Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 Ending Explained, What Could Happen in Strangers Things Season 5

The first volume of Stranger Things season 4 has been out for two weeks, and we’ve just about recovered from that huge Vecna reveal which closed out the seven-episode run. Unfortunately, we also still have weeks to wait for the true finale of Season 4, during which we’ll think obsess over the fates of our faves and maybe rewatch the series from the beginning for Vecna Easter eggs if there’s time.

Take a deep breath: That Stranger Things episode 7 ending wasn’t, y’know, The End. We promise. Snatching a page from the Ozark playbook, Netflix’s deliriously anticipated thriller Stranger Things is stretching its fourth season into two parts—sorry, volumes—which means fans will have to wait a teensy bit longer for the final, actual, we-mean-it-this-time ending.

That true finale, Volume 2 of season 4, arrives in July with two feature-length episodes that are promised to have the most epic scenes we’ve seen from Stranger Things so far. As the release date gets closer, the Duffer Brothers and other cast and crew members have dropped some hints of what’s to come. Here’s everything we know so far.

Perhaps even more confusingly, the seasonal split is lopsided. Volume 1, out as of May 27, features seven episodes, but volume 2 will feature only two. But each of those two episodes will be, as one Jason Bateman once put it, “super sized”—more like feature films than traditional television. (We can all stick around after the credits roll and argue if “television that’s more like film” is really a good idea.) As Netflix attempts to squeeze some juice out of its cash cow, here’s what we know about the next chapter.

How did Season 4 Volume 1 end?

To keep it short: Two factions of the Hawkins gang have discovered Vecna’s true identity, while the other two are trying to get back to to their hometown to help Eleven. Joyce and Murray have taken over the Russian prison and had a teary reunion with Hopper. Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argylle got Susie to help them find Eleven’s location, and are headed to Nevada to save her. Nancy, Steve, Robin, and Eddie found a gate out of the Upside Down, with the help of Dustin, Max, Lucas, and Erica, but while they’re going through, Nancy falls under Vecna’s spell due to her guilt over Barb’s death.

Meanwhile Eleven, who’s been re-living her memories to re-learn how to use her powers, learns that the kind orderly she’s befriended is actually Henry Creel a.k.a. Number One, the origin of Dr. Brenner’s experiments and his first test subject. They face off and Eleven sends One into the Upside Down, where he becomes Vecna. That’s the last we see of El, who is still in the experiment at the time. (For anyone wondering about the timeline, these events apparently happened two years before the events of season 1, per the Duffers.)

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When does season 4 volume 2 come out?

Okay, so don’t shoot the messenger, but it’s gonna be a painful wait. The final two episodes are expected to drop at 12 a.m. PST on July 1, just in time for a Fourth of July weekend binge. Bad news: Those five weeks between May 27 and July 1 are going to pass slowly. Good news: More time for theorizing!

Netflix will release the second part of season 4 on July 1 at midnight, only a month after the first volume’s premiere. While any wait is long after that huge end reveal, volume 2 will come out pretty quick related to other shows on the streamer that have seasons split into two parts. For the final season of Ozark, fans had to wait three months between parts 1 and 2, so it’s great that Stranger Things only has a month.

How long will Volume 2 be?

Prepare for an, er, extended binge. Volume 2 might consist of only two episodes, but they’re each feature-length: Episode 8 clocks in at 1 hour and 25 minutes, while the grand finale runs 2 hours and 30 minutes. So, not as long as The Batman, but still really long!

Volume 2 will have two new episodes to wrap up the season 4 storylines. Following the feature-length seventh episode (which came in at 1 hour, 39 minutes), episode 8, titled “Papa,” will run around 1 hour, 25 minutes. The finale, titled “The Piggyback,” will be a whopping 2 hours, 19 minutes, and will have a similar movie-sized scale to episode 7. In a TheWrap (opens in new tab) interview, Matt Duffer said, “Seven and nine in particular are movies. And nine is a long movie.”

Does Volume 2 have a trailer?

With less than two weeks to go til Volume 2 drops, Netflix has released a full trailer that gives hints towards the season’s final boss battle against Vecna and the Upside Down. One informative clip shows all the Hawkins kids (including Erica, and Nancy looking shaken from her Vecna vision) riding in an RV towards…something. The ominous voiceover features Brenner saying, “Your friends are not prepared for this fight. Hawkins will fall.” (Maybe have tissues ready while watching.)

