Stranger Things 4 has a new teaser trailer - but it's disappointingly not what you think

stranger things season 4 jim hopper
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers follow for Stranger Things season 1 and, potentially, season 4.

Stranger Things season 4 has certainly got fans hyped for its arrival. The next chapter in Netflix's smash hit TV series is still in the process of being filmed, but the show's fanbase had been hoping for some major news today (May 6) after an announcement was teased on Wednesday, May 5.

As it turns out, the big news we were hoping for wasn't what we expected - and we're disappointed to say the least. Fans had been holding out for an official trailer to drop or even Stranger Things season 4's release date announcement. Instead, the only thing we received was another teaser, which suggested season 4 will show more of Eleven's backstory.

Admittedly, the one-minute long teaser does seemingly confirm one longstanding rumor - Martin Brenner, the director of Hawkins National Laboratory and surrogate father of Eleven, is alive. 

The last time we'd seen Doctor Brenner, he was being attacked by the Demogorgon in the season 1 finale. It appeared that he had been killed but, as this new teaser alludes to, he could still be alive. That's because Brenner calls out to Eleven, telepathically or otherwise, right at the end of the new footage.

Check out the new teaser below:

One interesting thing to note is this new teaser video's description. If you open the YouTube video up in a new window, you'll see that it reads "002/004." This is also visible on the Stranger Things Twitter account's bio section. Some fans have already speculated that this is a release date for next year - February 4, 2022 - but we're sorry to say it isn't.

Why? Well, if you go back and watch the first Stranger Things season 4 trailer that arrived in February 2020, titled From Russia With Love, you'll see its description reads "001/004". 

This means that we've received two of four teaser trailers so far, with another two to come. So far, both teasers have revealed that supposedly dead characters are still alive in Hopper and Brenner. Is it possible, then, that teasers number three and four will show other presumably deceased characters who are alive and well? Only time will tell, but it's a theory we're willing to stick our neck out for.

Read on for the rest of our original article, where we speculated what the May 5 teaser might have meant before this new footage dropped.

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On Wednesday, May 5, a near-two minute long video was posted on the official Stranger Things YouTube channel - and it concerns the Hawkins National Laboratory's Control Room. Seven TV sets, complete with static, are visible as the video begins, while some operatic music plays in the background.

As the teaser plays out, the TV sets flicker to life and show off a couple of seconds of footage. The middle screen is the first to come on, but it doesn't show anything more than a seemingly locked door's handle. Other snippets of footage appear to show a play area, various toys and other rooms.

With each new TV flicker, the images start to get more gruesome. Blood can be seen on a chess set, magic 8 ball and and a set of die. After the last toy is shown, the video abruptly ends.

Check out the teaser below, and read on for our analysis on what it all means:

Are we getting a Stranger Things season 4 trailer or release date announcement?

There are two major takeaways from the teaser and, judging by other comments and speculation doing the rounds online, we're pretty confident in how we've interpreted it.

First, let's look at the footage. Most of the flickering TV images contain a rainbow pattern on the walls. For Stranger Things fans, it's pretty obvious what this location is - it's the Rainbow Room, which served as a play area for Eleven, Kali and other child-test subjects at Hawkins National Laboratory.

The TV screens are monitors for security cameras in the facility, which Hawkins National Laboratory director Martin Brenner and other scientists will have used to keep tabs on the children. The blood, meanwhile, is likely to be a call back to the events of season 1, when the Demogorgon attacked the facility and seemingly killed Brenner and the other scientists. 

Alternatively, it could refer to Terry's infiltration of the Laboratory. For those who need reminding, Terry Ives is the mother of Jane - aka Eleven - who broke into the facility to try and rescue her daughter in 1974. She made her way to the Rainbow Room before she was apprehended by the Laboratory's guards, so the blood in the Rainbow Room could be Terry's from when that encounter occurred.

What does this mean for season 4? We could be getting more flashbacks to the 1970s, which would fill in any gaps in the Laboratory's timeline that we don't have yet. That could include more on Eleven, Kali and the other child subjects' backstories that may tie into season 4's plot. 

If we don't get flashbacks, Eleven and some of the other Hawkins kids could break into the lab to try and piece together key events that might be part of season 4.

As for our second major revelation, it's in the YouTube video's description. The caption reads: "Due to technical difficulties, Hawkins National Laboratory will be closed until further notice. We will be back in service tomorrow at 9:00AM ET."

This can only mean one thing - we're getting a release date announcement, or an official trailer (with a release date announcement stinger). You might think that's wild speculation on our part, but it's been heavily hinted at by Stranger Things' writing team on Twitter, too.

Take a look at the tweet below, which strongly suggests we're getting some big news later today:

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The comments on that tweet, the YouTube video, Stranger Things Reddit threads and this other Stranger Things' writers tweet are all mentioning the same two things: a release date announcement or an official trailer.

Given that it's nearly been two years since Stranger Things season 3 was released, fans are desperate for any official news regarding season 4. It would be a giant misstep on the creative team's part, then, if today's announcement isn't one of our two suggestions above. 

Fans have been voicing their frustration over a lack of news for some time now, and anything other than a new trailer or launch date announcement would surely make the fanbase feel aggrieved or even angry.

We don't have much longer to wait for whatever this supposed announcement will be, anyway. We'll be watching all Stranger Things channels from 9AM ET (6AM PT and 2PM BST) for whatever drops, and we'll cover it here as soon as it arrives.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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