Major spoilers follow for Stranger Things season 4's finale.
Stranger Things star Sadie Sink doesn't know if her character – Max Mayfield – will be back for the series' fifth and final season.
Speaking to Deadline, Sink confirmed that she hadn't been told whether Max lives or dies after her fateful encounter with Vecna in Stranger Things season 4's final episode. The character was last seen in a medically-induced coma in Hawkins hospital after Vecna's attack resulted in Max actually dying for a whole minute.
However, Eleven used her powers to miraculously revive Max, though it's unclear if Max will ever recover from her wounds – or if she's even alive. Before the credits roll on the season 4 finale, Eleven enters the Void to try and locate Max, but she's unable to. It's possible, then, that Max is braindead and solely being kept alive on a life support machine. And, as Sink revealed, she's as much in dark about the fate of her character as fans of the hugely popular Netflix show are.
Asked if the Duffer brothers, Stranger Things' co-creators, had confirmed whether Max will be back for its fifth and final season, Sink said: "They’ve been very secretive about season five in general. We did have a conversation. They called me before I read the ninth episode because in the script it literally says that Max dies. So they called me beforehand and were like, 'just warning you, this is in there, so you’re not like truly shocked.'
"I have no idea what’s coming in five and what that looks like. Max’s storyline is very up in the air, because obviously she’s in a coma and Eleven can’t find her in the Void. So who knows where she is and what state she’s in."
Ever since Stranger Things season 4 volume 2 landed on Netflix on July 1, fans have been desperate to find out whether Max dies in episode 9. Following the release of volume 2, 'is Max dead in Stranger Things 4' was one of the most searched terms on Google – the query only dropping off on Google Trends over the past 24 hours. Other notable questions included who else perished in the fight against Vecna, and you can read our season 4 volume 2 ending explainer to find out more.
For more Stranger Things content, check out why the hit Netflix series isn't the most popular show of the year so far. Alternatively, watch the Stranger Things musical mash up that work extremely well as an actual Broadway show.
Analysis: will Max survive her ordeal and appear in season 5?
It would make for a shocking entry point to Stranger Things season 5 if Max doesn't survive. After all, the Duffer brothers have suggested that the show's final season will feature a sizable time jump (per TVLine), so we should expect a year or two to have passed before we're reunited with Eleven and company.
It's possible, then, that Hawkins hospital's doctors may have told our heroes that there's nothing they could do for Max and, subsequently, have turned her life support machine off. How emotional would it be if season 5 kicked off with her funeral? It would be a big gut punch to fans hoping she would've pulled through, plus it would give the likes of Eleven and Lucas something more to fight for ahead of their final showdown with the Upside Down, Vecna, and the Mind Flayer/The Shadow.
Alternatively, season 5 could open with Max in her comatose state and the gang fighting to keep her life support systems on despite hospital staff admitting that there's little they can do for her. Given her fan favorite status, and the significant role Max has played in the series thus far, this would be the more likely scenario out of two we've suggested.
If the Duffer brothers opt for the latter of these options, it would allow them to use Max in a similar way to Will. As the season 4 finale revealed, Will still has a connection to the Upside Down from earlier in the series. If Max wakes from her coma, maybe she'll develop a connection to the Upside Down (or maybe Vecna specifically if she's the sole survivor of one of his attacks) that'll be vital in helping Eleven and company defeat the show's antagonistic forces once and for all.
It'll be a while before we find our for sure. In her chat with Deadline, Sink confirmed she didn't know when filming would begin on Stranger Things season 5, before saying she didn't think the Duffer brothers "would rush" writing its scripts. The wait for answers surrounding Max's fate, then, will go on for some time.