The wait for Stranger Things season 4 feels endless. But there’s light at the end of this Upside Down — the show is currently filming. And young star Finn Wolfhard recently said that Stranger Things season 4 is “the darkest season there’s ever been.”
Stranger Things season 4 will take place (in part) far from Hawkins, Indiana. And leaked set photos have revealed that there are new cast members coming on board. So, what changes are in store for Eleven, Dustin, Will, Steve and the rest of the folks who survived last year’s mall massacre?
If you’re like us, and completed Stranger Things 3 in less time than it takes to hang up your holiday lights, we’re guessing you too are on the lookout for information. Here’s everything that’s been confirmed, a few rumors and theories and everything we want to know about the next adventures of the best kids on Netflix.
So, of course, understand that beyond this point lie spoilers for Stranger Things season 4.
Stranger Things season 4 release date
Netflix hasn’t given us a date for Stranger Things season 4 yet, and our own world being turned Upside Down with a pandemic has complicated things as well. But let’s look at what’s possible.
Looking at past seasons release dates — Season 1 came out on July 15, 2016, the second season arrived on October 27, 2017 and the third season dropped on July 4, 2019 — we see a gap of one to two years per season. Not a lot to go on.
In the Before Times, we thought Stranger Things season 4 might arrive on Netflix as early as October 2020. But then production grounded to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that filming has resumed, it’s more likely that season will arrive in spring or summer 2022.
Stranger Things season 4 set photos
Filming on Stranger Things season 4 has resumed after pausing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The latest set photos show a very grim view of what’s happened to Hawkins.
NEW PHOTOS FROM THE STRANGER THINGS 4 SET…😱📸👽 pic.twitter.com/VRRJgKmbDuMarch 13, 2021
The Twitter account best of stranger things has posted set photos of the cast, which reveal that there seems to be a new character played by Levon Hawke. He’s the brother of Maya Hawke, who joined the show in season 3 as Robin Buckley (they are the children of actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman). Could Levon Hawke play Robin’s brother? Judging from the pictures, the character has a very punk rock vibe.
more pics of levon hawke on set pic.twitter.com/jP4yypg2kSOctober 22, 2020
The Twitter account also posted images of Maya Hawke filming scenes with Joe Keery (Steve). Robin and Steve appear to work at a video rental store, a la Blockbuster. Also seen filming with them are Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) and Sadie Sink (Max).
sadie sink and gaten matarazzo were also seen filming with them at the same location pic.twitter.com/CKuKeTmPVfOctober 21, 2020
Stranger Things season 4 trailer
The first Stranger Things season 4 trailer is a teaser that drops huge news and one major character’s return. It’s already divided our office, so watch here:
In addition to this bit of Hopper news, David Harbour told Comic Con Liverpool that Hopper “had to make a huge sacrifice” in order to be resurrected, and that while “Hopper as a character had to die [… but he] will come back as a different human-being with a different perspective.”
Harbour even hinted at a possible Stranger Things 5, saying, “That’s the exciting thing moving into season 4 and whatever might be beyond.”
He also told us to expect a reveal about Hopper’s origins: “I know specifically that in season 4 we will give you a big, huge reveal about Hopper’s back story which you’ve sort of sensed in certain ways, but we haven’t really told you about it.”
Following that, Netflix released a Stranger Things season 4 teaser clip to get fans excited. Instead of footage, this vertical video shows the cast reuniting for a table read:
Stranger Things season 4 cast
Expect the regular familiar faces of the younger teens: Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink) and Will (Noah Schnapp).
Young adults Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton),, Robin (Maya Hawke) will also return, as will Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour).
Also, there’s no reason to expect Stranger Things season 4 won’t include Erica (Priah Ferguson), Karen (Cara Buono) and Murray (Brett Gelman).
Eight new cast members have been reported by Variety, starting with the horror icon himself: Robert Englund. Yes, the man behind the Freddy Krueger is coming to Stranger Things. The report notes that Englund is portraying “Victor Creel, a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s.
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd), Eduardo Franco (Booksmart) and Joseph Quinn (Catherine the Great) fill out the other three new series regulars. Bower will portray Peter Ballard, who works at a local psychiatric hospital, Franco is in the role of Argyle, Jonathan’s new best friend, a pizza delivery guy who is also fond of marijuana. Quinn? Well, he’s Eddie Munson, the teen in charge of Hawkins High’s official D&D club: The Hellfire Club (which explains that episode title).
Other new additions: Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones) is playing Dmitri, a Russian prison guard, Sherman Augustus (Into the Badlands) is Lt. Colonel Sullivan, who is out to squash the evil out of Hawkins for good. Mason Dye (Bosch) is cast as the rich kid at school, Jason Carver. Carver leads a seemingly ideal life that’s about to be torn apart — in proper Hawkins, IN fashion — by something mysterious. Nikola Djuricko (Genius) is Yuri, a Russian smuggler.
As for faces that might pop up from the past, Brenner (Matthew Modine), who “raised” Eleven in the Hawkins National Laboratory, is an important member of the Stranger Things lore. We’ll get to him in the plot section.
Stranger Things season 4 plot
In terms of “The American” that the Russians spoke of being locked in one of their base’s rooms (one of which also has a Demogorgon), many speculated that this person was Dr. Martin Brenner. But the return of Hopper makes us think otherwise.
The show will likely need to use some plot device to pull the Byers family from their new home, back to Hawkins.
While the new season will likely spend some time there or elsewhere — The Duffers told EW that season 4 is “going to open up a little bit…not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing plotlines into areas outside of Hawkins.”
That makes us doubt the show would end without a return to where it all began.
As for other storylines, in an interview with Teen Vogue, Sadie Sink said her character Max will likely spend some time hiding the trauma of losing her brother Billy: “I think it makes sense for her, because that’s kind of as messed up as their relationship was … [Billy’s death] still really affects the dynamic within her family. But in true Max fashion, she’s not going to let anyone see how she’s really feeling at some points. You see her just pretending that everything’s fine, when really, everything’s changed for her. She’s in a completely different emotional headspace.”
The last big of unresolved business is how Eleven has lost her powers, and will probably spend some time trying to regain them. Will Brenner be crucial to that as well?
There’s even speculation of an entire season taking place in The Upside Down, or at least focusing on a quest to free Hopper from the scary world.
Lastly, let’s read into the name of the first episode of Stranger Things season 4:
looking for new members… are you in? pic.twitter.com/P1xAWNUPssNovember 7, 2019
That script you see above reveals that the new season starts off with some attention being paid to something called The Hellfire Club. There are two possible meanings here. Knowing that Stranger Things loves nostalgia, I’m leaning towards the guess that the kids have become bigger X-Men fans, as The Hellfire Club is a villainous faction introduced in the comics in the 1980’s.
The broader definition of a Hellfire Club brings our point of view to exclusive clubs for members of high society, seen in 18th century Britain and Ireland.
A wild fan theory, reported by Express.co.uk, claims that Eleven might actually be Hopper’s daughter. This is pure speculation and at times seems like they’re stretching things, so don’t bet on it yet.