‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 News, Release Date, Spoilers, Plot, Cast

It’s been nearly three years since we’ve enjoyed a new episode of Stranger Things, and the subsequent withdrawal has been nothing short of painful. But the show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, have repeatedly promised that we needn’t wait forever: Season 4 is coming this summer.

Minor hints about the forthcoming series have steadily dropped since the show resumed filming in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s definitely an unorthodox form of shooting,” Gaten Matarazzo (who plays Dustin Henderson) told Us Weekly in December 2020. “Everyone on set has been very diligent about wearing their PPE. Even for our off-camera work, we keep our masks and goggles on. Lots of distancing. Separation during lunch, and transport from base to set.” Matarazzo went on to add that prior to the restart of filming in October 2020, “The kids would always check in on each other to see how we were doing. We have to look out for each other.”

Here’s everything we know about the next installment, including how a favorite character might return and which new cast members will be venturing into the Upside Down.

When will season 4 come out?

Netflix has officially announced that Stranger Things season 4 will be split into two parts: Volume 1 arrives Friday, May 27, while Volume 2 arrives July 1.

Is season 4 done filming?

The new season wrapped filming in September 2021, according to Noah Schnapp (who plays Will Byers), but the road to the screen hasn’t been without hiccups. The series had only been shooting for a month when Netflix first shut down production in March 2020.

“I was having phone calls with Netflix while directing takes and blocking scenes,” executive producer and director Shawn Levy told IndieWire last year. “We shared the news with our cast and crew that we would be pausing production out of an abundance of caution. There were no sick crew members, no one was exhibiting symptoms, but it seemed like the right thing to do.” Newsweek reports filming had taken place in Lithuania in early 2020, most likely for Russia-set scenes featuring Hopper.

On June 18, 2020, the Stranger Things writers’ account announced they had finished writing the entire season, and on September 28, 2020, Newsweek reported production had resumed in Georgia.

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Matarazzo has been candid about the oddity of filming mid-pandemic. “There’s very few dates that are reliable,” the actor told Collider in late March 2021. “It really is more of a guesstimation on when we’re gonna be filming next, when we’re gonna be wrapping up, when release is gonna be, all that jazz because we still don’t know on day-to-day if we’re gonna be filming next week.”

But recent months have revealed a somewhat smoother pace to production, and photos from set tease this season will be more action-packed than ever. On June 14, Page Six reported that paparazzi had photographer an Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) look-alike mannequin laid out on a stretcher. Two actors dressed up as EMTs rushed the mannequin out of an exploding building into the ambulance, implying that Eleven could suffer an injury in season 4. And it would seem the other characters will go to war this season, too: Paparazzi captured the stars onset as they prepared for a battle scene. Steve (Joe Keery), who appeared bloodied and bruised, and Erica (Priah Ferguson) were photographed pointing and sticking their tongues at the camera. Photographers also shot Max (Sadie Sink), Nancy (Natalie Dyer), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Robin (Maya Hawke) as they prepped their arsenal.

Will the main cast return? And are there any new faces?

All of the main cast members are set to return, including Brown, Harbour, Matarazzo, Keery, Dyer, Sink, McLaughlin, Hawke, Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, Noah Schnapp, and more. But several new actors are joining the already extensive line-up this season.

Deadline first reported in November 2020 that Jamie Campbell Bower will be a series regular in the role of Peter Ballard, “a caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital,” per the outlet.

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Other incoming series regulars will include Eduardo Franco as Jonathan’s stoner pal, Argyle, and Joseph Quinn as metalhead Eddie Munson, who runs The Hellfire Club at the center of the season’s first episode, per Deadline.

Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, will join the show as recurring character Victor Creel. His character is reportedly institutionalized in the psychiatric hospital after committing “a gruesome murder in the 1950s,” Deadline reports.

Joining Englund are Tom Wlaschiha and Sherman Augustus as Russian prison guard Dmitri and sophisticated Lt. Colonel Sullivan, respectively. Additionally, Mason Dye will play popular rich kid Jason Carver and Nikola Djuricko will play Russian smuggler Yuri.

The official Stranger Things account tweeted a welcome to all the new characters, along with a short description and…an upside-down photo. Click the tweet below to see them all.

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Then, on June 9, 2021, Netflix announced that four more cast members would join the crew. Anne with an E actress Amybeth McNulty will play Vickie, a band nerd who catches the eye of one of the beloved heroes (lips are sealed as to who). Queen Sugar actor Myles Truitt will play Patrick, a popular high school basketball star who has a good life until shocking events send him spiraling out of control. Regina Ting Chen, actress from Queen of the South, will play Ms. Kelly, a popular and caring guidance counselor. Finally, Grace Van Dien will play Chrissy, a popular Hawkins high school cheerleader who hides a deep dark secret.

