Stranger Things 4: Everything we know about the next season on Netflix – CNET

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Stranger Things fans are awaiting season four.

Netflix

Warning: Spoilers for previous seasons of Stranger Things ahead.

Stranger Things is coming back for a fourth season, but no one knows quite when that will be. Although the coronavirus outbreak is easing in the US, the show’s schedule remains up in the air. New tidbits keep leaking out, but no one has announced the date for the new season yet. But one thing we do know: Before the pandemic hit, creators Matt and Ross Duffer signed a multiyear film and series deal with Netflix, so viewers eventually will be treated to more from the twin imaginations that created the spooky show.

In June, the show’s official Twitter account revealed four new characters for the next season. The photos were tweeted upside down, in honor (we guess?) of the show’s terrifying underworld, the Upside Down.

Band nerd Vickie will be played by Amybeth McNulty, basketball player Patrick by Myles Truitt, guidance counselor Ms. Kelly by Regina Ting Chen and cheerleader Chrissy by Grace Van Dien.

Trailers offer a preview

Leaving Hawkins?

The first teaser for the new season has creepy music and eerie looks at the rot-filled Upside Down. That teaser includes text saying, “We’re not in Hawkins anymore,” which fits in with plot rumors (see below) hinting the show will explore new settings.

A creepy clock appears in the teaser, leading to theories that Stranger Things might somehow bend and move through time. (If this happens, can we bring back Barb, or save Hopper’s deceased daughter?)

Eleven’s past

In May, Netflix released a trailer focusing on Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), the show’s first breakout star. If you remember, Eleven was held prisoner with a group of other kids and tested for her supernatural powers in some kind of weird experiment. The scene flashes back to her time in captivity, as Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) greets a bunch of children.

The basics

Stranger Things captivated the streaming world when it debuted in 2016. Set in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, the show begins with the disappearance of a kid named Will Byers. Researchers at Hawkins National Laboratory have opened a gate to the creepy alternate dimension known as the Upside Down and are experimenting on a group of special children, one of whom, known as Eleven, escapes and befriends Will’s group.

Part of the show’s charm is its varied young cast, who feel like real friends, and its nostalgic setting.

How to watch

Get yourself a Netflix subscription to ensure you get all the new episodes plus access to the first three seasons.

The service offers a free one-month trial, so if you sign up close to the new season’s premiere, whenever that is, you can soak it up with previous years’ seasons and then cancel your membership without cost.

Release date, production info

Work on the show appears to have begun in late 2019, with the cast joining up in February 2020 — only to be sent home in mid-March to shelter in place. Star Gaten Matarazzo said in June 2020 that original hopes for a two-week break stretched into months. The show resumed production in September 2020.

Star Finn Wolfhard said in April that the next season will come out in 2022. Long breaks between seasons are nothing new to Stranger Things fans even before the coronavirus. There were 15 months between seasons 1 and 2, and 20 months between seasons 2 and 3.

Duffers

Matt and Ross Duffer, creators of Stranger Things, have signed a multi-series deal with Netflix.

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix

Except for the hints that have been revealed in the show’s trailers, not much has been revealed about the upcoming season. In November 2019, the show’s writers tweeted out a photo of the cover of the first season-four script. The episode is called The Hellfire Club, which is also the name of a supervillain group in the X-Men comics.

Cast: Who’s who?

The biggest casting question seems to have been answered: A scene in the third-season finale mentioning an imprisoned American seemed to hint Police Chief Hopper survived the bleak events of that episode. Hopper then appeared in a season 4 teaser released in February 2020, which was among the last details given by the show before filming went on hiatus. We told you above about the four new characters announced in June 2020. Here’s a look at the rest of the cast.

Likely to return

Plot news, rumors and theories

Hopper in Russia

When the third season ended, the fate of Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) looked like a cliffhanger. He appeared to have been dead, but then viewers discovered that there’s an American held in a Russian prison where unluckier inmates are fed to a demogorgon. 

Then, in February, that hint was confirmed. An official teaser set in a Russian prison camp shows what appear to be heavily armed Russian guards overseeing prisoners building a railroad across a snowy landscape. Hopper, shaved head and all, appears at the very end of the 45-second clip. We knew he wasn’t really gone — what would the kids and Joyce do without him?

The directors speak

When Matt and Ross Duffer spoke to Entertainment Weekly, Ross Duffer addressed the importance of the American in the Russian prison, saying that plot line is “obviously going to play a huge role in a potential season four.” (WELL, DUH!) 

His brother Matt hints at other towns like Hawkins with creepy labs and access to alternate dimensions. “I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s going to open up a little bit,” he said. “Not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing plot lines into areas outside of Hawkins.” And speaking of moving outside of Hawkins…

Eleven as the Big Bad

Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown, has been one of the show’s main heroic characters since the beginning. A theory discussed on Reddit claims El could have been infected by the Mind Flayer and could be used in the same way the creature manipulated creepy Billy in season 3. 

Movin’ on up

In that final season 3 episode, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), her sons and Eleven, who seems to have been taken in by Joyce after Hopper’s possible demise, are moving.  Where are they off to? Joyce, Will, Jonathan and Eleven all need to stay close to the other kids, and it would be so sad if the friend group was split between two different school systems.

’80s events

We’d seem to be on track for a 1986 season next. 1986 has some big pop culture and news events that could play well into a show like this, including the Chernobyl disaster. Considering the Russians were heavily involved in season three, could Chernobyl itself be worked into the show’s mythology? In lighter news, maybe El and Mike could go see Pretty in Pink or Top Gun, and the kids could learn how to Walk Like An Egyptian.

This article was first published on Aug. 12 and will be updated as news is revealed.

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