The new Stranger Things season 4 trailer (which arrived at the end of the Stranger Things season 4 countdown live stream) just arrived and picked up right where things left off. The lab at the end of the season 3 finale is in shatters, and a menacing voice growled "you broke everything, your suffering is almost at an end."
And then a very creepy face emerged. Watch it for yourself here, and let's break things down below:
1. The war between the kids and The Upside Down is here
That narration at the start of the trailer, which may be from Robert Englund (more on him below) suggests that the forces from The Upside Down whom we've only met in mono-syllabic-emitting beasts are finally looking to stop playing around and start winning.
This is intensified after we see Eleven and Mike roller-skating, and a second narrator — who we learn is Paul Reiser's Dr. Sam Owens — sets the stakes for the season. While the post-season 4 relocation was done for their own safety, it wasn't enough. Owens says that Hawkins is the eye of the storm. And that Eleven is crucial for "winning this war."
2. Eleven's in trouble and Max may have new powers
But, as Eleven tells Owens, she doesn't have her powers anymore. This would be a huge problem for the fight against The Upside Down, but something tells us that it won't be permanent. Maybe it's the above still of Eleven yelling as explosions rock behind her — which suggests that her emotional state may still be able to trigger things
All that said? It seems like Max's gained some new tricks, and they may be tied to the death of her brother Billy. While the trailer more or less is framed around her paying her respects to Billy, a freeze-frame of a moment later in the trailer shows Max floating above Billy's tombstone, while Lucas, Steve and Dustin are looking up in shock.
3. Freddy's here, and Freddy's blind
Then there's also a blink-and-you-missed-him appearance from horror vet Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself) as a man with no eyes. He's playing Victor Creel, the man whose estate is a major set-piece in the film.
And, as we'll examine below, Englund may also be playing the show's big bad monster. Well, one of them.
4. Hopper's in trouble
You know how Hopper's been stuck in a wintery Russian prison? Well, we get a little glimpse of his struggle there, as he's trying to figure out what he can do to help.
Unfortunately, he's so far away — Journey’s "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" plays to remind us of that — and stuck fighting demogorgons in said prison. Maybe, hopefully, he'll learn new ways to stop them.
5. The Creels may be the key to Stranger Things
Looking closely at the red, veiny monster that looks like it could be the big bad of the season, we think he might also be Victor Creel.
It's Netflix's official copy for the new season, though, that almost cements it: "It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn't made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down."
That mystery, we reckon, is the murders at the Creel house. Previous reports suggest that Creel is "a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s," and so we're curious if Creel murdered one of his family members, while under control of the big bad from The Upside Down.
Analysis: Stranger Things' endgame is in sight
If you forgot, Stranger Things season 4 is the penultimate outing for the series, with season 5 being the already-announced conclusion. While there's no schedule for when we'll get that season, this Stranger Things season 4 trailer gives us a lot of reason to believe this and next season are going to be more tightly connected than before.
This mega-boss — who has drawn comparisons at the Tom's Guide Slack from everyone from The Night King from Game of Thrones to one of the many mutated Resident Evil villains — seems like the forces we've been waiting for. In fact, it looks like the first (and possibly last) of the creepy forces from the The Upside Down that will give the kids and their trusted elders a true test.
Both faces could be the same, mind you, but the first shot has such blue eyes that aren't seen in the latter (again, they could be obscured), but our hunch is saying that these are two monsters. And that one is subservient to the other. This would all tie together for a view of seasons 4 and 5 as a two-parter if one of these monsters is to be stopped in each season. And only by stopping these two villains can they "win the war."
Only time will tell. Stranger Things season 4 Vol. 1 will premiere on May 27, and Vol. 2 will premiere on July 1.
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Henry is a managing 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.