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Is there a trailer?

Yes! On May 6, 2021, Netflix released the first teaser, focusing on the facility from which Eleven escaped in season 1. In the short clip, we watch a room full of children with shaved heads, each of them wearing hospital gowns and playing with toys. A mysterious man, who keeps his back to us, enters the room and says, “Good morning, children.”

“Good morning, Papa,” they chant in response. That title is almost certainly meant to signal that this man is Papa, otherwise known as Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), who experimented on Eleven and other children as part of a U.S. Department of Energy project at Hawkins Lab.

Down the hall from the children’s play room, we see a door marked “11,” and the sound of Eleven’s own harried breathing. Next, a voice we’re meant to assume is Papa’s asks, “Eleven, are you listening?” Her eyes flash open.

Could this mean she’s imprisoned? Or is this a flashback, a memory Eleven must now cope with?

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Then, on August 6, 2021, Netflix dropped another teaser, this one a mix of new and old footage. In tiny snippets, fans caught a glimpse of their favorite characters’s fates—Eleven appears to be captured (and has a new haircut!), Hopper is (of course) in Russia, and the rest of the crew are investigating—it would seem—a creepy old house.

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After that, during the streamer’s first-ever TUDUM global fan event, the cast of Stranger Things debuted a third teaser. The short video followed Steve, Dustin, Max, and Co. exploring the mysterious haunted house of which we first got a peek in the previous teaser. We learned from TUDUM that this crumbling old building is known as the Creel House, and it was once home to a seemingly happy 1950s-era couple and their two young children. But flash forward to the Stranger Things era, and something troubling is afoot. (Of course it involves the Upside Down.) Catch the clip below.

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And finally, on November 6, Netflix shared the first full-length trailer featuring Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven as she acclimates to her school in California. In voice-over, Eleven reads a letter written to Mike Wheeler, played by Finn Wolfhard, as the footage shows things aren’t actually going so great for our heroine.

“Today is day 185,” she says. “I think I have finally adapted. I even like school now. I have made lots of friends. Even so, I am ready for spring break, mostly because I get to see you…We will have the best spring break ever.”

But it’s not long before the trailer turns into a super cut of Eleven facing a series of dangerous, creepy, and frightening situations, in classic Stranger Things style.

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The trailer release coincided with “Stranger Things Day,” an event Netflix planned to promote the season, hosting events for fans and setting up pop up shops in New York and Los Angeles themed around the show. They also released a teaser for the season’s upcoming episode names: The Hellfire Club, Vecna’s Curse, The Monster and the Superhero, Dear Billy, The Nina Project, The Dive, The Massacre at Hawkins Lab, Papa, and The Piggyback.

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Official posters have been released too.

Excited?

What will the new season be about?

There’s a lot of questions season 4 has to answer: What happened to Hopper? With Will and Eleven away from the monster epicenter of Hawkins, where will we see future creatures? Now that Nancy and Jonathan have been fired from the Hawkins Post, what’s next? Will Steve become some kind of movie aficionado? And will Robin ever get to tell Tammy Thompson about her love?

Here’s the official season 4 synopsis from Netflix:

“It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.”

In a letter to fans in February 2022, the Duffer Brothers boasted that this season of Stranger Things is “bigger than ever.” “With nine scripts, over eight hundred pages, almost two years of filming, thousands of visual effects shots, and a runtime nearly twice the length of any previous season, Stranger Things 4 was the most challenging season yet. But also the most rewarding one.”

Before this point, the Stranger Things creators have, of course, refused to let many hints slip in the run-up to the season premiere, but one of the first exciting spoilers we got were the first three episode titles of season 4.

On Nov. 6, 2019, the Stranger Things writers revealed the title of the upcoming season’s first episode. “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club” spells dark times ahead for Eleven and the rest of the Hawkins gang. The tweet that accompanied the announcement reads, “looking for new members…are you in?” The Sun notes that the Hellfire Club is also what a group of X-Men villains are referred to in the Dark Phoenix comics of the ’80s. In it, Emma Frost attempts to lure Jean Grey, who has telepathic capabilities like Eleven, to the dark side. Many are speculating Eleven will be similarly tempted in the new season.

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The writers’ account has since added that the titles for episodes 2 and 3 are “Tick Tok Mr Clock” and “You Snooze You Lose.”

To tide us over until a new season, the official Stranger Things writers’ Twitter account has also been releasing tiny tidbits about season 4. On May 18, 2020, a fan asked for emoji spoilers and the account responded with a very suspect emoji.

