas is the right-hand man to Vecna, the character actually betrays Vecna in the end and kills him. Will Eddie become the one to end Vecna for good?
4. Will Is Posed to Take Down the Upside Down, Not Eleven
While Will didn’t create the Upside Down, he opened a portal to it. He still has a psychic connection to Vecna. If he reenters the Upside Down, he might possess great power in that space. That’s why Vecna has been tormenting Will; he wants Will’s power for himself. So perhaps Will is the one that will destroy the Upside Down’s hold on the group, not Eleven.
The Duffer brothers promised Will would play a big part in Stranger Things Season 5, so if this isn’t the reason, it’ll be something else.
5. Will Takes on the Mind Flayer While Eleven Fights Vecna
On the other hand, it’s been pretty well established that Vecna and Eleven are fated to duel. Vecna’s been searching for Eleven ever since she escaped the lab. And Vecna is the tormentor that made Eleven who she is today. It would almost feel wrong for them not to fight.
So where could Will use his powers? Perhaps they could have a simultaneous attack, with Eleven taking on Vecna while Will fights the Mind Flayer.
6. Will Could Team Up with Vecna
A darker fan theory suggests that Will won’t defeat Vecna. Instead, he’ll join him.
Will has a lot of trauma from Seasons 1 and 2. And Stranger Things focuses strongly on how love can rescue people from the most dangerous forces. After getting snubbed by Mike when he tries to confess his feelings, Will struggles. He has to watch Mike be with Eleven, a person far more powerful than he could ever be on his own.
Could Vecna harness these emotions, promising Will increased power so he can match Eleven? Is Will desperate enough to fall for his mind games and take the deal?
7. Will Is the Right Side Up Counterpart to Vecna
Perhaps the reason that Will and Vecna are psychically linked is because they’re each other’s counterparts on either side of the Upside Down. They’re also both magic users, which links them further. TikTok user @bunkyyy believes that they are each others’ Upside Down/Right Side Up counterparts.
8. Vecna Is Eleven’s Father
Vecna/001/Henry was Papa’s first test subject. He’s also the most powerful. Eleven is the only other subject that could match his power.
So maybe that means Henry is actually Eleven’s biological father. We have yet to find out how Eleven was created; all we know is that Terry Ives is Eleven’s mother. But the identity of her father has been kept under wraps. Perhaps so that we can have the ultimate Star Wars moment between Vecna and Eleven?
9. The Group Will Time Jump
The first season of Stranger Things came out in 2016. We don’t yet have a timeline for the release date of Stranger Things Season 5, but it could still be a few years until it premieres. Noah Schnapp is currently 17, Millie Bobby Brown is 18, Finn Wolfhard is 19, and Sadie Sink is 20. Joe Keery is 30! These actors can’t play kids forever. It would make sense that the series would jump forward to make their ages more believable.
10. None of the Events of Stranger Things Actually Happened.
Twitter user @soupysaucepot believes that ultimately, nothing that happens in Stranger Things ever happened in real life. It was simply a wild journey the crew took through a D&D game. All of it was in their minds and we just watched the way they imagined the game happening.
Personally, seeing this theory happen would feel like a giant cop-out for the complete story arc. One of the oldest tropes in the book is the characters waking up in the end and realizing it was all a dream. This seems like just a variation on that trope.