Stranger Things season 3 is now live: What's coming for season 4?
If you have Netflix, you've probably already binged the third season by now, and are ready to move on.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
But if you're all caught up on season 3, you may be starting the long dream ahead to a potential season 4 and possibly season 5. Star Millie Bobby Brown told Entertainment Weekly she's eager to know, too.
"[Show creators] the Duffer Brothers are like my older brothers, so I call them all the time, and I definitely try to press them on little clues and hints," she said. "I know things here and there, but nothing deep or something I could tell you about. If there was a season four, we would be really excited, but right now, we have to see how season three goes and how the fans react to it."
When can I watch?
As of right now Stranger Things season 3 has been unlocked on Netflix globally. You can watch the show right now.
It was unlocked at the following times...
12:01 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
3:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
4:01 a.m. Brasilia Time (BRT)
7:01 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
8:01 a.m. British Summer Time (BST)
12:31 p.m. India Standard Time (IST)
3:01 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST)
4:01 p.m. Korea Standard Time (KST)
3:01 p.m. Australian Western Standard Time (AWST)
4:31 p.m. Australian Central Standard Time (ACST)
5:01 p.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
How to watch
Get yourself a Netflix subscription. Stranger Things is a jewel in the service's crown of original series, and it's the best way to ensure you get all the new episodes plus access to the first two seasons.
Not sure Netflix is worth it to you? The service offers a free one-month trial, so if you sign up close to the new season's premiere you can soak up the new season and both previous years, then cancel your membership without cost. But we're expecting two more seasons of the show, so you might have to sign up again later on (or find a Netflix-subscribing friend who'll invite you over)
Reviews are promising
And we've waited so long for this season -- how is it?
CNET's own Jennifer Bisset offered high praise for season 3, dubbing it, "a tighter, faster-paced slightly shorter run of eight episodes that manages to tap every emotional vein of childhood (even for those who didn't grow up in the '80s)."
Bisset isn't alone. MTVNews culture director Crystal Bell tweeted that season 3 is the show's "best season yet."
CNET sister site ComicBook.com also approves, noting that the new season works to "not only deliver fans everything they loved about previous seasons, but also elevate elements to new heights."
Trailers and teases
Before the episodes were made available, Netflix dropped a final trailer. Things in Hawkins look pretty grim this summer -- er, we mean, in the summer of 1985.
Check out the show's latest poster, too. Yes, Eleven is wearing a scrunchie, and yikes, those are a lot of dead rats. And is that a new hideous monster rising up from the Upside Down?
In May, the show teased a bit about the hot times coming to the Hawkins, Indiana, Community Pool. Hint: The middle-aged moms love them some bad-boy Billy the lifeguard.
Back in March, the show delivered a preview dripping with 1980s nostalgia.
The trailer has its fun retro moments -- Dustin sprays Lucas in the face with Farrah Fawcett hair spray when the friends sneak up on him -- but it's obvious that danger still dwells in Hawkins. Hopper tries to reassure Joyce he wants her to feel safe, but who can when there's a new horrific monster lurking, plus a guy with a gun? And it's really a shame that Mews, Dustin's family cat, met such a tragic end, because it appears rats have invaded the town. (Read: Stranger Things temporada 3 en español.)
What's it all about?
Why is Stranger Things so strangely compelling? The show seemingly came out of nowhere in July 2016, with a 1980s setting and rich pop culture details. Young Will Byers disappears one night after playing D&D with his buddies in Hawkins, Indiana. The unfolding plot includes a secret government laboratory, a young girl called Eleven, with psychokinetic powers, a creepy Upside Down dimension filled with monsters and goo, and Christmas lights that blink an unnerving message. It boosted the sales of Eggo waffles, Eleven's favorite snack, and created an entire movement, Justice for Barb, after a beloved character disappeared from a pool and sent fans off the deep end.
The third season is about to explode, and co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer say a fourth and fifth season are likely.
And in an interview with CNET Magazine, David Harbour (Hopper himself) also confirmed that tidbit about the show: We can expect Stranger Things to stick around for another few years and push into five seasons. He also said he knows "somewhat a lot of Hopper's place in that story because the more you can know about the end of your story, the more you can set up," and that fans shouldn't fear loose ends (cough -- Game of Thrones -- cough) no matter when the show finally ends.
"I feel very proud of that ... we're not going to get sort of lost in our story and leave these strands," he said. "We're going to tie things up."
Maya Hawke: Hawke, daughter of actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, has joined the cast as Robin, Variety reports. Robin is described as "an 'alternative girl' bored with her mundane day job. She seeks excitement in her life and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret."
Cary Elwes: Elwes, forever known to many as Westley in The Princess Bride, plays the town's mayor. "Handsome, slick and sleazy, Mayor Kline is your classic '80s politician -- more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs," Netflix says.
Jake Busey: Busey, son of acclaimed actor Gary Busey, plays Bruce, described by Netflix as "a journalist for The Hawkins Post with questionable morals and a sick sense of humor."
What we know about the plot
Bros forever: One of the most endearing features of the show so far came when Dustin and Steve developed a likable little bro-big bro relationship. "You definitely see more of that," actor Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, told Entertainment Weekly. "That's what I really like about (showrunners) Matt and Ross (Duffer): They know what fans like and they roll with it."
Millie and Eleven: Millie Bobby Brown recently revealed that she and her character are melding even more this season. "Eleven definitely becomes more like me this season," Brown said in a press roundtable. "She's very vulnerable, very powerful and strong. I can relate to her strength mostly." The actress also said she had a hand in her character becoming more stylish, even "(showing) a little leg."
