Production on the fourth season of Stranger Things was halted due to the pandemic back in March 2020, like so many other series. Luckily, filming started back up again in late September — which means that we’re going to get more from the Upside Down when the series returns sometime in 2022.
But what is the new season going to be about, and when is it actually going to premiere? Read on as we outline everything we know about season 4 of the Netflix hit.
UPDATED 11/06/21: New teaser, new details. And a summer premiere.
(Photo by Netflix)
Another month, another Stranger Things 4 teaser. The new clip, which premiered during Netflix’s Stranger Things Day celebration, gives an uncharacteristically sun-drenched look at the usually gloomy-looking series. It’s been some time since Eleven, Will, Jonathan, and Joyce relocated to California. And finally, we’re getting a peek at their new home and the dangers looming on the horizon.
“We will have the best spring break ever,” Eleven’s voice exclaims over a clip of her writing a letter to Mike. But, things don’t look so great. After living in the Sunshine State for 185 days, she explains how well she has acclimated to her new surroundings. If that spitball she gets hit with is any indication, her new high school experience isn’t all sunshine and roses.
Aside from the difficulty in making new friends at school (and her excitement in reuniting with Mike and the gang), the teaser shows off a chaotic cavalcade of series moments: a creepy doll, gunfights, glammed-up roller skating, explosions, ominous men in suits, a covert underground base, a desert car chase, and so much more that promise an exciting new season.
Fans got a creepy new peek into Stranger Things 4 during TUDUM, the Netflix global fan event that took place on Saturday, September 25, 2021. The Duffer Brothers, along with actors Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery, welcomed audiences to the Creel House — a new locale that will provide some gruesome scares in the new season. The clip takes us back in time to the 1950s and gives us a look at the seemingly haunted house, as well as a tease at the origin story of Robert Englund’s Victor Creel (more on the casting below).
Flickering lights, dead rabbits, and ultimately, the bodies of Creel’s dead children appear, all set to the tune of “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Did Creel go mad and murder his family? Or is this the work of the Upside Down? As things jump to the present day (that is, 1986), we find our group of Hawkins heroes, Steve, Dustin, Caleb, and Max — as well as a couple of companions we can’t quite make out — breaking into the rundown structure to look for clues. Is this another portal to the Upside Down? Seems so. With references to both Sherlock Holmes and Ghostbusters, the teaser is filled with an overall mysterious and eerie vibe, punctuated by a the ominous ticking of a rather sinister-looking grandfather clock. Honestly, would you expect anything less?
hop told us to leave the door open 3 inches…you’re welcome pic.twitter.com/hfeprJIXpF
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) March 3, 2020
Season 3, which saw our favorite Hawkins, Indiana residents spend their summer like they spend the other seasons — defeating evil forces from another dimension, raising inter-dimensional beasts, and going to the mall — ended on quite a cliffhanger.
Spoiler alert (though why are you reading this article about season 4 if you didn’t watch season 3?): Although beloved police chief/foster dad Hopper (David Harbour) appeared to die sacrificing himself for the greater good at the end of the third season, Harbour is definitely returning to the series. The official Stranger Things Twitter account posted a video after filming began (way back in the beginning of March B.C. — before coronavirus), and Harbour’s face was the first to pop up (sporting a newly shaved head).
Also coming back: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, and Sadie Sink as the core group of friends; Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, and Maya Hawke as the teens; Winona Ryder, Harbour, Cara Buono, and newly promoted series regular Brett Gelman as the adults; plus Priah Ferguson as Lucas’ precocious little sister.
Who won’t be back: Billy, that lovely d-bag who proved his heart was good after all when he sacrificed himself to stop the Mind Flayer that was possessing his body all throughout the third season. Alexi, a.k.a. Hopper’s Russian hostage who was tragically killed, is also not likely to return (though we would not be mad if that Slurpee-lover popped up again somehow).
