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The overall vibe heading into “Stranger Things 4” Volume 2 is that death is on the horizon. The explosive trailer for the two-part finale was full of menacing threats (the villain Vecna promises the characters will lose everything), and breakout actor Joseph Quinn described the ending as absolute “carnage.” For those unaware, carnage refers to the slaughtering of a large group of people. Just in case fans don’t think death is coming, “Stranger Things” co-creator Ross Duffer said point blank that viewers should be “concerned” for characters heading into Volume 2.

“I don’t really want to say, but I would be concerned about the characters going into Volume 2, for sure,” Duffer told Variety. “I hope that that is sort of the sense, because it is a darker season and the kids are no longer kids. 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.”

All of this begs the question: Which main characters are going to die in “Stranger Things 4” Volume 2? The show has never delivered an outright bloodbath, so it might be a stretch to think a handful of characters will all die at once. The show’s ensemble has grown so large that it’s unwieldy (fans have already complained that Season 4 sidelined characters like Charlie Heaton’s Jonathan), and even Millie Bobbie Brown quipped after the premiere that the cast had gotten “way too big,” adding, “Last night we couldn’t even take one group picture because there were like 50 of us. I was like, you need to start killing people off.”

David Harbour’s Hopper appears to be the safest character heading into the ending. The show already faked out audiences once with Hopper’s death, so they won’t do it again. Plus, Harbour has touted a Gandalf-like resurrection for Hopper that has not fully been carried outyet.. Of all the adult actors, Tom Wlaschiha (Harbour’s prison ally Dmitri “Enzo” Antonov) and Brett Gelman (Murray Bauman) are the most expendable. Either of their deaths would be a shock to the system for Hopper and Winona Ryder’s Joyce heading into the final season. Ryder seems safe, as the show wouldn’t kill Joyce off as she’s been so separated from her children all season.

As for the kids, it’s anyone’s guess. Sadie Sink has been the breakout star of Season 4 (thank you, Kate Bush) and already got close to death in the first half of the season. Killing Max would be a gut-punch surprise, and her romantic reconnection to Caleb McLaughlin’s Lucas could spell doom for either of them (a classic TV trope is killing off one lover after a relationship has been re-sparked). However, “Stranger Things” is known to play it safe even when touting risks. It’s likely the core group of kids survive and are reunited for the final season (which is what fans want most, and “Stranger Things” usually delivers on fan service). The Duffer Brothers. wouldn’t dare kill off Millie Bobby Brown or Finn Wolfhard, would they?

That leaves us with the young adults: Jonathan, Steve, Nancy, Robin and Eddie. It’s most likely one or more of these characters dies in Volume 2. Eddie just got introduced this season, but his arc has all the makings of a climactic sacrifice. The entire town of Hawkins already wants Eddie arrested for murder, so is there any other fate for him besides becoming a hero and sacrificing his life? Steve’s arc also makes sense for a heroic sacrifice. Steve has already gone from hot shot to big brother. Is sacrificial savior next? His death would send Nancy into shock just as she’s reunited with Jonathan, and it would also break Dustin. All of this is great drama for a final season.

Killing Eddie would be upsetting, but killing Steve would be a game-changer and prove once and for all that no fan favorite is safe in the final season. Expect Eddie and/or Steve to die, but hopefully more surprises await.

The first seven episodes of “Stranger Things 4” are now  streaming. The final two installments debut July 1 on Netflix.

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