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The Stranger Things 3 ending tease was designed to "tee up season 4" according to the show’s creators

Stranger Things season 3 ending
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Stranger Things 3 ending was a rough ride for fans of Hopper, Eleven, and plenty of the other residents in Hawkins, Indiana. But there’s hope. There’s always hope. The Stranger Things 3 post-credits scene hinted as much – and now show co-creators the Duffer Brothers have confirmed it’s all been done to set up an as-yet-unconfirmed Stranger Things season 4.

First, a lightning-quick cheat sheet for those who either haven’t seen the Stranger Things 3 ending (your funeral), or have been clouded by grief: Hopper supposedly dies at the end of the season, and Eleven loses her powers. However, the ex-Chief’s body is never found, and a post-credits stinger reveals that a secretive Russian base is holding a Demogorgon captive alongside an “American.”

Could it be Hopper? The Duffers aren’t saying, but told EW: “Assuming there’s a season 4, obviously the question of who that American is in that cell and then also what they’re doing with the Demogorgon, that is a tease… we try to tee up some season 4.”

It appears that the looming spectre of Stranger Things season 4 is also at the forefront of the Duffers’ mind when it comes to some of the other tragic moments at the tail-end of the season. 

For one thing, Eleven no longer has powers. As Ross Duffer explained, that ups the horror ante much more next time, having asked, “Moving into season 4, how much more vulnerable does that make our characters in a group?”

That’s a question for another day. That, coupled with Hopper’s fate, is still up in the air. So, if we do get some answers, it’ll hopefully form the crux of Stranger Things season 4 – if that ever comes to pass. And chances are, it will, as Stranger Things 3 was reportedly watched by over 50 million people across its first week on Netflix.

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I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.