Stranger Things season 4 release date: Cast, plot, trailer and everything you need to know

Will season four be Stranger Things' last? Which hints are the cast and crew dropping? Here's everything we know about the upcoming season.

Stranger Things season 3

The long-awaited fourth season of Stranger Things is on its way, and while it’s faced a number of COVID-related hurdles, the end of production is nigh.

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Black Widow star David Harbour recently revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live that shooting is expected to wrap in August – although he recently hinted that production won’t be only thing due to wrap sooner than we thought.

Speaking to Collider, Harbour revealed that the upcoming fourth season points the show in a certain direction to ensure there’s a “definite ending at some point”.

Hopefully we’ll have a couple more seasons to go before Stranger Things is completely wrapped up and judging by the recently shared images of production, the upcoming fourth series is set to be bigger and better than ever.

Metro published images showing Hawkins police cars in front of rubble and a large blue screen, hinting at a possible stand-off between the town and otherworldly creatures.

Meanwhile, Mail Online recently shared shots from the set, showing Joe Keery (Steve), Natalia Dyer (Nancy), Maya Hawke (Robin), Sadie Sink (Max), and Priah Ferguson (Erica) gearing up for a fight scene.

Read on for everything we know so far about Stranger Things season four.

Stranger Things season 4 release date

No official release date has been confirmed yet. As Netflix is playing catch up thanks to the global pandemic a 2021 release is looking very unlikely too.

In March last year, David Harbour (Hopper) revealed during an Instagram Q&A that season four was originally “supposed to come out” in early 2021, but that the release date would be “pushed back” in wake of COVID-19.

If things hadn’t had to be paused it looks like filming would have finished up in August 2020. The script was finished a while ago, and production started in March 2020.

Actor Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) told Fanmio that filming is set to wrap in summer 2021 and this was backed up by David Harbour’s comments on a June episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he revealed that shooting is “almost done”.

“I’ve got one more little stint, we should be done in like August,” he said, although an effects-heavy show such as Stranger Things will require several months of post-production.

In fact, star Finn Wolfhard has recently suggested that we may not see season four until 2022, telling a Fanmio user that Stranger Things 4 “should be out some time next year hopefully”.

A 2022 release date wouldn’t be a surprise, but that “hopefully” is a little worrying for fans. Of course, it’s likely Wolfhard simply didn’t know the exact answer so kept things vague.

Stranger Things, Netflix

Co-star Gaten Matarazzo employed a similar strategy when he was quizzed on a release date by Collider in March 2021, saying there was still quite a bit of filming to get through.

“There’s very few dates that are reliable,” he said. “It really is more of a ‘guesstimation’ on when we’re gonna be filming next, when we’re gonna be wrapping up, when release is gonna be, all that jazz because we still don’t know on day-to-day if we’re gonna be filming next week.”

He added: “I should be filming like next month for a bigger chunk than I’ve had in a bit, but even though it’s coming up in about two weeks from now, I still don’t know an exact date. So because of that, there’s really no way to figure out when we’re gonna be wrapping.”

Production has been underway for quite a while now, with some select scenes actually completed before the first lockdown until filming was halted as the pandemic spiralled out of control.

On the bright side, the forced stop allowed The Duffers to improve the scripts before they returned to set – we imagine that could also slow things down if the changes related to already filmed scenes.

Executive producer Shawn Levy told Collider he saw this as a positive. “The pandemic definitely massively delayed shooting and therefore the launch of our current season four,” he admitted. “But it impacted very positively by allowing the Duffer brothers, for the first time ever, to write the entire season before we shoot it and to have time to rewrite in a way that they rarely had before so the quality of these screenplays are exceptional, maybe better than ever.”

Shooting also takes longer with the new safety measures in place.

“It’s definitely a slower process than usual, which is really saying something because we take our sweet time making the show anyway. So it’s not as steady paced or as consistent as I think any of us would like it to be, but we do our best and we’re playing it by ear,” Matarazzo told People. “And I think the most important thing is that when we’re working, we’re all staying safe.”

What we do know all this work will be worth it. Dyer told Vogue: “Honestly, the scripts are great. I’m very excited. I’m excited for Nancy. Every time we end a season, we all think, where is this going to go? Where can this possibly go? Then we get the scripts for the next season and we’re, like, ‘Oh my God, wow, like, wow!’ So, while I can’t say a lot, except that it’s going to be a while before it comes out, it will definitely be worth it. It’s going to be really big. It’s going to be big!”

