The plot for Stranger Things season 4 remains a well-NDA’d enigma, but little details here and there are slowly coming out by way of Easter eggs, mysterious teasers, and now, an episode title. Earlier this week, the show’s writer’s room tweeted a photo of the title page for season 4 episode 1, “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club,” along with the caption “looking for new members… are you in?”
The Hellfire Club is, of course, an X-Men reference. (Which is itself a reference to 18th century secret societies. In conclusion: Nothing is new.) The originating version in Chris Claremont’s run presents them as a group of four power-hungry moneyed elites in opposition to the more “common” X-Men.
The kids from Stranger Things are getting a rival gang, aren’t they?
looking for new members… are you in? pic.twitter.com/P1xAWNUPss
— Stranger Writers (@strangerwriters) November 7, 2019
In X-Men, they’re a secret society of power-hungry elites who fight the titular mutants. This, plus the writers’ cryptic caption, got us thinking that the show is clearly setting up a rival gang, which will either call themselves The Hellfire Club (which seems unlikely) or be dubbed as such by our motley crew of heroes.
This bit of speculation is supported somewhat by (unconfirmed) news that four new male characters would be joining the cast. According to TVLine, one of them will be an adult, but the other three will be teens: a jock, a metalhead, and a quasi-stoner. It seems very likely that our motley and heavily-referential crew of heroes ends up dubbing these newcomers “the Hellfire Club”.
In the X-Men’s Hellfire Club, the Lords Cardinal consist of three guys and one gal: Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, Harry Leland, and Emma Frost. (Frost eventually went on to become a central character in the X-Men comics, and has formed and lead several teams of X-Men at this point.) If Stranger Things is really gunning for the comparison, then that means there’s one more female character who has yet to be revealed.