As Benjamin Franklin once said, the only three certain things in life are death, taxes, and everyone’s love for Stranger Things, that spunky Netflix 1980s referencing horror drama starring a bunch of charming kids. Since its third season premiered on July 4, 2019, everyone’s been buzzing with anticipation on what The Duffer Brothers could have in store for Stranger Things 4. Now, the Stranger Things writing team has dropped something into all our laps, thanks to a tantalizing tweet revealing the title page of the first episode. The first episode of Stranger Things 4 is called: “The Hellfire Club.” Oooooohhh!
So: What on earth could “The Hellfire Club” mean? Here are three guesses:
- The Hellfire Club is the name of a fictional, secret society in the X-Men mythology. Remember Kevin Bacon and January Jones‘ characters Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost from X-Men: First Class? In the comics, they’re the leaders of the Hellfire Club. The Club’s purpose? To accrue endless power — and in the famous Dark Phoenix saga, to stop Jean Grey no matter what. Eventually, the X-Men and the Hellfire Club reached a kind of truce, and the Club’s storylines moved to inner power struggles and Skull and Bones-esque machinations. Since I find it hard to believe the pop culture-saturated kids at the center of Stranger Things would want to name themselves after such a pseudo-villainous group, the episode title might refer to a new group of pseudo-villains our main heroes have to deal with. Or — maybe our heroes have to reckon with morally ambiguous choices and power struggles, just like the Hellfire Club. OR — this ties up a foreshadowed string introduced in the very first episode of Stranger Things. What’s the comic Dustin and Will race for? Why, the first issue of Dark Phoenix, of course. Plus, it’s not hard to see the parallels between Eleven’s powers and Dark Phoenix’s. Does this episode title hint at an arc closing?
- The Hellfire Club is the name of a real series of secret societies in 18th century Europe. Run by notable higher-ups like Philip, Duke of Wharton and Sir Francis Dashwood, these groups spit in the face of a typically puritanical society. They practiced pagan rituals, engaged in blasphemous iconography for the “lulz,” explored all kinds of hedonistic pleasures with each other, and pulled a bunch of pranks. This is likely what the X-Men group is referencing, and I would be surprised if Stranger Things 4 has this real-life Hellfire Club on its mind during the episode. But then again — what a phenomenal villainous group this would make!
- The Hellfire Club is a name that sounds cool, and has nothing to do with anything I just said, and will be a brand new thing. Shrug emoji!
Check out the official tweet from the Stranger Things 4 writers’ room below: