‘Stranger Things’ Season 5 May “Erase” Seasons 1 – 4, Creating New Timeline for “Spinoff Saga”

in Movies & TV

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) looking at the sky in 'Stranger Things' Season 4's final scene

Credit: Netflix

Wouldn’t it be great if we could use time travel to jump forward and watch Stranger Things Season 5 so that we don’t have to wait two or three years for it to finally premiere on Netflix? That’s right — there’s still no release window in sight, so we’re all just as much in the dark as Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is whenever she visits that featureless black void.

Stranger Things and time travel don’t sound like they go hand in hand, but there are many clues sprinkled throughout Season 4 that suggest the upcoming fifth and final season is going to lean heavily into this mind-bending plot device. In fact, it could be how our Hawkins heroes defeat Vecna/Henry Creel/One (Jamie Campbell Bower) once and for all.

Vecna feeding in the Upside Down in Stranger Things Halloween Horror Nights 2023
Credit: Netflix

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Will Stranger Things Season 5 Feature Time Travel?

There’s a huge emphasis on the concept of time throughout the fourth season. The foreboding ticks and chimes of that dusty old grandfather clock from the Creel household whenever Vecna is closing in on one of his victims, and the revelation that the Upside Down is stuck in the past, which suggests time and space don’t exist there.

There’s also a line that references time travel, which is quite on the nose when you take all the other clues into account. When Eleven is writing a letter to Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), her voiceover (inner dialogue) says, “Joyce [Byers] says time is funny like that. Emotions can make it speed up or slow down. We are all time travelers if you think about it.”

It’s impossible to see how Eleven and the others will defeat Vecna. While she bested him in the Upside Down in the Season 4 finale “Piggyback” (at the same time, Nancy Wheeler, Steve Harrington, and Robin Buckley went to town on his physical form in the real world), he gained the upper hand afterwards by having an earthquake rip through Hawkins. In other words, a portal — the intended result of claiming the required four victims (Max Mayfield included).

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in 'Stranger Things'
Credit: Netflix

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But there may be a way to finally put a stop to the dark wizard: time travel. We still don’t fully understand the extent of Eleven’s powers. They currently range from being able to move things with her mind (telekinesis) to some form of telepathy which involves exploring that featureless black void where she can locate someone else’s consciousness.

Of course, she’s an incredibly powerful individual — beyond flipping vans through the air, so far, she’s defeated a Demogorgon (Season 1), the Shadow Monster (Season 2), and the Mind Flayer (Season 3). And she didn’t do too badly against Vecna in Season 4, even if he did survive. The problem is they’re an equal match and are likely “canceling” each other out.

So how will she stop him? As we’ve seen in every season so far, it will be a collective effort from all our Hawkins heroes (assuming they all make it to the finale): Eleven, Mike Wheeler, Jim Hopper (David Harbour), Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), and Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). And maybe Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) will wake up in time to join the fight, too.

The young cast of 'Stranger Things' - L to R: Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) staring in shock
Credit: Netflix

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Ultimately, time travel could be the answer. As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, go back in time and make sure they never existed in the first place.” Okay, that’s not how the saying goes, but perhaps Eleven is yet to realize her full potential. Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) and the Hawkins Lab were always pushing her to the limits, so who knows what other abilities she has locked away in her mind that are yet to be called upon.

Will Eleven find a way to travel back through time and stop Henry Creel from ever being born? Or, at the very least, stop him from claiming Max Mayfield as one of his (sort of) victims? It sounds like something out of a Terminator movie, which could be why Sarah Connor actress Linda Hamilton has been cast in Stranger Things Season 5.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in 'Terminator: Dark Fate'
Credit: Skydance Media

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Remember when Paul Reiser, best known for playing Carter Burke in the iconic sci-fi sequel Aliens (1986), was introduced in Season 2 as Dr. Sam Owens — the same season that featured the Xenomorph-inspired “Demo Dogs”? We’re not suggesting Linda Hamilton’s casting is nothing more than an Easter egg, but it’s a good launchpad for our time-travel theory. In fact, word on the street is that she’s playing an older version of Eleven.

While this rumor is best taken with a massive pinch of salt because neither the Duffer brothers nor Netflix have confirmed this (but then, why would they?), it would be fitting for a star who’s used to appearing in sci-fi thrillers that involve time travel to play a future version of someone like Eleven. But if this turns out to be true, the question is, how? Will it be in an epilogue set many decades later? A flash-forward that shows how things will pan out for Hawkins if Vecna isn’t defeated (we doubt T-800s will be involved)? Or actual time travel?

Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in 'Stranger Things 4'
Credit: Netflix

Related: Report: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5 Episodes Leak Online

If time travel is on the cards, we won’t expect Eleven to suddenly be able to conjure up portals (even though, technically, Vecna can do it), or jump into a DeLorean. She would obviously use the Upside Down. As we’ve already said, the hellish dimension appears to be “stuck in the past,” so it could serve as a conduit between two points in time.

Maybe time travel has already been introduced in the show and we haven’t even noticed. This could explain why Vecna can be seen in Season 1’s pilot episode, “The Vanishing of Will Byers.” Does he already possess the ability to move through time?

But things could get messy. If Eleven and Vecna are each able to use time travel to their advantage, it could put everything at risk. While Hawkins is already slowly being consumed by the Upside Down, messing with space and time could pose an even bigger threat to the world. On the other hand, this could be a good way for Netflix and the Duffer brothers to “reset” the Stranger Things universe and start from scratch with their planned spinoffs.

Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) in a trance in 'Stranger Things' Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Installment Featuring Entire Cast Likely to Keep Franchise Alive After Season 5

Stranger Things seasons 1 — 4 are streaming on Netflix. There’s no release date for Season 5.

Season 4 stars Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Jim Hopper), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven/Jane Hopper), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson), Paul Reiser (Dr. Sam Owens), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Matthew Modine (Papa/Martin Brenner), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), and Jamie Campbell Bower (Vecna/One/Henry Creel).

Do you think Stranger Things Season 5 will feature time travel? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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