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Stranger Things season 4 release date and time — when you can watch

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) yells as explosions appear behind her in the Stranger Things trailer
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Stranger Things season 4 release date is here! Or at least the first date is. Yes, folks, the penultimate season of Netflix's retro-thriller series has dropped, and we've got everything you need to get ready for your binge session later.

Stranger Things had already jumped back onto the top 10 TV shows chart on Netflix in the U.S. and U.K., as fans prepared and got ready; expect to see it at no.1 later today.

The big thing to know going into the final season of Stranger Things is that Vecna is the name of the new season's big bad, who was revealed in the Stranger Things season 4 trailer. Unlike any baddie the kids have faced before, Vecna seems to have some power in the Upside-down, and is giving ominous warnings.

Elsewhere in Stranger Things season 4, Eleven's without her powers, and that can't continue if we're going to stand a chance of surviving. Paul Reiser's Dr. Sam Owens has told Eleven that her abilities are important for "winning this war."

The other big news is that horror legend Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself) is here as Victor Creel, whose surname is tied to a very important (and very haunted) house in Hawkins. Here's everything you'll need to watch Stranger Things season 4 online, including the first 8 minutes of the new season. Note that this season is being dropped in two parts, and after the first, Geeked Week is going to give us a whole after show and D&D event from the ST4 crew.

When does Stranger Things season 4 come out on Netflix?

So, Netflix pulled another Ozark. The first of two Stranger Things season 4 release dates is today — Friday, May 27, 2022 — at 3 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. BST. That batch gives us the first seven episodes.

Volume 2, which has two episodes, arrives on July 1, 2022.

Right between those dates, on June 6-10, Netflix Geeked Week looks to give us more details, teases and Stranger Things season 4 previews. We just got the Netflix Geeked Week schedule by the way, which features a whole day dedicated to Stranger Things 4.

In this big day, we're going to get the "official aftershow" for ST4 Vol. 1 and something that sounds like select cast playing Dungeons and Dragons together.

Stranger Things season 4 trailers and teasers

The first full Stranger Things 4 trailer is huge in many ways. Not only does it show the kids after the death of Billy and relocation, but it reveals a big bad villain for the new season. And not only is it menacing, but it speaks

The third Stranger Things season 4 teaser revealed the 2022 release window, and showed off Eleven's bangs, Hopper's flame-thrower and has an ominous line from Mike. Check it out for yourself.

The second teaser trailer for Stranger Things arrived on May 6 (watch for the numbers five and six embedded within the video). It's a chilling look at the facility where Eleven spent her childhood. 

And we get a glimpse of the younger Dr. Brenner, aka Papa (Matthew Modine), as he promises the youngsters "something special" that day. This clip has us wondering if Modine will return in Stranger Things season 4, together with some of the other children experimented on at the Hawkins Lab.

The first Stranger Things season 4 teaser trailer dropped huge news and confirmed the return of Hopper (David Harbour), who was presumed dead.

Stranger Things season 4 schedule

Stranger Things season 4 is split into two "volumes," but they're not dividing it into halves. The first seven episodes dropped today (Friday, May 27), and the last two arrive on July 1.

  • Episode 1, "The Hellfire Club:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 2, "Vecna's Curse:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 3, "The Monster and the Superhero:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 4, "Dear Billy:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 5, "The Nina Project:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 6, "The Dive:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 7, "The Massacre at Hawkins Lab:" May 27, 2022
  • Episode 8: "Papa:" July 1, 2022
  • Episode 9: "The Piggyback:" July 1, 2022

Stranger Things season 4 reviews 

From the first reviews of Stranger Things season 4, it looks like the season starts strong, but has some downsides as well.

Kristen Baldwin at Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab) writes that "Fresh locales, appealing new characters, and a rewarding expansion of the mythology give the new season of Stranger Things a jolt of joyful energy, just when the series needed it most."

Saloni (opens in new tab) Gajjar at AV Club (opens in new tab) says the new season starts strong "with a spectacular few episodes," but declares that "all these thrills are watered down by the bloated runtime."

Alan Sepinwall at Rolling Stone (opens in new tab) writes "It’s nice to have Stranger Things back, period, especially the Hawkins-based parts. But it would be nicer without having to wade through everything else to get to the scenes that work best."

