What is the Hellfire Club?

One of the ways stranger things places itself firmly in the 1980s through pop culture references, the most prominent of which comes from the nerd culture of the 1980s. Dungeons & Dragons for ghost hunters and, of course, the best Han Solo line in star warsthe stranger things kids love geeky stuff. So it makes sense that many characters wear t-shirts for “The Hellfire Club”. But what exactly is this group?

We got a lot more details about the upcoming release of stranger things 4. We know that the big bad of the season is a character they call “Vecna”, who, like the mind flayer and the gorgon, is a monster of the J&D Manual. So the simplest answer to what The Hellfire Club is that it’s the Dungeons & Dragons Hawkins High School Club. In the final trailer, we see the members playing an intense game of J&Dand it further explains why “Vecna” is at the forefront of their minds when researching a name for the malevolent force coming from the Upside Down.

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Still, there are a few questions. In the final clip, we see Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin, Finn Wolfhard’s Mike, and Priah Ferguson’s Erica Sinclair (who received the Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook in the Season 3 finale). We also see new characters in the club, whose stories we don’t yet know. Notably absent, of course, are Noah Schnapp’s Will Byers and Caleb McLaughlin’s Lucas Sinclair. We also get a glimpse of Hellfire Club’s metal-haired head Eddie Munson, played by Joseph Quinn. He is the master of the game for the club, apparently channeling Matt Mercer from critical role in the final trailer.

There’s another link to geek culture with the name, though it’s perhaps less relevant. The Hellfire Club were a group of villains introduced during Chris Claremont’s breakthrough run on x-men and other mutant books from Marvel Comics. They are an elite group whose Inner Circle gives itself chess-derived codenames like “White Queen” and “Black Bishop”, among others. They exercise control over the political and economic realms of the Marvel Universe. If there is a connection with the stranger things Hellfire Club and that of x-menit’s probably something as simple as that being hence their name.

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Still, the club is probably a big deal for stranger things 4, as the Hellfire Club is probably the version of The Party we’re going to be spending most of our time with in the early episodes. Remember, Will and Mille Bobbie Brown’s Eleven moved last year. We know they end up reuniting at Hawkins, but that club is probably Dustin and Mike’s main social group. In fact, The Hellfire Club is so important that it’s the title of the first episode of stranger things 4.

Finally, The Hellfire Club could exist to show how Will and Eleven got separated from the rest of the gang. The absence of Lucas could also be explained in this way. He may have moved on Dungeons & Dragons, focusing more on sports or other high school extracurricular activities. It can be a very emotional moment in stranger things 4 when these characters are “officially” brought into the club as they face all the horrors the Upside Down unleashes on Hawkins this year.

You can find out what The Hellfire Club is when Stranger Things 4, Vol. 1 premieres on Netflix on May 27, 2022.

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