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

Finally, some news: The first episode title has been revealed, along with dish on some possible new characters.

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Netflix

Warning: Spoilers for previous seasons of Stranger Things ahead.

Stranger Things is coming back for a fourth season. Plus, creators Matt and Ross Duffer have signed a multiyear film and series deal with Netflix, so viewers will be treated to more from the twin imaginations that created the Upside Down.

The teaser for the new season has creepy music and eerie looks at the rot-filled Upside Down. The 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?)

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 October or November 2019. That could mean the new series might be available in 2020. 

But that sounds optimistic. There were 15 months between seasons 1 and 2, and 20 months between seasons 2 and 3. It might be late 2020, or even 2021, before we see a fourth season. 

Duffers

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

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix

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 one big casting question: Is Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) still alive, possibly in a Russian prison? Better list him as a "maybe."

And on Halloween 2019, TVLine reported that the show will add four new male characters, three teens and one adult. The show wouldn't confirm this news, but TVLine's source says the teens are a metalhead, a jock and a stoner character, and that the adult male "possesses characteristics that suggest that he will figure prominently in a certain storyline set far, far away from Hawkins." (Does that mean he's Russian? We'll have to wait and see.)

Likely to return

Might return? Might not?

Plot news, rumors and theories

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. 

Where's Hop?

There's been no death as big as the possible loss of Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in season 3. In a perplexing scene, viewers discover that there's an American held in a Russian prison where unluckier inmates are fed to a demogorgon. Seems clear we're meant to wonder if that's Hopper.

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...

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 Dustin could teach the kids how to Walk Like An Egyptian.

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