Stranger Things 3 hit Netflix in July 2019, bringing the same ’80s immersion and heart as previous seasons. Gorier and gooier than ever, the season also features plenty of good goofs while introducing new, great characters like Robin (Maya Hawke) and Alexei (Alec Utgoff). While Season 3 had a pretty definitive conclusion, the series’ infinitely bingeable quality left us wanting more.
Luckily, this isn’t the end of Stranger Things. The season’s post-credits scene raised more questions than it answered while also expanding the scope of the series outside the isolated boundaries of Hawkins, Indiana. It’s hard to believe that Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Will, Lucas, Steve, and the rest of the crew are free from their supernatural escapes, so here’s everything we know about Stranger Things 4 so far.
When will Stranger Things 4 premiere?
Despite TV Line reporting back in October 2019 that the new season was slated to start filming in January 2020 and wrap by August, not even our friends in Hawkins could defeat the coronavirus, and Stranger Things was one of the many series that Netflix halted production on in mid-March. It took awhile to get an official update on the series, but according to Deadline and social media posts from Netflix, it resumed filming in late September.
Considering the Duffer Brothers mentioned in an interview to Deadline earlier in the year that they had already completed three weeks of shooting, it’s fair to assume that by now they’re well into production and shouldn’t have too much left to film in the remainder of 2020 or early 2021. It seems likely we’ll be getting new episodes sometime in mid-2021-or hey, even Halloween.
How many episodes will there be in Stranger Things 4?
While nothing has been formally announced, it looks there will be eight installments in Season 4, based on IMDb. That sounds about right, since that’s the episode count the series usually goes with, aside from Season 2 which had nine.
Who will return for Stranger Things 4?
It was pretty much always a given that the core A/V Club crew and their teenaged friends were going to be back, but based on a sweet homemade video that Netflix shared of the cast’s first table read, it looks like just about everyone is returning for Season 4. Of the main cast, you can expect to see Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Noah Schnapp (Will), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Natalia Dyer (Nancy), Winona Ryder (Joyce), Joe Keery (Steve), Sadie Sink (Max), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan), and Maya Hawke (Robin). Lucas’ younger sister Erica will also be back and given more time to make scathing, sassy remarks, as Priah Ferguson has been upped to series regular, per Deadline. The same goes for everybody’s favorite conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman-Deadline reported Brett Gelman is also now signed on as a regular. Sadly, his bromance with Alexei (RIP Alexei) is obviously no more.
Last season tried to play with fans’ heartstrings when it didn’t seem clear whether or not David Harbour’s Hopper was really dead, but don’t you worry: It’s confirmed that he’s returning. Monsters from the Upside Down haven’t gotten to him yet. (It’s the Russians he has to worry about-more on that below.)
Are there any new cast members?
With each new season, the sci-fi series tends to introduce fans to new characters-some of which including Season 3’s Robin (Maya Hawke) and (RIP) Bob Newby (Sean Astin) becoming fan favorites. Season 4 is no different, with more than a few additions joining the cast; Deadline reported a handful in late November.
As the show frequently casts ’80s staples, from star Winona Ryder to recurring appearances by Cary Elwes and Paul Reiser, another legend is joining this time around. Robert Englund, who’s played who’s played Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise for years, is a new cast member playing Victor Creel, a man who’s been committed to a psychiatric hospital since the ’50s for a gruesome murder. At the hospital, he’ll appear opposite Jamie Campbell Bower (The Mortal Instruments, The Twilight Saga) who’s portraying Peter Ballard, a caring orderly.
Aside from that new setting, Stranger Things is also headed to Siberia where we’ll meet some new faces including Dmitri, a charming, potentially trustworthy guard played by Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones), and Yuri, a Russian smuggler portrayed by Serbian actor Nikola Djuricko.
Perhaps the most interesting announcement was Joseph Quinn’s (Catherine the Great, Overlord) casting, as he’ll be taking on Eddie Munson, a metalhead who runs the official D&D club at Hawkins High, The Hellfire Club. According to Deadline, “Eddie will find himself at the terrifying epicenter of this season’s mystery,” so figure him a major character this next season.
Plus, a few more newbies include Sherman Augustus (Westworld) portraying Lt. Colonel Sullivan, a no-nonsense man trying to wrangle in the evil plaguing Hawkins, and Mason Dye, a handsome high school jock whose life starts to unravel at the hands of the darkness pervading town. Also, Eduardo Francho (Booksmart) is likely the latest pal in the main crew, as he’ll be portraying a friend of Jonathan’s named Argyle, a stoner and employee at Surfer Boy Pizza. Many bitchin’ developments.
What is the plot of Stranger Things 4?
