I make fun of the increasingly convoluted titles of the Mission: Impossible franchise all the time, but let’s be honest, Stranger Things 4 Vol. 2 is a mouthful, too. The “volume 1” and “volume 2” split of season four is assumed to be the result of Netflix seeking to stretch out the culture footprint of one of their biggest shows. The downside of the binge model is that no matter how popular the show, a couple weeks after all the episodes drop, the impact fades and everyone moves on. Weekly episodes have the edge there, the recurring rhythm sustaining audience interest far longer. However, on a recent episode of “The Weekly Planet” podcast in the letters section, a listener purported the volume 1 and 2 split of Stranger Things 4 is down to the VFX crunch, and that the effects for the super-sized final episodes simply weren’t ready for the debut drop in May. Two things can be true, Netflix may want to find ways to stretch their impact, but that is also in line with what I’ve been hearing for months now about a tech crunch in the industry.
The trailer for the final episodes of ST4 dropped yesterday, and it certainly does look like a big spectacle. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Eddie rocking out mid-apocalypse:
Rad. Also rad, that remix of the Stranger Things theme by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein and Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”, which features prominently on the soundtrack this season. The song has rocketed Bush to the top of the charts this summer, and I hope this ushers in a Kate Bush renaissance and the youths start listening to her other songs like “Wuthering Heights” and “Cloudbusting”. (Lainey: and “This Woman’s Work”!)
This trailer is teasing that some main characters might actually die this time, something Millie Bobby Brown is advocating for, and Noah Schnapp is also hinting at. It’s a cold fact but killing some characters off would go a long way to solving the bloat problem plaguing season four. Also, Stranger Things is all about homaging 80s movies, but like, kids died in 80s movies. All the time! Not even the horror ones, even the coming-of-age ones weren’t afraid to tell you that sometimes your friends DIE. Side characters like Barb and Chrissy have died on Stranger Things, of course, but the death of one of the main characters is overdue. Just not Steve. Because if he dies, all those feral children will forget to eat their greens and drink water and they’ll all die of scurvy before they can stop Vecna.