Spoiler Warning: Stranger Things Season 3
Based on all the gut-wrenching and action-heavy trailers for Stranger Things season 4 volume 1, it looks like Max, played by Fear Street actress Sadie Sink, now has mind powers while Eleven, played by Enola Holmes’ Millie Bobby Brown, still does not. The change happened after Eleven pulled a piece of the mind flayer from her open leg wound in Starcourt Mall at the end of season 3. Why might this be? By examining the trailer closely, the posters with even more scrutiny, and even the episode list, we might be able to get some preliminary answers before the first volume of season 4 is released on Netflix later this month.
The footage so far shows every character in a lot of danger with seemingly no way back. It’s also unclear which footage is from volume 1 or 2. Finally, it’s very obvious that the studios are showing us less than maybe ten percent of everything that is actually in the upcoming season. The nature of what we do see leaves us in terror of what will befall these poor Hawkins kids and their parents in 1985.
Here is everything we can speculate about where Eleven’s powers have gone and why they might have gone to Max.
What Happened to Eleven’s Powers?
The most logical explanation for Eleven having lost her powers is that the piece of the mind flayer took them when she agonizingly ripped it from her body. Max, meanwhile, held her wayward, fan-favorite brother, Billy, played by breakout star Dacre Montgomery. He died after being infected, brainwashed, and eventually brutally killed by the mind flayer shortly after the piece of the monster that was inside Eleven’s leg reunited with the central unit. There must be a connection between these two points that resulted in Eleven having lost her powers and Max having gained some, or merely some connection to them.
In Eleven’s solo poster, she has returned to the Hawkins lab, where she was tortured, abused, and trained to use her psychic powers as a child. This very strongly indicates that she has returned to the lab in search of her powers or in search of some truth or resource that can restore her to the weapon she knows how to be to save Hawkins and the wider world from the Upside Down. However, the poster with Max shows her in the thick of the action in the Creel House, and she is notably the only character in any of the four posters looking back directly at the viewer. This alone tells us that Max will have a huge arc in this new season, and it all leads back to one place: Billy.
Why Does Max Have Powers Now That Eleven Does Not?
While we hope that Max will have her own story to tell and triumphs that are separate from Billy, it certainly looks like her first experience with psychic or Upside Down-powered abilities takes place at his grave. We see her levitating off the ground in front of her shocked friends. We also know from the trailer and the episode list that she sits at his grave at least once and reads him a letter saying “Dear Billy,” followed by expressions of how much she wishes he were still alive. She is struggling with life after the events at the Mall when he sacrificed himself, when Eleven lost her powers, and when all childhood innocence slipped away.
It’s especially interesting that this has happened even though Max and Eleven, two adorable best friends, were torn apart by Joyce’s albeit good-faith decision to move Eleven and her sons to California, or as far from Hawkins as they could get without leaving the country . Due to the distance, they do not see each other much anymore, so why has this power switch continued despite the lack of proximity?
In the trailer, a humanoid villain in the Upside Down, the evil of that dimension incarnate, is finally introduced. According to Dacre Montgomery’s Instagramthis villain might have something to do with Billy or could literally be Billy. Even if neither is true, Billy was the Upside Down’s main squeeze for the entirety of last season. Even if he is gone, it still has a memory of him, a continuing connection to his mind and his history. It could very easily be interested in Max as Billy’s surviving loved one from some ultimate purpose.
Maybe Eleven will find her powers restored, and Max will learn to wield hers so that they can team up. Perhaps they must exchange so that Eleven can square off against the Upside Down once again. Hopefully, we will know for sure on May 27th when volume one starts streaming on Netflix.
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