After three years, Stranger Things managed to shock viewers with its Season 3 finale. Instead of yet another set of unnerving adventures in the Upside Down, the show took a hard left and had Joyce Byers pack up her family (and Eleven) and leave Hawkins for good. On the one hand, it was a practical solution after the heartache she suffered in losing both Bob and Hopper. On the other, it left fans wondering: Where does the show go from here? With Stranger Things Season 4 confirmed, fans are desperate to know what's next.
Season 3 gave fans many of the things they'd hoped for, including an almost-romance with Joyce and Hopper. But their potential partnership was derailed in the final episode when Hopper sacrificed himself to close the hole to the Upside Down created by the Russians under Starcourt Mall.
As Joyce, Jonathan, Will, and Eleven left town at the very end of the season, the credits rolled. But the show wasn't over. In a post-credits sequence, viewers found themselves in a Russian military base, where a new hole to the Upside Down was being tested. As the soldiers walked by a cell, they discussed "The American" inside. This led to a huge fan theory that Hopper had survived the Starcourt blast, only to be rescued out of the Upside Down by USSR scientists in Kamchatka, an isolated peninsula in Russia's far east region.
It's since been confirmed that Hopper is, in fact, still alive. But that doesn't have fans any less eager to uncover deets about the new season. Plus, the new castings for Season 4 also suggests that Hopper isn’t the only focus for the new season.
Here's everything we know so far:
It’s good to see Robin got a new job, but holy blunt cut, what in heaven’s name happened to her hair?
Who told Eleven that those bangs were a good idea?
Who in the name of Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer Grey told Nancy that... any of that... was a good idea? (I am dying over the pink ruffles on Robin.)
At least we know who to blame for Season 4’s new dragon master Eddie Munson’s haircut: Every hair band on MTV.
It’s good that Joyce and Hopper are headed home to America. Hopefully, they’ll drive everyone to a Hair Cuttery when this is all over.
Stranger Things 4 Cast
Stranger Things has been slowly expanding the cast beyond the show's first season core of Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin as Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. Millie Bobby Brown was supposed to only last one season as Eleven, but the writers changed their minds and kept her in the story. Noah Schnapp went from recurring actor to main cast member in Season 2 as Will Byers, which is when the show also added Sadie Sink as Max. All five stars are back for Season 4.
Also returning this season: Winona Ryder as Will's mom, Joyce Byers, and Charlie Heaton as her older son, Jonathan. Natalia Dyer will return as Mike's older sister, Nancy, and Cara Buono is back as their mom, Karen. Priah Ferguson was promoted to series regular for the new season, so she'll be back as Lucas' little sister, Erica. Brett Gelman also got the series-regular upgrade, so Murray Bauman will be back too.
Joe Keery and Maya Hawke are also returning as BFFs Steve Harrington and Robin Buckley. And of course, as mentioned above, David Harbour is back as Chief Hopper. And finally, in a surprise reveal, Matthew Modine returns for the first time since Season 1 as Dr. Brenner.
According to Deadline, new series regulars for Season 4 include Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd), Eduardo Franco (Booksmart), and Joseph Quinn (Catherine the Great) who play Peter Ballard, Argyle, and Eddie Munson, respectively. Netflix added to that list on June 9, 2021, as part of "Geeked Week" with an announcement Amybeth McNulty, star of the streamer's recently canceled Anne With An E, will be joining the series as Vickie, a brand-new nerd for the gang and potential love interest.
Along with McNulty, Netflix revealed a few more new students fans will meet at Hawkins High, including Black Lightning's Myles Truitt as Hawkins basketball star, Patrick, The Village's Grace Van Dien as Chrissy, Hawkins High's lead cheerleader, and Regina Ting Chen (Queen of the South) will play Ms. Kelly, a popular guidance counselor.
Season 4 will also add Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar from Game of Thrones), who will play a Soviet soldier named Dmitri, with Nikola Djuricko as his fellow soldier, Yuri.
Horror icon Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) will play a probable villain (or maybe just a misunderstood man) Victor Creel.
