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Let's talk about the just-released title of Stranger Things' fourth season premiere

Screenshot: Stranger Things 3 (Netflix)

Did you know yesterday was Stranger Things Day? That’s a thing you can do when you’re one of the most popular series on the planet, just create a holiday for yourself. Of course, November 6 is an important day in the show’s canon, it being the day of Will Byers’ season one disappearance, the inciting incident of the whole series. Netflix, which is easing into production on its fourth season, celebrated in a whole boatload of ways.

There’s blooper reels spanning the first three seasons, for example. Dancing, laughter, and prop malfunctions abound, as does the crushing weight of time that accompanies watching the adorable children of Hawkins grow into gawky, horny teens.

The official Stranger Things Twitter account also unleashed a number of happy day messages from the cast, including ones from Brett Gelman and Millie Bobby Brown, who shares her greeting before jumping down a waterslide in what looks to be the most beautiful, placid place on Earth. Being famous looks cool.

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Most importantly, however, is the below tweet from the Stranger Things writers’ room, which, via a copy of the script for the season four premiere, reveals the title of the episode. “The Hellfire Club.”

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There’s a few different places to go with this:

  • The Hellfire Club” is likely a reference—considering our heroes’ affection for comics—to the fictional society of the same name that appears in the Marvel series. A key component of the 1980 Dark Phoenix saga, the Hellfire Club was partly responsible for manipulating Jean Grey and unleashing her mayhem as the Dark Phoenix. Basically, they help turn a good cosmic force into a bad one, which is not-so-great news for Eleven.
  • This one’s less likely since the book came out in 1997—presumably well before the events of season four—but horror author Peter Straub penned a book called The Hellfire Club about a serial killer in a Northeast town. While the events don’t sound in the style of Stranger Things, our interest was piqued by Straub’s horror bonafides and close friendship with Stephen King, a huge Stranger Things influence, with whom he penned a few novels.
  • There’s also actual Hellfire Clubs, a rumored gathering place of the social and political elite beginning in the 18th century. There, these pillars of society would allegedly engage in some dark, sexual shit. Hellfire Clubs have been linked to something called The Order of the Second Circle, which certainly seems to be a reference to The Inferno’s Second Circle Of Hell, where souls undone by lustful desires were sent to suffer.
  • And, while we’re on the hell bent, let’s remember that the fourth season of Stranger Things will probably take place in the late ‘80s, when the country’s moral arbiters were consumed by satanic panic. Dungeons And Dragons, the gang’s favorite game, was often condemned by religious groups of the time. It’s hard to imagine the Duffer Brothers ignoring this all-consuming era. 
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Might Lucifer himself emerge from the Upside Down? Probably not, but that’d be cool as hell. What do you all think?

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.