Stranger Things ended its third season with a giant shift in the fabric of the party. And Hawkins, Indiana looked considerably worse for wear. On July 5, 1985, the town woke up to find the local mall in ruins, a Russian infiltration campaign had nearly come to fruition, and a number of people including the sheriff and newspaper editorial board among others were presumed dead. But at least one character who appeared to meet his demise is coming back for Season Four.
Billy “The Bully” Hargrove was among those included in the Stranger Things town’s carnage at the end of the season, last seen impaled in the mall’s food court. He’d been possessed for almost the entirety of the season after an unexpected trip to the Upside Down. After this, he began causing considerable demon-like pain to the party (and many others in the town) beyond just the normal bullying wear and tear. He’d become the face of evil over the course of the season until the final meeting in the mall. It was there he found some redemption after Eleven was essentially able to free him from the demons and he gave his life to protect the party.
The tweet from actor Dacre Montgomery (who has a massive Twitter following) suggests that this might not be the end of the line for the Billy character. The tweeted picture, which also tagged a Stranger Things makeup artist, looks like he’s back with the Billy hairstyle and ready to return to the cast. It’s a somewhat surprising bit of news considering what we already know about the fourth season.
We already knew Jim Hopper would make his return after speculation he was the mystery prisoner in the Russian cell during the post-credits scene. That much was confirmed in a Stranger Things mini-trailer featuring a shaved-head Hopper working along a frozen Russian tundra as part of a prison crew. His story hasn’t ended yet, which isn’t all that surprising all things considered.
But we also know that Stranger Things and the Duffer Brothers haven’t been shy about killing off characters permanently before. Barbara met her demise in Season One, being one of the first to take the awful trip to the hellish Upside Down. And the loveable Bob Newby (Sean Astin) didn’t survive a run-in with the devil dogs to end Season Two. So I don’t think anyone was expecting Billy to make a comeback here.
How Billy fits into the next season remains to be seen. We already know the world is expanding with Eleven joining the Byers family in a move out of town. And the aforementioned Hopper is on a different continent altogether. But Mike, Dustin, and Lucas remain behind in Hawkins along with Max who we thought had lost her half-brother at the end of last season.
It stands to reason that Billy comes back in the form of a flashback, or some part of him was left in the Upside Down. It’s hard to imagine he fully comes back to life in his previous (hunky lifeguard) form, but this is Stranger Things we are talking about. Almost anything is possible in a world that doesn’t play by conventional rules.
The answers will have to wait for now. Filming for Stranger Things Season Four was stalled due to pandemic shutdowns and only restarted this month. It will probably be until at least July 2021 before we find out the fate of Billy and others.