Other new faces will include Sherman Augustus (Lt. Colonel Sullivan), Mason Dye (Jason Carver), Logan Riley Bruner (Fred Benson), Logan Allen (Jake), Elodie Grace Orkin (Angela), John Reynolds (Officer Callahan), and Rob Morgan (Chief Powell).
Stranger Things 4 Posters
On Feb. 17, 2022, Stranger Things released four new posters, each showing the different locations where the show will be set. The first teased the far reaches of Russia, showing Joyce and Hopper reunited, and Murray Bauman also along for the ride.
The caption released with it read: “001. Russia. Getting the band back together. Bring a jacket.”
“002. The Lab. Every story starts somewhere.”
This image goes along with the footage fans have already seen, of Eleven returning to the lab, though it’s still not clear how much of this is in her memories/dreams and how much is real.
“003. Creel House. Tick-tock.”
This is a big group. Down center we’ve got Max and Lucas, middle row are Steve, Dustin and Erica. In the top row, it looks like Nancy and Robin.
“004. California. Hold onto your butts, brochachos.”
And finally, California. Down front we have Mike and Will. Ahead of them, it looks like that could be Jonathan and perhaps a newcomer — possibly a friend the California crew meets after their move?
And here’s the full poster featuring all four locations.
Stranger Things 4 Plot Details
Netflix shared a plot summary in February 2022:
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.
Beyond that, fans don't have a lot of confirmed plot details other than Hopper being alive and in Russia. But based on the show's history, there are a few things fans can count on:
Stranger Things has been covering one season per year, which means Season 4 will likely take place in 1986. That gives a twist to Hopper's being in Russia. On Saturday, April 26, 1986, the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant melted down, and it was one of the biggest disasters in modern history. How that figures into the series (if at all) remains to be seen. Chernobyl is 4,541 miles from the Kamchatka peninsula, but that's real-world miles. As far as the Upside Down is concerned, it could be next door.
Speaking of Hopper, Harbour has given a few hints about what's to come. In an interview, he reminded fans of a scene in Season 2, in which Eleven finds boxes of Hopper's history labeled "Dad," "Vietnam," and "New York." Harbour promised those boxes are not a throwaway detail, although how Hopper's past will come into play is still a mystery.
Stranger Things 4 Episode Titles
Netflix unveiled the nine episode titles for Season 4 on Nov. 6, 2021. A couple stand out as referencing important characters, like “Dear Billy,” a nod to Max’s violent brother, and “Papa,” which is the name Eleven used for Dr. Brenner.
1. “The Hellfire Club”
2. “Vecna’s Curse”
3. “The Monster and The Superhero”
4. “Dear Billy”
5. “The Nina Project”
6. “The Dive”
7. “The Massacre At Hawkins Lab”
9. “The Piggyback”
Another note on the upcoming episodes: They’re going to be very long. In a May 18 interview with TheWrap, the Duffer Brothers teased that Episodes 7 and 9 in particular will feel more like movies due to their length.
You’re definitely going to want to clear your schedule for the Season 4 finale, because it’s apparently going to be longer than most movies. “We will say that it is over two hours,” Ross Duffer said of the upcoming finale. “It’s a big one.”
Stranger Things 4 Theories
With little to go on, there aren't many theories so far. The premiere’s title, "The Hellfire Club," has some fans speculating about a comic book angle featuring the X-Men and perhaps a plotline involving mutant powers. But so far, there's nothing to prove it one way or the other.
The most prevalent theory revolves around Hopper and how his imprisonment in Russia will play out. Based on Harbour's mention of how his character takes a dark turn this time around, fans think he might be this season's villain. Could Russia send him home to act as a sleeper agent, Manchurian Candidate-style? Or could it be something worse?
Stranger Things 4 Release Date & Episode Schedule
On Feb. 17, after over two and a half years since Season 3’s debut, Netflix released a letter from the Duffer Brothers, addressed to fans. They called Season 4 “the most challenging of any previous season,” and also stated the new season is twice the length of the previous three. To that end, the series will debut in two parts. Volume One will arrive May 27 with seven episodes, and Volume 2 will follow with two more episodes on July 1.
Stranger Things Seasons 1 through 3 are streaming on Netflix now. Season 5 is already greenlit and confirmed as the final season.
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