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The Duffer Brothers Confirm What We Suspected About The Original Stranger Things 4 Ending

The following article contains spoilers for the "Stranger Things" Season 4 finale.

"Stranger Things" Season 4 was a fairly massive departure from what fans have seen out of the series in the past. While the show has always utilized monsters and horror to great effect, the most recent season upped the ante. Its primary antagonist, Vecna, was a genuine threat to behold. He wasn't merely a beast roaming through Hawkins, finding his next victim. He's a hyper-intelligent being who stalks his prey, being more akin to something like Freddy Krueger than a werewolf. 

Fortunately, the Hawkins kids were able to delay his grand master plan just a little bit longer by defeating him in Season 4's final episode ... but only at a high cost. Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) gave his life to distract the Upside Down bats long enough for his friends to take out Vecna. And Max (Sadie Sink) almost died by offering herself as bait to lure Vecna into the open. She got close to meeting her final fate as Vecna forces her into the air and breaks her bones. Fortunately, Eleven was able to break through and stop him before he could finish. 

The last we see of Max, she's in the hospital, badly injured but alive. As such, it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear there was almost a much darker ending for Max planned.

Max was originally supposed to die at the end of Stranger Things Season 4

Technically, Max did die in the "Stranger Things" Season 4 finale. As mentioned in dialogue after the fact, Max was gone for a full minute until Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) was able to revive her. However, if those behind the scenes had gotten their original wish, Max may have stayed dead after that haunting moment. 

The creators behind the show, the Duffer Brothers, have opened up about the alternate ending and what inspired them to pursue such a route potentially. "It was discussed as a possibility," Ross Duffer stated. "For a while that is what was going to happen. But we ended up in this ... we wanted to end it with a little more of a question at the end of the season. It's still really dark and if Max is going to be okay, we just don't really know. We wanted to leave it up in the air moving forward into Season 5" (via Variety).

Ultimately, the Duffers mentioned how they wanted the kids to lose this time around. While they defeat Vecna, they've suffered heavy losses, and by the looks of the final shot of the season, the Upside Down has begun to bleed into their world. Matt Duffer goes on to say, "We wanted them to actually lose. We wanted our characters to experience what that felt like. That was the big idea coming into Season 4, that they were going to lose. We were going to introduce Vecna and they were going to lose to him. That sets our characters up for what will be the ultimate final confrontation with Vecna and with the Upside Down in Season 5." It may take a while for "Stranger Things" Season 5 to come to fruition, but at least fans can rest easy knowing Max is alive ... for the time being.