In an alternate universe free of COVID-19, Stranger Things‘ fourth season would have come and gone and fans would already be champing at the bit for Season 5. But here in the real world, the pandemic grounded production on the Netflix phenom’s latest season to a halt last winter, significantly postponing the arrival of new episodes.
The good news: We finally have a premiere date! The nine-episode season will drop in two parts, with Volume 1 releasing on May 27 and Volume 2 premiering five weeks later on July 1.
Scroll down to find out everything we know about the supernatural thriller’s upcoming fourth season, including the arrival of several new characters, then drop a comment with your hopes for Season 4 below.
ELEVEN'S A CALIFORNIA GIRL
A teaser trailer (above) released on Stranger Things Day (2021) revealed that Eleven and the Byers family, who moved away from Hawkins at the close of Season 3, wounded up in sunny California. Another six months have passed, and Eleven in a letter to Mike says that she is looking forward to reuniting with him for the “best spring break ever” — though the rest of the trailer suggests that won’t come so easy!
HOPPER IS ALIVE (DUH)
Yep, David Harbour‘s beloved character did not die in the Season 3 finale (as anyone with a steady pulse suspected). Eleven’s adopted dad is, however, in a bit of a Russian pinch, as this ominous teaser trailer made abundantly clear. “He is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka,” series creators Matt and Ross Duffer previously confirmed, “where he will face dangers both human… and other.” (Look for Hopper’s inevitable rescue to be aided by the show’s newest narrative device: portals!)
Harbour later teased that viewers will “get to see some of Hopper’s deep backstory” in Season 4. Fans will also get an answer to a question raised back in Season 2: What’s inside those boxes Eleven discovered in Hopper’s attic labeled “Dad,” “Vietnam,” and “New York”?
LUCAS' SIS SNAGS A PROMOTION
Erica Sinclair will indeed be looming large in Season 4, and here’s why: The fan fave character’s portrayer, Priah Ferguson — who first appeared during Season 2 as Lucas’ sassy kid sister, and was bumped up to recurring for Season 3 — has been promoted to a full-fledged series regular.
And she’s not the only cast member getting an upgrade. Fleabag vet Brett Gelman, who recurred in Season 3 as journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman, has also been promoted to series regular for Season 4.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
New recurring players for Season 4 include:
Grace Van Dien (The Village) as Chrissy, Hawkins High’s lead cheerleader and the most popular girl in school. But beneath the seemingly perfect surface lies a dark secret.
Myles Truitt (Black Lightning) as Patrick, a Hawkins basketball star who has friends, talent, and a good life…until shocking events send his life spiraling out of control.
Amybeth McNulty (Anne with an E) as Vickie, a cool, fast-talking band nerd who catches the eye of one of our beloved heroes.
Regina Ting Chen (Queen of the South) as Ms. Kelly, a popular guidance counselor who cares deeply for her students — especially those struggling the most.
BEWARE OF FREDDY KRUEGER
Eighties horror icon Robert Englund is joining the cast in a recurring role that is right in his wheelhouse. The horror icon will play Victor Creel, a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s.
BEWARE OF JAQEN H'GHAR, TOO
Game of Thrones alum Tom Wlaschiha will recur as one of Hopper’s friendlier Russian keepers. But can he be trusted? Probably not! (Get scoop on Season 4’s six other new additions here.)
[SPOILER] IS BACK IN BUSINESS!...?
If what we are seeing in the teaser trailer above is, in fact, the back of Martin Brenner’s head as he enters a nursery for youngsters with special abilities, the mad scientist is not only back, he’s back in business at Hawkins Laboratory (or a facility much like it). And as if it isn’t creepy enough that the kids call him Papa just as Eleven did, he promises that he has “something very special planned” for them today.
WHAT'S THE EPISODE COUNT?
Per the reveal of episode titles (keep scrolling!), Season 4 will run nine episodes — the same length as Season 2, and one more than Seasons 1 and 3.
EPISODE TITLES TEASE A CURSE AND MORE
As revealed in the video above, the episode titles for Season 4 are:
“The Hellfire Club” (Marvel crossover, or the Mean Girls at Eleven’s school?”
“Vecna’s Curse” (a provocative Dungeons & Dragons reference!)
“The Monster and the Superhero”
“Dear Billy” (wait, who’s writing a letter to Max’s dead brother…?)
“The Nina Project”
“The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” (a new one, or a revisiting/flashback/possible Sean Astin encore?
IS SEASON 4 THE FINAL SEASON?
In a word, nope! But Season 5 will mark the end of the road for Eleven and Co. “Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things,” the Duffer Bros. said in a statement on Feb. 17. “At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but — as you’ll soon see for yourselves — we are not hurling toward our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season; Season 5 will be the last.” (Read their full note to fans here.)