It’s almost a year since Stranger Things season three landed on Netflix, leaving fans wanting answers to serious cliffhangers and desperate for more of the Hawkins gang.
Although the coronavirus pandemic may have delayed the wait even further, loyal viewers are still talking about the fate of Hopper, where the new series may be set and what will happen to our favourite Dungeons & Dragons players, who’ve come a long way since Will went missing in 1983.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season, any hints given by the show’s writers on Twitter and what the cast have been saying about the fourth series…
*Warning: spoilers ahead for Stranger Things series 1-3*
Will there be a Stranger Things season 4 on Netflix?
There’ll definitely be a Stranger Things season four – but when it will air is another matter entirely, as even the crown jewel in Netflix’s roster has ground to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Season four 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. From Russia with love,” wrote the Duffer Brothers, also posting a teaser trailer (below) which confirms the fan theory that David Harbour’s Chief Hopper had survived his apparent death in season three.
However, in March 2020 Netflix confirmed it was cancelling filming in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear at this stage how it will affect Stranger Things season four’s release date.
Executive producer and director Shawn Levy described the moment he broke the news of the hiatus to the cast and crew as “bittersweet”, according to Variety.
When is Stranger Things season 4 released on Netflix?
In March, David Harbour told his followers during an Instagram Q&A that the season four was “supposed to come out early next year”, however the release date will “probably be pushed back” in wake of the virus.
Production on the fourth series of Stranger Things was halted in March in light of COVID-19.
So it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing the gang once again any time soon – especially with coronavirus wreaking havoc with production schedules across the world.
Will season 4 be the final series of Stranger Things?
“The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth,” Levy said. “Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”
With Stranger Things being one of the hottest properties that Netflix has in its Originals arsenal and the streaming wars starting to hot up with the entrance of Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max and NBC into the on demand market, it feels like they would be looking for reasons to hang onto the show for as long as possible – and keep hold of the army of fans that comes with it.
Speaking on Lorraine in February 2020, star Noah Schnapp (aka Will Byers) said that he was “sure” there would be another series after the fourth.
“I don’t know if I can say, but from what I think… because they haven’t really told me anything,” he said. “I don’t know what I can’t say either. I’m sure there will be another one after that. I can’t imagine this is the last… I feel like we’d know if this was. I don’t want it to end!”
What will happen in Stranger Things season 4?
From what Chief Hopper is doing now, to how exactly the Russians detained a Demogorgon, Stranger Things three left a lot of questions unanswered. Eleven questions, to be exact, which we go into more detail here.
But as well as tying up loose ends, a fourth run could open up new possibilities for the show: for instance, to accommodate the show’s quickly-ageing young cast, could Stranger Things four be set several years after season three?
In February 2020, TVLine‘s Michael Ausiello reported that season four could consist of 9 episodes, one more than initially planned. He also said that a “fan-favourite character may have his/her origin story told in one (or more) of those nine episodes.”
Harbour added that its his “favourite thing” about Hopper that fans are yet to find out about him, but it’s related to the three boxes found by Eleven in Hopper’s attic which are labelled ‘Dad’, ‘Vietnam’ and ‘New York’.
We don’t know much about newcomer Robin’s background, so she could be a good bet. Or perhaps we’ll find out how former journalist turned private investigator Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) became the bunker-living, vodka-drinking and Russian-speaking sleuth he is today. This seems especially likely now that Gelman has been upped to series regular.
There’s also the strong likelihood that the story will move beyond one town, with co-showrunner Matt Duffer recently telling EW that the fourth season could see plotlines moving “into areas outside of Hawkins”. According to Deadline, Netflix has moved filming from Atlanta to New Mexico, which suggests a change of setting might be on the cards.
Ross Duffer added about a fourth run: “It’s going to feel very different than this season. But I think that’s the right thing to do and I think it’ll be exciting.”
So we could see more of Russia perhaps in season four, and the kids of Hawkins on the road in other areas of America and the world. And of course, as time goes by, they will get older, so the writers will need to explain what’s happened in the intervening years before throwing us all back into what is sure to be another mystery of epic proportions.
What’s more, apparently the upcoming series is set to be the scariest so far – according to Keery, who plays Steve Harrington. The actor told Total Film, “I think that this year — and I know I say this every single year — but this is definitely going to be a lot scarier than prior years, because last year was pretty dark.”
The writers also updated viewers on what jock-turned-Scoops-Ahoy-employee would be up to now, writing: “Steve is doing his own thing, you know, working with Robin and not drinking enough water because he gets distracted easily and forgets where he put his drink.”
Is Hopper alive? Who is “The American”?
At the end of season three, David Harbour’s Chief Hopper was apparently killed after Joyce destroyed the key to the Upside Down, but the post titles scene referencing “The American” in a Russian jail kept hope alive for fans.
On 14th February 2020 and after much speculation, Netflix released a trailer for season four of Stranger Things that confirmed Chief Hopper was alive, and in a prison camp in Russia.
Netflix revealed: “He is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human…and other. Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything….”
How long he’s been there and what’s been going on is yet to be revealed. But for now the mystery of whether Hopper is dead or alive appears to have been solved.
In the footage, which originated from Liverpool Comic-Con in early March, Harbour said, “There are these three things that we’ve established in the season that if we don’t pay off, it means that they’re bad writers. And the Duffer brothers are very good writers.
“I know specifically that in season four we will give you a big, huge reveal about Hopper’s backstory.”
He added: “I’m so excited about revealing this aspect of the character. It’s one of the things that I’ve known since the first frame of the first shot, and we haven’t expressed it yet. And finally, we’re gonna express it in a big way.
“It’s my favourite thing about him that you guys don’t know about him yet, but it has to do with these backstories of New York, Vietnam, and Dad. And I’m really excited for you guys to know more about that, and it relates, of course, to things he’s doing with Eleven and Joyce and things like that.”
Well, as if we weren’t excited enough for season four already…
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Stranger Things season 4 cast
There were a few casualties in the last episode of season three. Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is certainly dead (or as certain we can be that anyone is dead in Stranger Things), and is unlikely to return for a fourth run, unless as part of a cameo, à la Sean Astin’s Bob – or if they do a flashback of some sort?
We should expect to see most of the main cast back for season four, including Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven, Finn Wolfhard’s Mike, Winona Ryder’s Joyce, Noah Schnapp’s Will, Caleb Mclaughlin’s Lucas, Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin, Natalia Dyer’s Nancy, Charlie Heaton’s Jonathan, Maya Hawke’s Robin and Joe Keery’s Steve.
Variety also reported that Priah Ferguson, who plays Lucas’s sister Erica (of “you can’t spell America without Erica” fame), has been promoted to series regular for season four.
And in March 2020, it was confirmed that Fleabag star Brett Gelman had also been upped to series regular. The actor plays eccentric private investigator Murray Bauman, who helped get justice for Barb in series two and acted as a Russian translator in series three (RIP Alexei).
There has been no official casting news yet, but we can safely assume there will probably be new cast members and guests announced in due course for season four – including a notable Game of Thrones star who cropped up in the teaser trailer at the 0.28 second mark…
Tom Wlaschiha, who played ‘Faceless Man’ Jaqen H’ghar in HBO’s series Game of Thrones, appears set to play a mysterious Russian soldier.