Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t binged Stranger Things season 4 yet, what are you doing?! The first volume of the fourth season is full of haunted houses, D&D, Russian prisons and a curse that almost brought down Max herself!

What Happens to Max in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4, Volume 1?

In the beginning of season 4, Max is dealing with the ramifications of last season and the death of her step-brother, Billy. Her grief is so severe she refuses help from the people around her, breaks up with Lucas and isolates herself in remorse. All of this makes her a very easy target for season 4’s villain, Vecna.

Vecna is a monster within the Upside Down that can manifest waking nightmares onto his victims, called “Vecna’s Curse,” killing them while they are left paralyzed in fear. It is later revealed that Vecna’s victims are people who have gone through grief, trauma and have nightmares of their own that the Upside Down monster can easily grasp onto — making Max a perfect target. Max soon discovers Vecna has targeted her with only a day left until the curse takes hold.

Frightened but knowing the Hawkins gang can’t break the curse, Max resigns herself to death. She writes letters to each of her friends to read after she’s gone and reads her final letter to Billy’s grave before the curse takes over. However, with the assistance of Lucas, Steve and Dustin, Max escapes out of the Upside Down using music (Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” which is now a trending song on TikTok). And she’s done it: Max is the first of Vecna’s victims to defeat the curse.

Did Max Die in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4, Volume 1?

Short answer: no. Max did not die in season 4, volume 1, but she definitely got very close!

“It was discussed as a possibility,” the show’s co-creator Ross Duffer shared during the Stranger Things after show in July 2022. “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 OK, we just don’t really know. We wanted to leave it up in the air moving forward into season 5.”

Who Dies in 'Stranger Things'? Major Character Deaths Explained
Courtesy of Netflix

Does Max Die in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4, Volume 2?

Don’t breathe a sigh of relief, yet! Stranger Things season 4, volume 2 premieres on July 1, 2022, and a lot of fans are already theorizing that one of the main characters is going to meet their demise. Could it be Max?!

Twitter user @rossimilanova theorizes that the letters Max wrote to her friends anticipating her death serve as actual goodbye notes if she indeed turns up dead in volume two. “I think Max will actually die. They gave us a false sense of security and all the characters still have unopened letters. It’s a perfect setup for a heartbreaking death,” she wrote. This is all too reminiscent of Hopper’s letter to Eleven after his presumed death in the season three finale, and we are not ready!

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