Season four, volume one available from Fri 27 May
Their sweet romance was a ray of sunshine among the horrors of alternate universe the Upside Down. And, as she joked around with her boyfriend Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) at the end of season three, it seemed Max (Sadie Sink) had begun to come to terms with the death of her stepbrother Billy.
But, as season four opens, both Max and Lucas are struggling, in different ways. ‘We slowly realise Max has isolated herself from her friends,’ says Sadie. ‘She’s drowning in grief and the tremendous guilt she feels over the loss of her brother.’ So, things between her and Lucas have kind of fizzled out.’
With the Byers family and Eleven leaving for California, Lucas seems to be drifting apart from his old friends, as he falls in with a new crowd.
‘This season, Lucas is the most unstable we’ve ever seen him,’ says Caleb. ‘From the first season he seemed like a super-confident kid and loved being a nerd. Now, he’s playing basketball, but I don’t think he actually likes it! He’s going through an identity crisis, which I think is because of what he and his friends have experienced.
‘He realises that Max is facing her own demons, so he’s trying to find stuff that makes him happy – but he’s doing it to try to please people and not himself.’
As well as dealing with high school, hormones and crumbling relationships, the gang have a terrifying new enemy. This season’s monster, Vecna, was heavily influenced by Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare On Elm Street films and Pinhead from the Hellraiser series.
‘This is the first time we’ve seen a threat that’s so human,’ Sadie says.
‘It was so new to be able to scream at something that was talking back to you!’