This time travel theory was posted on Reddit and pointed out a critical scene in season 4's last episode The Piggyback. It reads,
"When Nancy and Steve are talking in the woods in The Upside-Down, Steve says ‘when I was a baby, I actually crawled backwards'. Nancy says ‘crawled backwards?’ And then Steve replies 'you know, I'd push with my hand like this. Beep. Beep. Always in reverse, you know'. We know season 5's first episode is named The Crawl. I know there are a lot of theories about many monsters crawling out of the gate as Nancy saw in her vision, but my theory is that maybe time will be reversed to the same day Will went missing - like time is paused in that exact same day in the upside-down."
Back in 2022, the title of the first episode was revealed to be "The Crawl" which could be a direct reference to the conversation between Nancy and Steve in the Upside Down. Moreover, the Duffer Brothers have also revealed that season 5 is like season 1 on steroids.
The script for the opening scene of season 5 has also been revealed as it reads,
The sound of COLD WIND. GROANING TREES. And...
A CHILD'S VOICE. Singing a familiar song:
Many fans have speculated that the opening scene of season 5 could potentially depict a flashback to the moment when Will Byers was initially taken to the Upside Down in the first season. If it turns out to be accurate, it would provide significant support for the overarching time-jumping theory that has been circulating among viewers.
However, there are some flaws in the theory as the cast looks much older now as compared to season 1. While de-aging techniques are a possibility, there may be limitations to their effectiveness in convincingly portraying the characters at a younger age.
One user pointed out that "The Crawl" could be a reference to Dungeons and Dragons. In the DnD terminology, The Crawl is a massive map with lots of loot and enemies, but no pre-determined path or story.
While we won't know for sure if it will happen in the final season, it's certainly enjoyable to delve into these theories and imagine the potential directions the show could take.
Meanwhile, the filming for the final season of Stranger Things is going on in Atlanta. The leaks from the sets have revealed the first looks of Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo and others.