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Stranger Things season 4 release date, teaser trailers, cast and latest news

Stranger Things season 4 release date, teaser trailers, cast and latest news
(Image credit: Netflix)

When will Stranger Things season 4 exit the Upside Down and hit Netflix? It feels as if we're stuck with a certain lost character — but the good news is that Netflix is giving us a little taste of what's to come, and enough to speculate. Everyone is analyzing the new Stranger Things season 4 teaser trailer, which gave us more of an old character than we expected — suggesting one of the adults of Eleven's past will be back. 

Also, cast member Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, recently revealed that fans might not see the new episodes until next year. And so while Stranger Things season 4 might not be coming soon, there are plenty of reasons to stay excited for the return of the series. Fans can theorize over leaked set photos, like the ones showing something big happening at Hawkins High School.

Stranger Things season 4 will take place (in part) far from Hawkins, Indiana. 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 latest news (updated May 18)

  • The new teaser trailer is about Eleven's childhood training with Dr. Brenner
  • Maya Hawke says that the longer production time is a good thing
  • New set photos have leaked, showing military vehicles at Hawkins High School.

Stranger Things season 4 release date

Netflix hasn't given us a date for Stranger Things season 4 yet, but its latest earnings announcement makes us think the new season will wait until the new year. 

In a letter to investors, Netflix noted "We anticipate paid membership growth will re-accelerate in the second half of 2021 as we ramp into a very strong back half slate with the return of big hits like Sex Education, The Witcher, La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), and You." We're betting Stranger Things season 4 is a big enough property that it would have made the list, were Netflix sure it was coming that soon.

Word about a delay to 2022 was first signaled by Finn Wolfhard, who told Fanmio that "Season 4 ... it should be out sometime next year, hopefully."

Maya Hawke (Robin) told Collider that she's not "allowed to [reveal] when [they] finish filming," so it seems Netflix wants to control all the details about production. That said, she also noted that "because we had so much time, the level of effort, interest, and detail that [creators] the Duffer Brothers have had the time to put into the scripts… and the actors [who] have had the time to think about their characters – it is gonna be awesome."

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 trailers and teasers

The new, second teaser trailer for Stranger Things arrived on May 6 (look 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, and the other children experimented on at the Hawkins Lab, are returning in Stranger Things season 4.

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

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, who we'll get to next.

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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 will send our favorites far from home

(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things season 4 set photos

Filming on Stranger Things season 4 has resumed after pausing due to the coronavirus pandemic. And these photos may have proven too good, as many have since been deleted.

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.

Stranger Things season 4 Levon Hawke

(Image credit: best of stranger things/Twitter)

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).

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Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: best of stranger things/Twitter)
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Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: best of stranger things/Twitter)

More recent (and deleted) set photos revealed a run-down trailer park that could be the location of some scenes. One trailer home is covered with tentacles that look reminiscent of the Upside Down.

And the newest leaked set photos (which have been taken down) indicated something is going down at Hawkins High School, that requires military vehicles and some kind of tent.

Stranger Things season 4: David Harbour video

On the set of Stranger Things season 4, between shoots, a very dirtied David Harbour went on Instagram Live. In a clip posted to his IG, the actor teased spoilers from the season before telling his audience that  "it's a very tough day today."

During the video, co-star Millie Bobby Brown jumped into the comments, which made Harbour tease spoiling her arc for the season. Then, the two have a video call.

Stranger Things season 4: Dustin & Steve spin-off?

Stranger Things' star Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) has been doing a lot of interviews lately, and just handed out some free ideas for Netflix. While talking with Entertainment Tonight (via Metro), he said "‘I think a Dustin-Steve spinoff would be good if it were in a weird niche format. Like, they didn’t do a full show of it, ... Like a WandaVision type thing or a web series type thing where on YouTube, there’s weekly episodes of little hijinks they get into, like every now and again, like a skit show. That’d be great." 

Matarazzo also told Collider, when asked about the release date of the series, that "we still don’t know on day-to-day if we’re gonna be filming next week. ... there’s really no way to figure out when we’re gonna be wrapping." Which doesn't give us high hopes for a 2021 release.

He also noted that the Duffer Brothers (the series showrunners) have already finished the script — and aren't writing it as they go. Specifically, "This year, because of COVID, there’s no excuse for them not to have the [season] written completely," as "COVID hit and we only had like six episodes and so they were like, 'we might as well finish.'"

Matarazzo said that this allows the showrunners to "relish in directing in their day-to-day. There’s nothing else distracting them other than what we’re gonna do today while we’re directing ... now they can take their focus off of what the show is going to be about, and now that they know it, they can focus on how they’re going to deliver. And I think it shows."

Oh and speaking of scary, Matarazzo told Entertainment Tonight that Stranger Things is venturing into the most frightening area of all: adulthood. The kids are no longer just kids!

"When it comes to the tone of the season, it's definitely, I think the tone is definitely matured for sure, and I think they do that on purpose because I think they want their show to mature with their kids. As we are growing older as people, we have to grow older as characters," he explained. 

"They're confronted by this issue, but they embrace it, and they use it to their advantage. And they don't freak out when we get taller or when our voices drop or anything like that. They use it and they use it as ammunition for their writing. It's incredible what they can do. Working with them, it's just exceptional. Always has been." Matarazzo also spoke with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, telling him that Stranger Things season 4 may be the "scariest" season so far, before saying "I was reading it and I'm like, 'They're going for it this year, that's pretty cool!'"

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, 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, 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, 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, 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.