As Christian Bone of We Got This Covered mentions there’s a couple of reason why Stranger Things season 4 is likely to be split into a couple of different parts. Money is one of them, since as anyone can reason splitting something into two different parts is bound to bring more money since the fans will be waiting anxiously for the second part to come out and will gladly do so if only because they’ll have time to theorize what’s going to happen and work themselves into a frenzy over the possibilities to come. The second reason is because there’s simply too much story to pack into one regular season and as a result the story will require at least two parts in order to tell it right and in its entirety. That sounds as though it might be the dominant reason between the two, though the money factor is definitely something to think about since it might be foolish to think that the Duffer brothers aren’t thinking about increased revenue at all. But the overriding idea that the story needs that much space and time to tell is easier to accept since after season 3 there are plenty of questions that need to be answered and story arcs that need to be explored in further detail.
Considering how the last season ended and that the group had fractured it’s hard to think that anything is going to be the same, and it’s also easy to think that if they do get back together it’s going to take a monumental effort to find the same vibe that has been present throughout the last few seasons. It’s hard not to remember that things were changing and that the different members of the group were starting to distance themselves from each other in various ways as they continued to grow and explore different interests. Now that the group is no longer together it’s a bit difficult to see how the common thread is going to continue since without all of them in the same picture it’s a bit difficult to think that they’re bound to be able to combat the Upside Down and whatever is still on the other side, especially if the Russians are helping it to come through. The cliffhanger we were left with is like a hangnail that people have been picking at continuously, though at this point it’s pretty obvious that no matter what we want to say or how many theories get thrown at the next season it’s kind of obvious that the Duffer brothers are going to be looking to throw us all off track the moment the next season starts. Ben Allen of RadioTimes has more to say on this.
When you think about it they’ve done that with every season since in season 1 people were hoping and praying that Barb would come back and that she’d be far more important to the series than being an early victim and a fading memory that’s still there but is slowly being left behind for the story as it continues along without her. In the second season the demidogs were kind of a big surprise, as the Mind Flayer wasn’t too much of a surprise given how season 1 ended. But Bob’s death was a tragedy that a lot of people were hoping might be a close call without being a fatality, much as they were hoping with Barb. But it would appear that unless a character is someone that’s been around for a season at least then there’s not a lot of chance that they’ll be getting out in one piece, or unscathed at least. Season 3 delivered a sad bit of poetic justice when Billy finally bit the dust, though some people are thinking that he might be making a comeback somehow since we didn’t get to see the full aftermath of his death. The reality of it though is that he was impaled, his wounds were great enough that unless a team of doctors were on hand in that moment he was likely to bleed out on the floor before the paramedics could even get to him. But that’s the rub, the Duffer brothers love to get the fans invested in various characters and then remind the fans that they can dump them at any moment. It’s not something that’s entirely innovative since other directors have done this as well. It’s kind of cruel but it also makes sense considering that adding in too many characters can really saturate a series, and on top of that the emotional investment given to said characters was just enough to be painful when they were taken out, but obviously not enough, after Barb anyway, that the characters would be remembered in a significant way any longer. Brandon Katz of Observer has his own take on the matter.
Some folks are thinking that the second half of the next season might get marketed as season 5, but it’s more likely that it will remain season 4 throughout, with the idea that it will conclude at a later date.