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They also tweeted a truly brutal tease about the contents of the new season:

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As well as a sweet behind-the-scenes shot of Schnapp, McLaughlin, and Wolfhard.

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The actors themselves have been careful not to drop any spoilers, but some have been willing to share their hopes and dreams for their characters. ELLE.com caught up with Dyer, who plays Nancy, in November 2019: “I see her as this person in pursuit of information and justice, and I can’t see her putting that investigative nose down,” Dyer said. “I loved seeing the sensitive side of Nancy and the badass side of Nancy. I hope she’s still going strong and her instincts and her passion remains intact.”

As for loose ends from the third season she’d like to see resolved? “Obviously what happens to Hopper, but also the Byers move away—what’s that going to be like, especially since everyone is in a relationship?” she wondered. “I feel like long-distance is hard nowadays, so imagine long-distance relationships back then.” Dyer even speculated that Nancy could reunite with Steve. “I’d love to see if her and Steve would ever get back together, or at least if they get closure. Will their chapter ever close? I’m very curious. Also, I want her to get a female friend. RIP Barb.”

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How many episodes are there?

Nine. Netflix also shared the titles for all of the season 4 episodes on “Stranger Things Day.” See below, via IndieWire.

“The Hellfire Club”“Vecna’s Curse”“The Monster and The Superhero”“Dear Billy”“The Nina Project”“The Dive”“The Massacre At Hawkins Lab”“Papa”“The Piggyback”

Will Hopper return?

Valentine’s Day 2020 saw confirmation that everyone’s favorite Hawaiian shirt-wearing adoptive dad Hopper was still alive, albeit in Russia. A teaser featured his character and the creators released the following statement:

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…

Season 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and most frightening season yet, and we cannot wait for everyone to see more. In the meantime—pray for the American.

From Russia with love, The Duffer Brothers.

Will season 4 be scarier?

In an interview with Total Film magazine, Keery (Steve Harrington) revealed this could be the scariest season yet. “Oh man, it’s pretty amazing—the Duffer brothers have really done it again,” he said. “I think that this year—and I know I say this every single year—but this is definitely going to be a lot scarier than prior years, because last year was pretty dark.”

He also joked that he didn’t keep his iconic Scoops Ahoy outfit, explaining, “I know that costume served its purpose and I’m glad to retire it. [Laughs] Do I have it at home for Halloween? I don’t, unfortunately. They won’t let me have that one. One day!”

The Duffer Brothers actually described the new season as more comedic while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a little more humor in it, a little more action, and it just has a different feel than the past two seasons, which were set in the fall and a little more dreary and scary,” Ross teased.

Matarazzo told Entertainment Tonight on April 1 that the new season feels more “mature.” “As we are growing older as people, we have to grow older as characters,” he explained. “[The show’s creators] are confronted by this issue, but they embrace it, and they use it to their advantage. And they don’t freak out when we get taller or when our voices drop or anything like that. They use it and they use it as ammunition for their writing.”

Finally, Maya Hawke, who plays Robin, revealed her character gets much more focus this season. “The Duffer brothers…keep investing and building the characters,” Hawke told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s an honor to be a part of it, and work with them, and watch them build these people, especially Robin … They really dig into her this season and I’m really, really grateful.”

Will season 4 be the final season of Stranger Things?

No, but season 5 will be. The Duffer brothers confirmed the news in a letter to fans in February 2022.

The duo had originally told Vulture in 2017 that season 4 could be the end of the series. “We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,” Ross Duffer said.

His brother, Matt, followed: “I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year.”

But executive producer Shawn Levy seemed to tease a different outcome. “There’s very much the possibility of a season beyond that one, that’s currently undecided,” he told Collider in April 2018. “And what I would just say is part of the chaos and fun of this particular show is that while the Duffers and the writer’s room and we producers outline the entire season, the Duffers really use the writing process to revisit, reassess, and question all of their prior assumptions.”

The Stranger Things kids The Stranger Things kids

Netflix

The Duffer Brothers also changed their tune by August 2020, with Ross telling THR, “Season 4 won’t be the end. We know what the end is, and we know when it is. [The pandemic] has given us time to look ahead, figure out what is best for the show. Starting to fill that out gave us a better idea of how long we need to tell that story.”

Hilary Weaver Hilary Weaver is a freelance writer based in New York who writes about politics, queer issues, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and every woman the Queen has ever made a dame. Savannah Walsh Editorial Fellow Savannah Walsh is an Editorial Fellow at ELLE.com. Lauren Puckett-Pope Associate Editor Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.

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