Warning: Spoilers for previous seasons of Stranger Things ahead.
Stranger Things is , but no one knows quite when that will be. The coronavirus outbreak has put the Netflix hit, and so many other shows, on pause. But before the pandemic hit, creators Matt and Ross Duffer signed a multiyear film and series deal with Netflix, so viewers eventually will be treated to more from the twin imaginations that created the Upside Down.
The first teaser for the new season has creepy music and eerie looks at the rot-filled Upside Down. That 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?)
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 late 2019, with the cast joining up in February 2020 -- only to be sent home in mid-March to shelter in place.that original hopes for a two-week break stretched into months, with no end in sight. The teen actor said he's "getting antsy" to return to filming, but no dates were given for when that might happen.
Stranger Things fans have faced long breaks even before the coronavirus. There were 15 months between seasons 1 and 2, and 20 months between seasons 2 and 3. Now, with world health conditions delaying work, an expected long break seems sure to become longer.
Not much has been revealed about the upcoming season. 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.
Cast: Who's who?
The biggest casting question seems to have been answered: A scene in the third-season finale mentioning an imprisoned American seemed to hint Police Chief Hopper survived the bleak events of that episode. Hopper then appeared in a season 4 teaser released in February 2020, which was among the last details given by the show before filming went on hiatus.
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
- Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven
- David Harbour as Jim Hopper
- Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
- Noah Schnapp as Will Byers
- Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair
- Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson
- Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers
- Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler
- Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers
- Maya Hawke as Robin
- Joe Keery as Steve Harrington
- Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield
- Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair
- Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler
Plot news, rumors and theories
Hopper in Russia
When the third season ended, the fate of Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) looked like a cliffhanger. He appeared to have been dead, but then viewers discovered that there's an American held in a Russian prison where unluckier inmates are fed to a demogorgon.
Then, in February, that hint was confirmed.set in a Russian prison camp shows what appear to be heavily armed Russian guards overseeing prisoners building a railroad across a snowy landscape. Hopper, shaved head and all, appears at the very end of the 45-second clip. We knew he wasn't really gone -- what would the kids and Joyce do without him?
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...
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.
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.
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.