Stranger Things season 4 trailer

A full-length trailer is yet to land, but we have been gifted a number of teasers including a trailer revealing Hopper’s fate

Netflix released its latest teaser trailer on 6th May showing the lab where Dr Brenner carried out his experiments on children, including Eleven. We last saw the lab in seasons one and two. As a clock ticks down we see children playing with cards on a rainbow car track, there’s chess, and a ball… a Magic Eight Ball says ‘signs point to yes’ as a child laughs creepily. We’d say it’s a safe bet that this is a flashback again as Dr Brenner is present and the voiceover says: “We have something very special planned for you today.”

The camera focuses on a door marked 11 and as we look inside we hear: “Eleven? Are you listening?” as Eleven’s eyes flash open. You can watch it below.

There was also a teaser released on Stranger Things’ YouTube the day before named ‘HNL Control Room’. The clip shows seven TV screens which we assume is in the Hawkins National Laboratory Control Room aka HNL. The TVs are all flickering, showing scenes of school. There’s another chessboard and the Magic Eight all again, but we can see bloodstains on them. That operatic music isn’t helping our nerves either.

These two are just the latest teasers. Netflix tweeted the first teaser trailer all the way back on Valentine’s Day last year – confirming that Hopper was in fact alive.

The Twitter accounts have been busy too, posting blurry videos and pictures teasing what’s to come. Submit your theories on a postcard.

Stranger Things season 4 cast: Who’s returning and who’s new?

Stranger Things cast has grown over the past few seasons, as well as suffered a few casualties, but we expect to see all the main Stranger Things cast back for season four.

Stranger Things season four will star; Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Will (Noah Schnapp), Max (Sadie Sink), Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Robin (Maya Hawke), Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour).

Netflix has shared a few behind-the-scenes photos of the cast including Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Sadie Sink (Max), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) and Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), back when they were starting work on Stranger Things season four.

Since it’s not exactly a secret anymore that Hopper didn’t die in season three, Harbour has been talking about his return too.

Talking to Total Film, Harbour said he always knew where they were going with his character. “I’ve known from the get-go… I’ve had those discussions with them [the Duffer brothers] from the very first season. We were always interested in that idea of the Gandalf resurrection – Gandalf the Grey who fights the Balrog and then becomes Gandalf the White.”

Hopper Stranger Things
Netflix

A few of the cast have also been promoted to series regulars, including Priah Ferguson, who plays Lucas’s sister Erica (of “you can’t spell America without Erica” fame). Netflix has also officially announced new cast members joining for season four. Three new series regulars as well as some big-name recurring stars have been confirmed.

The new regulars include Eduardo Franco (Booksmart) as Argyle, who is described as “Jonathan’s new best friend, a fun-loving stoner who proudly delivers delicious pizza pies for Surfer Boy Pizza” and Sweeney Todd star Jamie Campbell Bower as Peter Ballard – “a caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital.”

They are joined by Catherine the Great’s Joseph Quinn who plays Eddie Munson, “an audacious 80’s metalhead who runs The Hellfire Club, Hawkins High’s official D&D club” and Bosch star Mason Due who plays handsome student Jason Carver.

Among those to play recurring roles is none other than Freddy Kreuger himself, Robert Englund – and it looks like he may be inspiring just as many nightmares in Stranger Things, with his character Victor Creel described as “a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s”.

The other new recurring stars include Tom Wlaschiha (best known as Jaqen H’ghar in Game of Thrones) as a Russian prison guard who befriends Hopper, Sherman Augustus (Westworld) as an intelligent, no-nonsense man who believes he knows how to stop the evil in Hawkins and Nikola Djuricko (Genius) as a seedy and unpredictable Russian smuggler who loves bad jokes, cold hard cash, and crunchy style peanut butter.

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things 3
Netflix

Meanwhile, eagle-eyed fans have spotted a few new cast members on set – including Levon Thurman Hawke, the younger brother of Maya Hawke (Robin). While Netflix declined to comment on the rumours, Thurman was spotted on-set with Joe Keery (Steve Harrington) in October.

Also joining the cast is Agents of SHIELD star Joel Stoffer, who has been cast in a currently-secret role, with the actor telling Comicbook.com: “I’ve got a role that we haven’t shot yet on Stranger Things.

“I don’t expect it to become anything like long term… I was sent the pages of my scene and I didn’t know any of the actors or I didn’t recognise any names in my scene.”

Dr Sam Owens (Paul Reiser) returned for season three, and looks like he’s back for season four. Dr Sam works for the US department of Energy and was made Director of Operations at Hawkins Lab after Dr Martin Brenner exited.

