Stranger Things 4 certainly left us with more questions than answers… and more ‘ships than ever before! So as we await the next season of the Duffer Bros’ homage to all things 80s, let’s talk about where the various relationships have settled. This is the state of Stranger Things 4‘s ‘ships!
Steve and Nancy’s relationship has evolved from archetypal “girl-next-door falls for dumb popular jock” to “traumatized but surprisingly well adjusted young adults who care for one another.” And despite the pair failing to officially rekindle things, season four definitely saw some longing glances, some close touching, and some more-than-hot bandage wrapping and heavy breathing in the Upside Down. While Nancy and Jonathan seemed to pick things back up in the season four finale, Steve and Nancy will need to work out those unresolved feelings in the coming seasons. We can’t wait to see this ‘ship return to all its glory.
In Stranger Things’ third season, the show’s creators lead us to believe Robin and Steve had the typical “friends who end up having feelings for each other” dynamic. However, the subversion of this trope and the shift into Robin and Steve becoming platonic best friends/almost siblings who support each other’s romantic endeavors has been a treat to watch. Steve beaming while Robin and Vickie finally got their flirt on was one of the most heartwarming moments of the season four finale. We’re looking forward to more lighthearted ribbing, slightly off-the-mark advice, and lasting friendship. Plus, Robin schooling Steve on pop culture and movie trivia is extremely relatable and endlessly entertaining.
Robin and Nancy, a.k.a. Ronance, got to play Velma and Daphne in this season. Especially when they questioned Victor Creel together as undercover grad students. Nancy’s annoyance at Robin and initial jealousy over Robin and Steve’s friendship added fuel to the fire of this newly formed ship. We’re not sure if Stranger Things would really give us this pairing as a legit romantic relationship. After all, the show has established Nancy as possibly the most straight character. But that’s never stopped the internet from shipping before. The balance of Nancy’s braininess and Robin’s cluelessness makes their a sort of opposites-attract vibe one that we can’t ignore.
Robin and Vickie were finally starting to become an item in the season four finale. It came after weeks of unrequited love on Robin’s part. We’ll see if their love is able to overcome weird sandwich filling preferences and Hawkins’ general post-apocalyptic vibes. In all seriousness, we hope this ‘ship develops into something real. It’s awesome to see Robin get an arc that’s not wholly dependent on Steve. This ‘ship is just departing from the harbor, and we’ll see how far it sails.
Everyone’s favorite journalism hounds are finally back together, after a season of separation! But things aren’t as picture perfect as they seem. Jonathan is edging dangerously close to Seth Cohen in season three of The OC “not getting into college because of smoking pot” territory. Plus, Nancy seems to have some residual and/or resurgent feelings for Steve. Hate to type it, but this ‘ship feels like it might crash.
The topic of Will Byers’ sexuality ignited discussion among the show’s cast, writers, and fans alike. Will’s emotional arc through season four highlighted his struggle to understand and accept who he is. Part of that struggle was watching his best friend Mike fall in love with Eleven, as Will fell harder for Mike. The scene between Will and Jonathan where Jonathan expressed support for Will demonstrated an emotional peak for the series, and we’re hopeful the next few seasons give Will the time, space, and dignity his character deserves: but we’re not sure that Mike reciprocates the feelings. Or if he ever will. This ‘ship is also in choppy waters.
Even though Mike and Will’s future remains unclear, El and Mike’s relationship saw new tests and stresses in season four. The long distance aspect challenged the pair, and El lying about her new school and “friends” didn’t help, either. But the two clearly still love each other and see the best in one another, and help underscore the themes of love, friendship, and compassion in the series. This ‘ship doesn’t look like it’s going to sink any time soon.
Name two Stranger Things characters with better hair. You can’t! The volume alone is astounding. But in terms of this ‘ship, what’s not to love? Steve and Eddie, a.k.a. Steddie, are a pair of bad boys turned good, like different sides of the same coin. Seeing these two bounce ideas off each other and move past their preconceived notions of the other proved they had shared interest and respect. Unfortunately, Eddie died in the Upside Down so this ‘ship’s future might be nonexistent. But if Eddie were to return… we’d certainly like to explore more of their dynamic and tension.
The perky cheerleader and the weirdo goth boy only shared a few interactions, but many fans felt Chrissy and Eddie also shared sparks. Their Bender and Claire from The Breakfast Club energy plus their tragic fates also enhance the star-crossed lovers sentiments. We’re curious to see how the Upside Down continues to change in the next season, and perhaps this ‘ship could live another day if their characters were revived in some way.
The greatest concern for this ‘ship is Max’s well-being. There’s not a whole lot to talk about when one part of this couple is in a coma. Lucas and Max’s relationship took a backseat to the whole “Max being possessed and almost killed by Vecna” thing. Still, the two found their way back to each other after some pressure, thanks in part to Kate Bush.
The most musically inclined duo in Stranger Things were integral to the season, but barely got any face time together. More musical duets next season, please—and more Suzie backstory! Let this nerdy ‘ship have its moment to shine!
Joyce and Hopper’s relationship has been a slow burn. Their longing added extra emotional oomph to this season of Stranger Things, as Joyce journeyed to Russia to bring Hopper back. After coming face-to-face with Russian bad guys, demogorgons, and demo-dogs, it seems like Hopper and Joyce are now on the path to their very own happy ending back in Hawkins. We hope to see some more smooching and the return of Hopper’s dad bod next season, as this ‘ship heads for smooth waters.
To be honest, Murray doesn’t need to be shipped with anyone. But he did thrive in Russia so well that we had to mention him. And his beloved flame thrower.
If “Running Up That Hill” hasn’t been stuck in your head all summer, you clearly haven’t been on the internet in three months. It’s the TikTok sound that will never die. And it’s the song that saved Max’s life. “Running Up That Hill” now been established as an integral part of the Stranger Things magic.
A friendly reminder: this is not an exhaustive list of every ‘ship in the Stranger Things canon. The internet does not put limits on shipping. And certain as a well timed ‘80s needle drop, Stranger Things will certainly be adding new characters, mixing up the romances, and hurting our hearts in the future. Until then, we’re sailing off into the sunset and thinking about Nancy wrapping a piece of her shirt around Steve again, and hoping for more smooching always.