Editor’s Note: Bustle will not include the alleged spoilers in this story.
After nearly three years of waiting for new Stranger Things episodes, Season 4 is finally slated to drop on Netflix in two volumes — the first on May 27 and the second on July 1. The season will be different from the rest because the paranormal-busting gang will be separated for the very first time as they all enter high school (there’s even a mysterious new club called the Hellfire Club). And more importantly, there’s a scary new villain taunting Hawkins. The trailer is also particularly spooky, proving this penultimate season is the darkest to come out of the sci-fi series.
While fans have been waiting patiently for Season 4, a new board game seems to have already spoiled some of the plot. According to The Hollywood Reporter, photos from an official Stranger Things Monopoly game reportedly revealed major plot points in Season 4. Per a Reddit thread, one user claimed “the game is an officially licensed product distributed by a nationally recognized retailer and purchased fair and square by a consumer. Nobody stole it; nobody leaked a sample.”
In the same thread, some commenters speculated how that could’ve happened, including a mixup in timing. One Reddit user said it could have been a byproduct of delays. “They sign contracts for release dates on merchandise. So if the release date is moved they have to amend all the contracts, and that requires both parties to agree on a new date,” the user surmised. Another user, however, lamented the many spoilers this season, complaining that this isn’t the first instance Season 4 has been spoiled by games. “From the uno cards, puzzles, and now monopoly,” one user said, referencing the times official Stranger Things merchandise included unreleased images.
Avid Stranger Things fans are particularly shrewd, so plotlines have been particularly hush-hush. Even the stars were extremely cautious of not sharing any spoilers at the Season 4 premiere. So when the leak came out, the show’s creators, The Duffer Brothers, were especially upset. Per THR’s sources, the creators weren’t consulted about the game and had a “total meltdown.”
Their reaction is understandable since The Duffer Brothers approached writing this season differently. According to a Collider interview with Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson on the show, the Duffer Brothers were still writing some of the previous seasons’ plot points while filming was underway. “How it’s always worked out is we’re on like Episode 4 or 5 and we haven’t seen Episode 6 and 7 yet, and we have no idea what’s gonna happen and they haven’t written all of it yet,” Matarazzo said. Calling it “non-stop panic-writing,” he added that The Duffer Brothers would direct and then “write at home.” But with lockdown delays, the creators got to focus on completing the story first. Matarazzo called the change a “good thing,” since “now they can take their focus off of what the show is going to be about, and now that they know it, they can focus on how they’re going to deliver. And I think it shows.”
The streaming giant will likely be stricter with all partnerships moving forward. According to THR, a source said the leak could be attributed to the sheer magnitude of the Stranger Things franchise. This project — one of many — could’ve just fallen through the cracks. The source said, “Lessons have been learned and, I expect, there will be more cohesion going into Season 5.”