Stranger Things Season 5: Is Linda Hamilton Playing Someone We Know?

Terminator star Linda Hamilton will be appearing in Stranger Things season 5. We think her time travel experience might come in use.

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Charile Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Eduardo Franco as Argye, and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers in STRANGER THINGS.
Photo: Netflix

Stranger Things is in the midst of yet another multiple-year hiatus, and with the Writers Guild of America strike still going strong, it looks like we won’t be seeing the conclusion to the Hawkins saga for quite some time. We’ll take any crumbs we can that fall from the Upside Down, and Netflix was kind enough to provide those to fans at their Tudum 2023 event this past weekend. With Arnold Schwarzenegger at the microphone and fans on the edge of their seats for any information on the fifth season, The Terminator actor bellowed to the audience that his former co-star in the famous James Cameron science fiction franchise, Linda Hamilton, would be appearing next season in the Duffer Brothers’ series climactic set of episodes. 

There was no further information given about the Sarah Connor actress’ role in the season, but we can assume that it will be more than a small cameo. Stranger Things has made incredible use of several other 1980s movie stars throughout the previous four seasons. 

Winona Ryder has given a career-defining performance as Joyce Byers. Sean Astin played Joyce’s boyfriend, Bob, in the second season of the show. Robert Englund gave a chilling turn as Victor Creel in the most recent season of the series. When the Duffers task an iconic retro actor to get involved with the show, they often leave a memorable mark on the audience. But with so little tangible information about the fifth season of Stranger Things, fans are left to create their own theories on how Hamilton will factor into the story. This is especially true since Hamilton’s appearance is already somewhat of a little white lie: the Duffers had originally said no new characters would be introduced in season five. 

Is Linda Hamilton Going to Play Eleven in the Future? 

With nothing canonical in the universe right now to restrict our imaginations, any theory is fair game. Our favorite prediction for who Linda Hamilton will play is Eleven in a time jump or a flash forward. Stranger Things hasn’t let anyone else play Eleven yet besides the prodigal Millie Bobby Brown, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. 

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The show was very willing to operate on a floating timeline in the fourth season, especially as the origins of Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) started to get revealed and the show jumped between 1959 when Henry Creel (Raphael Luce) murdered his family, and 1986 when he is terrorizing Hawkins yet again with his eerie powers of telekinesis. We also know the Upside Down is stuck on November 6, 1983, the day Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) went missing in the pilot episode of the series. If this alternate universe can stay frozen in the past, it could also teleport to the future.

Still, introducing a time travel element that gives us a look into the characters’ futures would be a novel concept for Stranger Things, but there are a few clues indicating it would fit into the final season puzzle. Linda Hamilton’s past is obviously inundated with time traveling implications when she appeared in The Terminator. The Duffers have used other guest actors’ resumes to build their own story, such as when the fourth season was reminiscent of A Nightmare on Elm Street, replete with the aforementioned Robert Englund appearing. Hamilton’s casting could symbolize a symmetrical thematic component just as Englund’s indicated that telekinesis would be a major plot thread in season four. 

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Eleven may have to leverage the power of her future to defeat Vecna in the past. This would rid Hawkins of Vecna’s evil once and for all, and also make the town’s history clear of any morbidity no matter what year the population is placed into. Hamilton is an absolute badass, an iconic female force of Hollywood that certainly blazed a trail for strong characters in the vein of Eleven in the present day. Using Hamilton to bridge the gap between these two pioneers of science fiction femininity would be *chef’s kiss*

Maybe all of this is wishful thinking on our part, and Hamilton will play a more non-consequential character like Joyce’s mother or a member of Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan’s (Sherman Augustus) U.S. military caravan. The Duffers have a frustrating habit of incorporating too many side characters on a season by season basis, shortening the screen time of some of our favorite OGs. Even though tone, special effects, and scares are a part of the Stranger Things equation, the characters are always the answer. They are the lifeblood of this special show, the reason it will live on forever. Hopefully Hamilton’s character is yet another one we will look back at fondly after the show has entered its curtain call.