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Max Is Alive Inside Vecna: Dark Stranger Things Theory Sets Up Season 5

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Max’s apparent fate at the end of Stranger Things season 4 was quite grim, but this theory suggests her situation is actually much worse.

While Max is technically alive after Stranger Things season 4, there’s a chance her true situation may be a fate worse than death. Played by Sadie Sink, who also starred in Netflix’s popular Fear Street movie trilogy, Max became a fan favorite fairly quickly following her introduction in Stranger Things season 2. Max won viewers over with her sharp wit, tough and resilient nature, and willingness to put her life on the line alongside her friends.

After watching her brother Billy die at the end of Stranger Things season 3 though, season 4 saw Max behave differently, spending most of her time in a depressed and brooding state. Max partially blamed herself for Billy’s death at the hands of The Mind Flayer, believing for some reason that she could have done something to help him. In reality, without Billy’s intervention, it is likely Max would have been killed—but grieving is usually not a process that operates on logic.

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Related: No, Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 Didn’t Justify Its Extreme Runtimes

By the end of Stranger Things season 4, Max’s trusty Kate Bush song did not win the day, and she wound up being killed by Vecna as the final sacrifice he intended to use to open a massive rift to The Upside Down. While Max did briefly die, Eleven used her powers to somehow resurrect Max—but with a catch. The resurrected Max remains in a coma; one that El seemingly cannot wake her from. Things seem grim, but there is still hope Stranger Things season 5 will rescue Max and at least partially restore her to pre-Vecna condition. The catch is that actually doing that will likely involve playing a dangerous game with One himself.


What Happened To Max In Stranger Things Season 4

Vecna’s first few victims during Stranger Things season 4 are characters the audience is just meeting, and thus does not have much invested in. That all changes when Max begins seeing Vecna’s grandfather clock hallucination, followed by glimpses of Billy that show him blaming her for his death. Her guilt allows Vecna a doorway into Max’s mind on which to seize. She is able to stave him off for a long time with the use of her favorite song, “Running Up That Hill”, the Stranger Things season 4 hit by Kate Bush, but is eventually forced to abandon that tactic.

Unfortunately, for the group’s unlikely plan to take out Vecna to work, Max needs to offer herself up as bait—which of course goes horribly, horribly wrong. Max rises into the sky, her limbs begin to snap, and she goes blind. Max briefly dies and the portal begins to open to The Upside Down, but Eleven throws a monkey wrench in Vecna’s plan by bringing Max back to life. Once she reaches the hospital, El enters Max’s mind clearly hoping she will be able to find and retrieve her. Instead, she is met with a black void, one which offers a terrifying implication.

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Why Max Isn’t There When Eleven Enters Her Mind

Max not being present in her own mind when Eleven enters could be considered a representation of her being brain dead after her ordeal, but there is another altogether more upsetting implication to consider. As much as Stranger Things deals with the supernatural, the concept of religion or the afterlife is not something it has really broached. However, if Max does indeed have a soul, for lack of a better term, it may have left her body when she died. Whether it’s her soul, life essence, mind, consciousness—however Stranger Things wants to depict the concept, it is likely under the thumb of Vecna, aka Henry Creel.


Related: Stranger Things Season 4’s Plot Holes & Headscratchers

When Dr. Brenner insists to El that she is not ready to fight Vecna he tells her that One does not just kill people, he consumes them. He takes everything from his victims. In this case, the “everything” Vecna took was what makes Max the person her friends know and love. The moment she died, Max’s essence left her body and became the property of Vecna, explaining why Max is not there to greet Eleven inside her own mind. Sadly, Max could be trapped in a state arguably worse than death, as it’s unlikely that Vecna/One/Henry is making her stay a pleasant one.

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How Eleven Could Save Max From Vecna In Stranger Things 5

If this particular Stranger Things season 4 theory pans out, Max is trapped inside Vecna somehow. The physics of that are hard to contemplate, but clearly, anything can happen in the town of Hawkins, Indiana. What matters is that Max is in trouble, and she needs to be rescued during Stranger Things season 5. The only one suited for the job is again Eleven, her powers hopefully honed further during whatever time jump period has been teased by the Duffer Brothers. El will need to enter the most twisted mind of all and explore through it until she is able to locate Max and bring her back across the mental plane to her own body.

Stranger Things’ former Henry Creel will of course not make that an easy task, and will certainly try to claim Eleven for himself while she is visiting. It may also take convincing to get through to Max, as whatever time she has spent in Vecna’s clutches may have rendered her a bit mad. If Eleven does succeed in bringing back Max to her body during Stranger Things season 5 though, there is still the question of her physical state. While broken limbs can heal, Max’s blindness will likely require a remedy of the supernatural sort, provided there is a remedy at all. After spending time in a coma, Max will also likely need to undergo months of physical rehab to get back to normal, if she ever truly can. Still, it beats being Vecna’s prisoner any longer than necessary.


More: Did Stranger Things Get Its Will Byers Gay Scene Right? It’s Complicated

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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