While it appeared that Hopper was incinerated in the season 3 finale when Joyce (Ryder) closed the gateway to the Upside Down that was hidden in the Russian bunker underneath the Starcourt Mall (with his approval, of course — it was the only way to ensure the safety of Eleven and the town of Hawkins), things might not have gone down the way it seemed. A mid-credits sequence in the finale showed two guards inside a Russian prison taking a prisoner from his cell to feed to a Demogorgon, making sure he was “not the American.”
But after Harbour confirmed his return with a Valentine’s Day video featuring Hopper working on a railroad track in a snowy Russian gulag, series creators Matt and Ross Duffer confirmed that Hopper is the American in question.
“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,” the brothers confirmed in a press release. “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.”
how it started how it's going pic.twitter.com/ylNmU2sGRu
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) November 6, 2020
Back in Hawkins, it appears the kids might be getting back into Dungeons and Dragons, as some of the footage released via the official social media accounts shows dice rolling and Keery carrying a flag for the “Hellfire Club” that includes some 20-sided dice.
Adding to the initial reveal that “The Hellfire Club” is the title of the first episode, Netflix unveiled all nine episode names during 2021’s Stranger Things Day event:
Since originally being released via the official Stranger Things writers’ Twitter account a year ago, the titles of each episode have been given a bit of an overhaul. Gone are episode names “Tick Tok Mr. Clock,” and “You Snooze You Lose.”
Season 4 episode titles:
(Photo by Netflix)
A bunch of new characters are joining the fray, including:
• THE HELLFIRE CLUB
• VECNA’S CURSE
• THE MONSTER AND THE SUPERHERO
• DEAR BILLY
• THE NINA PROJECT
• THE DIVE
• THE MASSACRE AT HAWKINS LAB
• THE PIGGYBACK
STRANGER THINGS 4 is coming SUMMER 2022
— pǝʞǝǝפ xᴉlɟʇǝN (@NetflixGeeked) November 6, 2021
Filming had only been underway for about a month when the COVID-19 pandemic cut production short, but it resumed again at the very end of September. Needless to say, the show was certainly not going to be ready to air until the latter half of 2021 at the earliest. Up to this point, each season came out around the time of year when it took place — i.e., season 2 took place around Halloween and was released in October, season 3 took place over summer break and came out around July 4 — and the fact that the upcoming season takes place during the school year (and, judging from social media clues, in the fall) led us to believe season 4 could have potentially premiered in the fall of 2021.
Then, of course, we got the teaser released on August 6, 2021, which didn’t show us much of anything new, but declared that season 4 would drop sometime in 2022. On November 6, 2021, the streamer finally gave the update we have been waiting for: Stranger Things 4 will be dropping during the 2022 summer season, which could mean we’ll see another Independence Day premiere.
There had been plenty of speculation that the fourth season of Stranger Things would be the last — especially since the young actors definitely don’t look like middle schoolers anymore. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ross Duffer said that the story isn’t wrapping up just yet.
“Season 4 won’t be the end,” he said. “We know what the end is, and we know when it is. [The pandemic-induced shut-down] 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.”
While there’s still no premiere date, the powers that be at Netflix know that multiple years is way too long to go without any new Stranger Things content whatsoever — which is why they released a new (mysterious, of course) teaser in May hinting at some previously unrevealed information about season 4.
The minute-long clip focuses on Eleven, featuring what appears to be a flashback of the facility where our favorite superpowered teen was raised. As the clock strikes 3 (you’ll recall we know episode 2 was titled “Tick Tok Mr. Clock”), children play games (including what looks like Demogorgon chess) in a medical/science-type facility. A Magic 8-Ball reads “signs point to yes” and a Plinko game with discs that landed on numbers 4, 7, and 8. A man says, “Good morning, children” as the camera pans to a door with “11” on it — and our Eleven (played by Brown), startled, opens her eyes.
Stranger Things 4 will premiere on Netflix in Summer 2022.