He was behind the investigation into the Gate to the Upside Down, and he also helped Hopper adopt Eleven. With his return we expect to see more action around the department…

While we’re talking about doctors, Brenner could also return. We’ve seen a few teasers looking at the other children at the facility as well as Eleven, will we see more of Brenner and the experiments he conducted? While he was dragged down and attacked by a Demogorgon in season one, we never know someone’s dead until we’ve seen a body when it comes to sci-fi and horror!

As if that wasn’t enough, the Stranger Things Instagram account shared a list of new cast members in the style of the Upside Down.

Robert Englund will play Victor Creel, “a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital”.

Eduardo Franco (Booksmart) plays Argyle, “a fun-loving stoner, pizza delivery boy and Jonathan’s new best friend.”

Jamie Campbell Bower (Twilight Saga, young Grindelwald in Harry Potter) plays Peter Ballard, “a caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital”.

Sherman Augustus plays Lt Colonel Sullivan, “a no-nonsense man who believes he knows how to stop the evil in Hawkins.”

Mason Dye (Teen Wolf) plays Jason Carver, “a handsome, rich athlete dating the most popular girl in school.”

Nikola Djuricko plays Yuri, “an unpredictable Russian smuggler who loves bad jokes, cold hard cash, and crunchy style peanut butter”.

Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar) is Dmitri, a “smart and charming Russian prison guard”.

Joseph Quinn plays Eddie Munson, “the head of the Hawkins High official D&D Club, The Hellfire Club.”

Reading between the (casting) lines here, we’d say there’s a pretty safe bet that we’re leaving Hawkins in season four for the colder climate of Russia.

In June, Netflix teased another round of casting updates with upside down Polaroid’s, accompanied by a bio for each one.

Anne with an E’s Amybeth McNulty is set to play Vickie, “a cool, fast talking band nerd who catches the eye of one of our beloved heroes”, while Kin’s Myles Truitt stars as Hawkins basketball star Patrick “who has friends, talent and a good life…until shocking events send his life spiralling out of control”.

Queen of the South’s Regina Ting Chen is set to play school guidance counsellor Ms Kelly and The Village’s Grace Van Dien has joined the cast as Hawkins High cheerleader Chrissy – “the most popular girl in school” with “a dark secret”.

Stranger Things season 4 story details: What will happen?

With all the delays to filming there’s been even more time than usual to squeeze plot details from the Stranger Things cast.

Natalia Dyer has really built up season four telling The Independent: “Honestly the scripts are great. Every time we end a season, we all think, ‘Where is this going to go? Where can this possibly go?’ Then we get the scripts for the next season and we’re like, ‘Oh my god, wow, like, wow!'”

She added: “It’s going to be really big. It’s going to be big!”

Matarazzo also spoke to Entertainment Tonight about a shift in tone, and how the cast ageing has helped fuel the writing.

“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 [creators Matt and Ross Duffer] do that on purpose because I think they want their show to mature with their kids,” he said. “As we are growing older as people, we have to grow older as characters. 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.”

We ended season three in an intense and emotional way. Joyce took Jonathan and Will and left Hawkins in their removal van along with Eleven after Hopper’s death – though we now know he’s alive.

Hopper is alive

Winona Ryder and David Harbour star in Stranger Things on Netflix
Winona Ryder and David Harbour star in Stranger Things on Netflix
Netflix

The official synopsis for season four highlights Hopper’s plight: “It’s not all good news for our ‘American’; 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…”

When it comes to Hopper, as well as knowing he’s alive we know we can expect a character change. Hopper always “had to change” according to Harbour: “So we’ll see a very different guy going forwards. The same guy but in a different vein. It’s a very cool thing to be able to play.”

Harbour recently told Jimmy Kimmel Live that his role in Marvel’s Black Widow actually changed Hopper’s look for season four, with the star revealing that he got the offer to play Russian super-soldier Alexei Shostakov (AKA Red Guardian) a month after filming on season three Stranger Things wrapped.

“They wanted me to play a guy who starts out in a Russian prison,” he said. “So there’s all these conspiracy theories that Hopper went to Russia and then put on a super suit, and now is the Red Guardian in the Black Widow movie.”

He added that he went to great lengths to ensure the Duffer Brothers weren’t coping the look of Black Widow, sending them pictures from set. “I had this long hair and this beard and I was big and I thought, ‘I can’t be the same guy with long hair and a beard in the same prison,'” he said.