Other clips include Max wearing her trusty Walkman—which makes sense since “Running Up That Hill” soundtracks the whole trailer—, Eddie picking up a guitar in the Upside Down as Steve enters through a gate, Hopper and co. looking at whatever the Russians have in their weird Upside-Down museum (which actually looks like a piece of the Mind Flayer!?!), and Will hugging Jonathan as the brothers sob. We also see Brenner telling Eleven that she’s not ready and Robin saying, “it might not work out for us this time.” (We get it, we’re prepared to sob.)

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Episode 1: “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club” (runs 1 hour and 16 minutes)

Episode 2: “Chapter Two: Vecna’s Curse” (runs 1 hour and 15 minutes)

Episode 3: “Chapter Three: The Monster and the Superhero” (runs 1 hour and 3 minutes)

Episode 4: “Chapter Four: Dear Billy” (runs 1 hour and 17 minutes)

Episode 5: “Chapter Five: The Nina Project” (runs 1 hour and 14 minutes)

Episode 6: “Chapter Six: The Dive” (runs 1 hour and 13 minutes)

Episode 7: “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” (runs 1 hour and 39 minutes)

And then the remaining episode’s premiere at the same time on July 1:

Episode 8: “Chapter Eight: Papa” (runs 1 hour and 25 minutes)

Episode 9: “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback” (runs 2 hours and 30 minutes)

The two-minute clip ends with peeks of the Hawkins gang’s big fight, Hopper and co. fighting off demogorgons in the prison, Lucas punching bully Jason for some reason (still, yay!), and Eleven standing in front of a huge explosion in the Nevada desert. Finally, Vecna says, “Your friends have lost.”

Viewers who stuck around after episode 7’s closing shot were rewarded with a surprise teaser for Volume 2 The 30-second preview picks up immediately after Eleven sent One/Vecna into the Upside Down. “It is over, Eleven. You have freed me,” the monster says in voiceover, with his present-day voice suggesting that he’s saying this to Eleven outside of the experiment.

We also get flashes of future scenes, including Dr. Brenner looking at the cracks remaining from the closed portal (we’ll probably spend some time with the sadistic scientist in “Papa”); Steve, Nancy, and Robin looking at one of Vecna’s clocks in the Upside Down (suggesting that Robin went back through to break Nancy out of the villain’s trance); and Dustin and Eddie decked out in makeshift armor.

As for Hopper, it looks like he, Joyce, and Murray will be stuck in Russian for a bit longer, where they stand in front of a dusty museum display with an Upside Down monster inside. They also find a bigger tank filled with what looks like the same sandy spirit that appeared when the Mind Flayer’s consciousness left Will in season 2.

Will season 5 be split up as well?

Unclear. Per TVLine, Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s head of scripted series for the United States and Canada, told industry members that season 5 will be released as a binge-watch just like its Netflix compatriots—meaning most, if not all, of the episodes will drop at once—but it’s possible the final season could be “batched” like season 4.

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“When you see something like a batched season with Stranger Things, this is our attempt at making sure we can get shows out quicker to the members,” Friedlander said.

What has the cast and crew said about Volume 2?

Members of the show’s creative team have been building up hype for the second volume, promising that it’ll continue the show’s growth in scale over each episode release. Executive producer Shawn Levy told Entertainment Weekly that “as great as Volume I is, Volume II is extraordinary.”

Jamie Campbell Bower, the actor behind Vecna, has also dropped some hints for the next season in his interviews, saying that we’ll get more answers for Vecna’s backstory and his motivations.

Bower told EW, “If you thought that it was as big as it could get, it’s not. It goes further, visually, story-wise, and emotionally for all the characters. It really is quite an explosive climax, let’s say. I know lots of people have used the word explosive and scope and scale, but I do mean that. We learn a lot more as an audience in these final two episodes, as well.””

However, not everything is going to get answered. When asked about some details in a Variety (opens in new tab) interview, specifically whether the Upside Down froze in time on the day Will was taken way back in the series premiere, the Duffer Brothers said we’ll get some answers in volume 2, but not everything. “That is actually one of the few questions that we’ve raised this season that isn’t going to get answered in Volume 2,” Matt Duffer told the outlet. “But that’s setting the stage for some big reveals in our final season.””

Fans also need to prepare for some bad fates for some of the characters. Ross Duffer told Variety, “I don’t really want to say, but I would be concerned about the characters going into Volume 2, for sure. I hope that that is sort of the sense, because it is a darker season and the kids are no longer kids. So everybody is in danger. And there’s sort of an ominous feeling that things might not go well. Now, whether they do or not, you’ll have to watch.”