‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: Is Eleven the Show’s Next Villain?

Eleven a villain? Is adolescence that horrible?

We sort of kid, but while we’re still trying to figure out what the ending of Stranger Things season 3 means for Season 4, there’s a theory going around that Millie Bobby Brown’s character will be the antagonist next season, rather like Billy was the unwitting antagonist this year.

What happened to Eleven in season 3?

Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown | Noam Galai/WireImage

Spoilers ahoy if you’re not caught up! We won’t recap absolutely everything, but we’ll stick to the key points with Eleven. 

Long story short, Eleven and Mike are starting to have a hot and heavy romance, much to the chagrin of Mike’s friends and especially of Hopper, El’s adoptive father. He intervenes and basically forces the couple to break up, which ticks Eleven off. Eleven pals up with Max and they go shopping for day-glow 80s fashions. 

Since alien demons are never going to stay away from Hawkins, Indiana, the big-bad, the mind flayer, takes control of Max’s surly brother Billy to amass an army. The mind flayer attacks the mall and Eleven fights him, but in the process, the mind flayer seriously wounds her and she loses her powers. 

Soviets were behind this whole thing, and Hopper apparently dies in their underground Russian lab.

Now that Eleven is without powers, she no longer has the telepathic ability to locate Hopper. The Byers family takes her in, and she and Mike reconcile, but the Byers quite understandably move away from Hawkins with Eleven. 

How would Eleven be the villain? 

This fan theory is discussed in, appropriately enough, Elle magazine. A Reddit user points out that when the mind flayer grabbed El by the ankle, part of it infects her.

When you get infected by the mind flayer, that’s extremely bad news – it’s what tormented Billy this season and Will previously. Did the mind flayer purposely sap El’s powers from her so that it could take control of her and then return her powers once she’s working for him? 

And here’s the hint: The shadow in the final scene may signal an Eleven vision or flashback, reminiscent of Will’s when he was infected and trapped in the Upside Down.

If this theory turns out to be correct, it would be a refreshing change from the “We need El to save the day” trope. It’s possible the writers thought that maybe they were using El’s powers as a crutch too often, so now they’re going to try to “walk” without it. 

Another possibility is that Eleven might be moving to Chicago, where she would hook up with the gang she met in Season 2, with another girl like her who also had powers..

Eleven acted villainous then, very nearly killing someone, so if the mind flayer has control of her, that’s all the more ominous. 

Maybe Hopper is the villain?

Another Reddit user contends its possible that Hopper might be the villain. When we last saw him, he was fighting the Terminator-like Grigori. Hopper tells Joyce to shut down the machinery, which seemingly disintegrates everyone in the room.

Hopper is presumed dead, but a body is never shown or found. An end credits scene at a Russian prison makes reference to “the American,” whom many people presume to be Hopper. 

The Reddit user states that Hopper will be found alive but …

Some characters will be thinking that the ‘real’ Hopper died, and this isn’t really him anymore. Some characters will delude themselves and try to come up with nonsensical reasons why they think it IS Hopper and he’s just not feeling well. Some characters will think that Hopper can be saved, and will battle him, but not kill him. Then some characters will KNOW that Hopper is bad, and that he can’t be saved and the only way to end all the evil is to kill the BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy) AND Hopper.

Then there is Eleven – the poor lonely girl who will be forced to face (and possibly destroy) the only man that ever truly cared for her.

Both of these theories sound intriguing, so we’ll see if one, both or neither holds true. Stranger things have happened. A release date of Season 4 has not been announced, although scripts are currently being written.