“At the end, I had all this hair and all this beard and we had planned to do it that way. And I was like, ‘Guys, we can’t do this. I mean, I’m coming out with this Marvel movie, I can’t have the beard and the hair.’ So, we came up with a whole different look for it. We had [Hopper] shave his head.”

We’re also all looking forward to seeing how Hopper is resurrected and how his relationship with Eleven develops, which is good news as Harbour confirmed we’ll get more backstory with a call back to season two when Eleven found boxes labelled ‘dad’, ‘Vietnam’ and ‘New York’.

Speaking at Liverpool Comic Con Harbour expanded on this. “In season four we will give you a big, huge reveal about Hopper’s backstory, which we haven’t really told you about… 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,” Harbour added.

Will Eleven’s powers return?

When it comes to Eleven we can expect big things too now she’s sans powers. We hope they make a reappearance, probably at the best moment possible.

There are a few worrying fan theories around her powers that have us a little concerned. Reddit user weedmonkey666 has put forward the idea that the monster bite Eleven got could mean the Mind Flayer can access her mind.

“If Eleven is infected, the Mind Flayer could control her like it did with Billy, Will and the flayed, to eventually destroy her or use her to get more control/spread.”

Here’s hoping that’s not the case, but there is a bit of evidence to back the theory up. A shadow was seen on Eleven’s head in the final season three scene. We’re unsure what this means, but add to this that the Gate only looked like it had been shut… there’s still a Demogorgon imprisoned by the Soviets.

We’re not in Hawkins anymore

What we do know is that the show will now expand beyond the little town of Hawkins. The Duffers always said this was the plan, but speaking to Entertainment Weekly they teased that season four will 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”. Season four will take place in Russia, and there have been plenty of cast additions – including prison guards – that back this up.

Scariest season yet

What’s more, apparently the Stranger Things season four is set to be the scariest so far – according to Joe 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.”

Matarazzo also teased that season four is “the scariest [season] out of the previous three, which I love because it’s very fun to film.” (via US Weekly)

Outside of Hopper and the main story arc, with Erica becoming a series regular we may see some of her comic book story pop up. In the comic, Erica starts selling green acid she smuggled out of the Russian lab at the end of season three, forcing the other three to intervene before she gets herself into trouble. While the plot doesn’t seem particularly dramatic for the small screen, hopefully, it’s suggesting that we’re going to see more of the fan-favourite foursome in season four.

In terms of theories for season four, we don’t know much about newcomer Robin’s background, so she could be a good bet for further exploration. 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.)

Stranger Things season 4 episode titles

We already have season four’s first episode title Chapter One: The Hellfire Club thanks to the IMDb page. The tease for the episode reads: “We’re not in Hawkins any more…” Just speculating here, but is The Hellfire Club the new name the teens are adopting? Is it about the new characters? All we have is this teaser image, though in a reply tweet Stranger Things Twitter account did post a picture of ‘Dustin’ saying: “heard the Hellfire Club is now looking for new members.”

When fans asked for more title names, the writers responded with: Episode two Tick Tock Mr Clock and episode three You Snooze You Lose. They later tweeted what seemed to be a confirmation that the titles were just jokes to tease fans, writing: “Episode 4: Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey,” before the writers added: “This is called hilarious comedy.” Shame, we sort of liked Tick Tock Mr Clock!

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.”

Is this Stranger Things’ final season?

We’ve not even got Stranger Things season four yet, but talk is turning to when the series may come to an end. The Duffer Brothers did say they would probably have four or five seasons of the show before calling it a day. It has been confirmed that season four is not the final season.

The Duffer Brothers have said they already know how Stranger Things will end, and have known for quite a long time. Speaking to Deadline Matt Duffer said: “We like to look at each season as kind of its own complete story.

“We do have a pretty large mythology […] and season by season, we’re turning the page and revealing a little bit more and more.

“So we do have a general sense of where we’re going. We’ve known the ending of the show for quite a while.”

More recently, Ross Duffer told CNN that the brothers have been working on the ending a bit more. “[The pandemic] has given us time to look ahead, figure out what is best for the show. Starting to fill that out gave us a better idea of how long we need to tell that story,” he said.

While in June, David Harbour told Collider that season four would set up the show’s “definite ending”, which will happen at “some point”.

“We’re introducing new stuff, but we’re also tightening and wrapping up in a certain direction to make it have a clear, clean specific, and definite ending at some point, which I can’t really talk about,” he said.

One bit of good news though, The Duffer Brothers did reportedly sign a multi-year, nine figure deal with Netflix to develop other projects so it’s far from the last we’ll see of them.

Stranger Things seasons 1-3 are now available on Netflix. 

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