Ben Child from The Guardian (opens in new tab) notes "Luckily the first part of season four is a tour de force unlike anything ever seen before on TV," though his comment that "This season makes HBO Max’s four-hour plus version of Justice League look like an episode of Friends," is slightly worrying, considering how draining Zack Snyder's Justice League was to watch.

But the more horror-centric tone looks to be a success and could be very much what Netflix needs to keep its subscribers happy after it started to lose users

Stranger Things season 4's first eight minutes

Somehow, Netflix decided to just release the first eight minutes of Stranger Things season 4. The clip is set in 1979 and shows Dr. Brenner before work and at work with a child we'll call '10' — who could be a huge piece of the puzzle for the new season.

Stranger Things season 4 episode lengths

Netflix announced that Stranger Things season 4 is comprised of nine episodes that add up to "roughly 13 hours."

But the final three episodes are really quite long:

  • "Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab" — 1 hour and 38 minutes
  • "Chapter Eight: Papa" — 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • "Chapter Nine: The Piggyback" — "almost two and a half hours."

Stranger Things season 4 cast

We have a full Stranger Things season 4 cast and character guide so you can get caught up. But 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). Oh, and since we've been waiting and waiting for this new season, we've put together a look at how the Stranger Things kids have aged over the years.

Speaking of Sink, she's told the press that Stranger Things season 4 will have the highest ‘stakes’ ever for the show. We're wondering if that means The Upside Down is becoming a danger to the whole world, or something entirely different.

Young adults Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Robin (Maya Hawke) will also return, as will Joyce (Winona Ryder, who's one of our picks for best TV moms) and Hopper. 

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 (opens in new tab), 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, who we'll get to next.

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.

During Netflix's Geeked Week, the Duffer brothers announced four new cast members are joining Stranger Things season 4. The group is led by Amybeth McNulty, the star of Anne With an E! (another Netflix show). She plays Vickie, a cool, fast-talking band nerd who catches the eye of one of our beloved heroes.

The others are:

Myles Truitt as Patrick, a Hawkins basketball star who has friends, talent, and a good life … until shocking events send his life spiraling out of control.

Regina Ting Chen as Ms. Kelly, a popular guidance counselor who cares deeply for her students — especially those struggling the most.

Grace Van Dien as Chrissy, Hawkins High's lead cheerleader and the most popular girl in school. But beneath the seemingly perfect surface lies a dark secret.

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.

Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Sadie Sink and Caleb McLaughlin in a darkened corridor

(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things season 4 theories and 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 (opens in new tab), 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."

One big bit 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? A wild fan theory, floated by Express.co.uk (opens in new tab), 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.

There's even speculation of an entire season taking place in The Upside Down (opens in new tab), 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:

Stranger Things season 4 episode 1 info

As has been publicly revealed on Twitter (opens in new tab), Stranger Things season 4 episode 1 is titled "The Hellfire Club." Spoiler alert! It's been revealed that The Hellfire Club is the name of the D&D club at Hawkins High School. 

We don't know any members of the club beyond the aforementioned Eddie Munson, who runs the club. Rumors suggest that Mike, Dustin and Lucas are trying to become members of the group.

In other entertainment news, the first Ms. Marvel reactions make it sound like the MCU's found its next beloved hero. Also, we've covered the hidden Chromecast with Google TV feature our editor only now found out about — as well as a guide for cord-cutting streaming services to replace cable and save money with a range of price points.

When does Stranger Things season 4 come out on Netflix?

So, Netflix pulled another Ozark. The first of two Stranger Things season 4 release dates is Friday (May 27, 2022) at 3 a.m. ET. That batch gives us the first seven episodes.

Volume 2, which has two episodes, arrives on July 1, 2022.

Right between those dates, on June 6-10, Netflix Geeked Week looks to give us more details, teases and Stranger Things season 4 previews. We just got the Netflix Geeked Week schedule by the way, which features a whole day dedicated to Stranger Things 4.

In this big day, we're going to get the "official aftershow" for ST4 Vol. 1 and something that sounds like select cast playing Dungeons and Dragons together.

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.