Billy, don't be a hero: The final trailer suggests Max's bullying brother Billy will be possessed by whatever evil is still lurking outside the Upside Down. The moms of Hawkins may think he's hot stuff at the local pool, but the summer looks bad for ol' Bill.
Freeze, police! In October 2018 a casting notice looked for extras with military and police experience to film with the show in Atlanta. Both men and women, aged 18-50, of any ethnicity, are needed. Hmm, what Stranger Things plot could call for a large military or police presence? Could Chief Hopper be calling in a larger force to help control the supernatural side of Hawkins?
Strike up the band: In September 2018, casting notices were posted seeking people with marching band experience to appear in a Stranger Things episode. As with the police/military casting notice above, there isn't a ton of info to go with this news: Will it be a school band? A community group? Are they to appear in a parade? And, of course, we don't know if any of the main cast members will be part of the band, which would seem to mean it could play a larger role in an episode, or if the band is just background noise.
Life's a beach: Celeb site Just Jared published a photo of Millie Bobby Brown filming what appears to be a pretty dramatic scene at the beach in Malibu, California. Stranger Things, of course, is set in landlocked Indiana, so maybe the Pacific Ocean is standing in for an Indiana lake or river. Or perhaps Eleven is taking a West Coast trip in the new season. About a week later, more snaps of the cast taken in Georgia were revealed, this time, featuring most of Eleven's friends, but she wasn't seen. It's unclear what scene the kids were filming, and most of them were wrapped in robes, either to keep warm or to hide whatever they were wearing.
Eleven's backstory revealed: Viewers have already met Eleven's mom, troubled Terry Ives, but a new young-adult novel published in February 2019 digs into her mother's past even more. Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt from Gwenda Bond's book, called Suspicious Minds, and it follows Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine on the show) as he tries to assemble a group of young test subjects, presumably including Terry. Five-year-old Eight, who Eleven meets when she's quite a bit older, also appears.
Love is in the air: The romantic duos of Eleven/Mike and Max/Lucas are still together in Season 3, but for how long? "They're like 13- or 14-year-old kids, so what does romance mean at that stage of life?" executive producer Shawn Levy said. But in July 2018, Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, noted that the show will be set in the summer of 1985, and called it "the summer of love." Wolfhard wasn't around for the first summer of love in 1967, and he wasn't born until after the summer of 1985. But his quote seems to hint that love and relationships will be a part of season 3, for good or for ill.
Not everyone's romance will be all hearts and flowers, though. David Harbour, who plays police chief Jim Hopper, said his character will "take more risks with these new languages of intimacy and vulnerability," but is "going to flail and be horrible at it."
Father figure as martyr: Also in summer 2018, Harbour told the Tampa Bay Comic-Con audience that he knows how he'd like his character to bow out. "I would like to take a bullet for Eleven," he said. And when fans cheered the selfless response, he replied, "Now you're all happy about me dying!" No fears, though. I think Hopper will stick around until the show's eventual end. We'll have to wait and see whether he lives happily ever after (with Joyce?) or heroically exchanges his life for Eleven's.
New faces: Finn Wolfhard appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in August 2018 and hinted at some new additions. "We're in the middle of (filming the season)," Wolfhard said. "We got some new cast members, some incredible people." But that was about all he would spill, and Fallon quickly changed the subject to joke about how he should appear on the show as a "weird uncle or something." New characters are no surprise, and if they play major roles, as Max and Billy did in season 2, surely details will leak out soon.
More D&D: The first season started with the main boys playing Dungeons & Dragons, which certainly helped endear the show to all of us nerds out there. Expect more of the fantasy role-playing game in Season 3. As Comicbook.com pointed out, artist Jared Flaming shared on Instagram in April that he's teaching the show's prop master about the game.
Dad Steve is back: Older teen character Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), who turned out to be a big brother figure for Dustin in season 2, will keep up that role. "I'll just say we won't be abandoning the Dad-Steve magic," Levy told THR.
Back in time: Ghostbusters was an important theme in season 2, and Michael J. Fox's 1985 movie Back to the Future will be a key element this season.
Chasing Chase: Back to the Future isn't the only 1980s movie that will play a role. David Harbour told Variety that Chevy Chase's 1985 action comedy Fletch will also inspire season 3. "Fletch is one movie we get to play around and have some fun with this season, which you wouldn't expect from Stranger Things. and you wouldn't expect from the Spielberg universe and you certainly wouldn't expect from a darker season," he said.
Hopper's history: Harbour also told Variety that he hopes the show investigates his character's history as both a New York cop and a Vietnam vet. "I'm curious as to how his tours in Vietnam might have shaped him to be who he is and if some of that stuff doesn't still linger or haunt him in various ways," Harbour said.
Sing it, sister: Lucas' lively younger sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) has an expanded role this season, and deservedly so. "There will definitely be more Erica in season 3," show co-creator Ross Duffer told Yahoo Entertainment. "'We got to use more Erica' -- that was one of the first things we said in the writers' room."
Keeping up with the Byerses: Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, did her best to start a crazy rumor about the new season. While being interviewed by E! in mid-May, Brown asked co-star Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) if he'd love to see reality-show star Kim Kardashian on Stranger Things. A confused Schnapp thought the casting was reality, and Brown led him on by claiming Kardashian was set to play a character named 10. Kardashian herself seemed to be onboard, tweeting an enthused response. (Fan opinion: NOOOOO PLEASE NOOOO!)