Stranger Things Season 4 is the gift that keeps on giving: “Running Up That Hill” is now a Zoomer anthem; Eddie Munson has taken over TikTok; insufferable practical effects nerds like me received the gift of Vecna; we weren’t subjected to that many Will and Mike scenes. It’s an embarrassment of riches. But I don’t want to talk about any of that. I want to talk about something miserable instead: Star Wars.

The Elephant In The Room

Living in a post-sequel trilogy world, Star Wars is generally the last thing I want to talk about. Religion, politics, anything but Rey and Luke and Palpatine. So it made me worried when the Star Wars references started popping up in Stranger Things Season 4. As Eleven started following along in Luke Skywalker’s footsteps, I got nervous she’d be led astray.

I didn’t have to worry. The Duffer Brothers have made 80s nostalgia for eight years now, and they’re getting pretty dang good at it. Rare, in a world of non-stop shameless nostalgia baiting, Stranger Things‘ homage to the Empire Strikes Back elevated Season 4 beyond where I expected it to go.

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