Back when Netflix announced that Season 4 was a go, they made it clear that the upcoming installment was going to be bigger than ever by declaring: “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.” It’s cryptic, but also literal since the sci-fi series is headed to Russia to combat the Ruskies, on top of creatures from the other realm. Last season ended with Hopper maybe killed by a demogorgeon-but without a body to prove it-or potentially transported to Russia, as seen by the wild post-credits scene that revealed Upside Down monsters and an “American” were stuck in a USSR government building. In February 2019, Stranger Things cleared up any lasting worries that the creature-fighting cop was dead by dropping a teaser showing Hopper forced to work at some sort of Russian labor camp. You may recall back in Season 1 that the reason Eleven accidentally opened up the portal to the Upside Down in Hawkins Lab was that American government officials wanted to use her and others like her to spy on the Soviets. So, it seems like the series is returning to that grand plot now with Hopper over there and the US’ Cold War enemies in their own alternative dimension pickle.
When the teaser dropped, the Duffer Brothers said, “We’re excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway-and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper. Although it’s not all good news for our ‘American’; he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human…and other. Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything.”
They echoed that sentiment yet again, more recently in fall 2020, saying to Deadline that Season 4 will feature “a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything.” We can only begin brainstorming what that might mean, but based on the details revealed in the news of additional cast members, we can parse a few theories. It’s possible that whatever’s haunting Hawkins, it could date back to the ’50s and have made innocent people out to be evil and convicted of crimes they didn’t commit-like Robert Englund’s upcoming character. Or, since it sounds like whatever darkness is coming to surface has been there awhile, maybe Hawkins Lab has been doing controversial research of other dimensions for decades.
Whatever those secrets coming to light are, it sounds like it’ll make for quite the cinematic season. Hop (David Harbour) himself said of the season to Deadline, “It’s all very epic and very big in a Stranger Things way … There’s monsters, there’s horrors, there’s scares, there’s also like great Indiana Jones-type action, but also we get to see some of Hopper’s really deep backstory that we’ve hinted at with the boxes in Season 2.”
While Hopper may not be in Hawkins anymore, the brunt of the cast and plot still is, so it’ll be interesting to see how they presumably try to get their friend home. It’s likely what will bring the whole gang of teens and tweens back together, considering Eleven moved away with the Byers at the end of Season 3. It’s hard to say how they’ll bring Hop to safety, but it’s possible that time travel might be the latest concept the sci-fi show is tackling. When the series announced it was back in production, they shared an image of the crew’s clapperboard in front of what appears to be a grandfather clock in the Upside Down. Eleven and co. have traveled through different dimensions before, so who’s to say they won’t be able to travel through time? Plus, according to the Duffers, it’s going to be the “biggest and most frightening season yet,” so it could be a possibility! Regardless, sign us up.
What are the episode titles?
As of right now, all we know is the premiere is called, “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club.” The showrunners shared the episode name in a tweet featuring a picture of the front page of a Season 4 script back in fall 2019. With over a year without any clarification as to what that means, there were more than a few fan theories floating around, but all were put to rest in fall 2020. The casting news of Joseph Quinn, which explained his character Eddie is the head of Hawkins High’s official D&D club, The Hellfire Club, gave a great deal of context. The show started out majorly referencing to the game with the kiddos finding some clues to understanding The Upside Down within it, so it seems like Season 4 will return to that. The more D&D nerds to uncover Hawkins’ mysteries, the better.
Is this the last season of Stranger Things?
The short answer: maybe, but probably not. Netflix announced in September 2019 that it was renewing Stranger Things for a fourth season, which was no surprise given that the series’ third season (according to Netflix) was the most viewed four-day premiere in the platform’s history.
The renewal also came with news that Stranger Things showrunners the Duffer Brothers had inked a multi-year film and series deal with Netflix. While neither party has disclosed the exact details of that contract, Deadline reports that industry sources estimate that it was likely comparable to the multiyear, nine-figure agreement that Netflix holds with Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
While it’s unclear if the deal is exclusively tied to Stranger Things projects, the Duffer brothers previously told Vulture that they originally envisioned the series spanning four seasons. However, executive producer Shawn Levy clarified to EW that “we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth.” Given the series’ success over the years, we’re going to hazard that Season 5 will probably end up being a go.
Whenever it is that Stranger Things ends, the Duffer Bros. already know what’s going to happen. Gizmodo pointed out that in conversation with Deadline Matt Duffer said, “We’ve known the ending of the show for quite awhile.” He explained that they went into the show not knowing if it would get renewed, which is why Season 1 ends as if it could be a contained limited series, but they always knew if they got the opportunity to go beyond a first season, they “had an idea of where it would go.”
While we can’t wait to see where the Duffer Brothers are planning to take us with their predetermined conclusion to the epic series, but we still have a ways to go before we get to Season 4. Continue to check back, though, as we’ll continue to update this post when more information regarding Stranger Things 4 is announced.
Sadie Bell is the entertainment editorial assistant at Thrillist. She’s on Twitter at @mssadiebell.