It’s been a long month-long wait for Volume 2 of Stranger Things season 4, and fans have come up with incredible and thought-provoking theories. One of the most interesting and heartbreaking season 4 fan theories is that Karen Wheeler may be one of the upcoming deaths in the final episodes of the season.
Karen wasn’t seen much in Volume 1 since most of the action was far away from the Wheeler house. However, unlike the other parents, Karen is one of the cast members with a season 4 poster. Underneath a photo of Mrs. Wheeler sits Creel House, just like in the posters for Nancy, Steve, Max, Lucas, Dustin, Robin, Erica, and Eddie.
Going into Volume 2, Karen has no idea what Creel House is and what it could mean for Hawkins. Vecna has been terrorizing Hawkins with the deaths of Chrissy, Fred, and Patric. This has caused mass panic amongst the parents and citizens of Hawkins, and Eddie is the prime suspect.
There’s definitely a reason why Karen has her own poster. Could she find out about the Upside Down in Volume 2? It’s highly likely. If she goes looking for the kids, she could wind up at Creel House, putting her right in Vecna’s grasp. Vecna would definitely have a reason to go after Karen, and not just because she’s someone who means a lot to Nancy, Mike, and the others.
Vecna’s victims in Hawkins have been people experiencing extreme guilt or trauma of some sort. Max has felt immense guilt over Billy’s death, while Fred was in a similar situation after his involvement in a car accident that killed another student.
Karen Wheeler could be dealing with her own guilt regarding Billy. She was planning on having an affair with Max’s brother, but when she saw her husband and daughter asleep in the living room, she decided not to go. The guilt over nearly destroying her family could still be weighing on her, especially since Billy is now dead.
In one of the trailers for Stranger Things season 4, Karen can be seen clutching Holly and looking absolutely terrified. Brenner has warned Eleven that “Hawkins will fall,” and that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trailer moment could indicate that’s the case. There’s also a glimpse of a person wearing light-colored pants being lifted into the air by Vecna. Both Nancy and Karen were wearing white and gray pants the last time they were onscreen.
Stranger Things fans have been warned about deaths in Volume 2. Noah Schnapp recently said on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, “We got some deaths coming.” While fans have been mostly theorizing about the kids and older teens, citizens of Hawkins could be on the chopping block, especially if Vecna makes his way to the real world. Out of all the parents, Karen’s death would hit the hardest (besides Joyce and Hopper, of course). All will be revealed in due time when Volume 2 is released July 1 on Netflix.