Netflix struck gold in 2016 when the first season of Stranger Things introduced audiences to the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, where a group of plucky young kids contends with terrifying creatures and mysterious government agents endangering their town.
Season 4 of Stranger Things has officially been given the green light by Netflix, so we’ll eventually be seeing more of Eleven, Dustin, Steve, and the rest of the Hawkins gang. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season 4 so far.
(Note: This post contains season 3 spoilers, so turn back now if you haven’t watched the season yet.)
The delay in production on season 4 of Stranger Things doesn’t appear to have affected progress in the writers’ room. On June 18, the official Twitter account for the series’s writers posted a photo of the completed script for the show’s fourth season.
— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) June 18, 2020
There’s still no word on when the season will premiere, but it’s a good sign for fans that the script is finished.
Amid concerns surrounding coronavirus, Netflix shut down all production in the U.S. and Canada for two weeks as of March 16, according to a Deadline report. Yes, that does include season 4 of Stranger Things. No word yet on how this will impact the release date, if at all.
Stranger Things has never been particularly conventional, so it makes sense that Netflix would promote the show through less conventional means. Sure enough, Netflix showed the fourth season of Stranger Things is officially in production through an incredibly cryptic and eerie table read video posted to YouTube.
In the first look at a table read, we see all the familiar faces, including David Harbour, whose Jim Hopper was confirmed alive in a previous teaser for the upcoming season. Deadline also reports that Brett Gelman, who plays journalist/conspiracy theorist/private eye/Russian translator Murray Bauman, has been promoted to a series regular and is on set for episode one.
While the majority of the series has unfolded in Hawkins so far, the fourth season will take the story far, far away from the characters’ Indiana town.
A portion of season 4 was filmed in Vilnius, Lithuania, and production concluded in the country’s capital in mid-February.
Much of the filming occurred at the former Lukiškes Prison, with series director Shawn Levy hinting that the scenes filmed there were indeed tied to “the American,” the mysterious Russian prisoner mentioned at the end of the third season, now confirmed to be Jim Hopper (David Harbour).
In February, Netflix released a new trailer for season 4 of Stranger Things with a big reveal.
In the trailer, Netflix teased that season 4 will begin where season 3 ended: In the remote tundra of the Soviet Union. And they wasted no time resolving the cliffhanger from last season by revealing none other than Jim Hopper (David Harbour) working with a group of prisoners to build a railroad through the desolate region.
Season 4 title
In November, the official Twitter account for the Stranger Things writers revealed the title of the season 4 premiere: The Hellfire Club.
looking for new members… are you in? pic.twitter.com/P1xAWNUPss
— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) November 7, 2019
The announcement has sparked plenty of speculation, as well as some discussion of the title’s potential connection to Marvel Comics history.
Season 4, confirmed
Netflix finally confirmed what everyone knew was coming with a Stranger Things season 4 teaser video (see above) that premiered September 30.
The brief video shows the Stranger Things 4 logo being consumed by dark tendrils, and concludes with the ominous tagline “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.” There was no premiere date for the season included in the video.
One more season (or two)
Fans will be glad to know that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer didn’t intend to end the saga on the somewhat melancholy note of season 3’s conclusion, with our group of heroes heading in separate ways.
In an April 2018 interview, series producer and director Shawn Levy indicated that the show’s creative team has season 4 already mapped out narratively, and the series’ story might go beyond that season, too.
“There’s very much the possibility of a season beyond [season 4], that’s currently undecided,” Levy told Collider. “And what I would just say is part of the chaos and fun of this particular show is that while the Duffers and the writer’s room and we producers outline the entire season, the Duffers really use the writing process to revisit, reassess, and question all of their prior assumptions. So even though we always start off with a good sense of the major arcs of the season, we’re always ready for shifts and surprises because if the Duffers stumble into a different or surprising inspiration while they rewrite the script, we’re going to follow that inspiration and throw out some ideas in order to embrace some new ones that are more exciting.”
A potential premiere date
Nothing is official at this point, but it’s worth noting that the premiere dates for each season of Stranger Things so far have followed a pattern.
The first season of Stranger Things premiered in July 2016, while the second season debuted in October 2017. Season 3 then went back to a summer premiere this July. If the show continues with this pattern, season 4 of Stranger Things is likely to arrive on Netflix around Halloween in 2020 (or if they choose to wait an extra year, 2021).
Who’s going to return?
The bittersweet end of Stranger Things’ third season saw Hawkins’ heroes split up and go their separate ways after the heartbreaking loss of a few key characters, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if the cast reunites for the show’s fourth story arc.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the rest of the young cast members are expected to return for season 4, along with Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono), Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), and — given his surprise appearance in the finale — Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser). Teenage characters Jonathan Byer (Charlie Heaton), Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), and unsung hero Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) are also expected to reprise their roles.
A post-credits scene included in the finale led many to believe that “The American” referenced in the scene was gruff police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who has somehow ended up in the Soviet Union after the events of season 3. The release of season 4’s first trailer confirmed that “The American” is indeed Hopper, imprisoned and forced to work in the icy tundra of the Soviet Union.
Taking the show on the road
Everyone involved with Stranger Things is tight-lipped about where the series could go in season 4, but there have been some clues.
In a July interview, Matt Duffer suggested that the story could indeed follow the main characters outside of Hawkins in the fourth season.
“I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s 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,” Duffer told Entertainment Weekly.
That would seem to track well with the characters’ decision to depart Hawkins in the season finale, as well as the post-credits scene set in the Soviet Union, and the recently revealed season 4 tagline “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.”
There’s no official premiere date for season 4 of Stranger Things at this point.
Updated on June 23, 2020: Added photo of completed script for season 4.