Spoilers follow for the Stranger Things 4 trailer. You've been warned.
Finally, after a near three-year wait, Stranger Things 4 is almost with us. And, if you weren't already hyped enough for its return, the latest teaser for season 4 may have just sent your excitement levels through the roof.
The official Stranger Things 4 trailer dropped online on Tuesday, April 12 – and, suffice to say, it looks as glorious as we hoped it would be. The three-minute video is jam-packed with enough footage to tease, shock, and intrigue us. And, just like you, we have plenty of questions swimming in our heads as to what it all could mean.
While we don't have all the answers to your potential queries, we can provide you with 6 things you may have missed from the Stranger Things 4 trailer. Below, we dive into some blink-and-you'll-miss-it snippets of footage from the lengthy teaser, plus we speculate what these specific moments could mean ahead of the hit Netflix show's return.
Potential spoilers for Stranger Things 4 follow. Oh, and if you haven't seen the trailer yet, you better watch it first (you can view it below) before you move onto our trailer breakdown.
1. Meet Vecna, Stranger Things 4's main villain
Let's get that villainous tease out of the way first. As the trailer reveals, there's a new antagonist in town in Stranger Things 4 – and all signs point towards it being the Mind Flayer's new (and potentially final) form.
Fans won't need reminding that the Mind Flayer was defeated by the Stranger Things gang at the end of season 3. Now, though, it looks like it's ready to stop messing around. Taking on the form of a terrifying human-demogorgon hybrid, the Mind Flayer looks like it's out to destroy Eleven and company, once and for all.
And it seems that he'll have a new name, too, in Vecna. For the uninitiated, Vecna is one of most famous villains in Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) history. And, given that the Stranger Things gang are big D&D fans, it wouldn't be a major shock if they end up giving this name to the Mind Flayer's latest incarnation. Season 4's second episode is titled "Vecna's Curse", after all, so we may learn more about the Mind Flayer's backstory here.
Interestingly, the trailer seemingly teases how the Mind Flayer has acquired a human host body. As a couple of brief trailer moments suggest, the Mind Flayer's headquarters appears to be none other than Creel House, one of the new locations that we'll see in season 4.
Given that some of the Stranger Things gang will be investigating the mystery behind Creel House, we wouldn't be surprised if they learn that this location is the birthplace of the Upside Down. Not only that, but one of Creel House's former dwellers – Victor Creel, who'll be played by Robert Englund (Freedy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise) – murdered his own children not long after he and his family moved into their new home.
It's possible that the Mind Flayer's evil influence on Creel coerced him into killing his own children. And, even though Creel is imprisoned in a psychiatric unit by the time Stranger Things 4 rolls around, it's likely that the Mind Flayer has modeled his new body on Creel. You know, what with Creel potentially being a physical vessel for the Mind Flayer to commit atrocities through.
Will Englund be on double acting duties in season 4, and play the roles of Vecna/Mind Flayer and Creel? Time will tell. But, based on the trailer, it seems that Eleven won't be the only member of the Stranger Things crew that the Mind Flayer is after in season 4...
2. Why is Max levitating? Does she have superpowers?
One of the other major surprises in the season 4 trailer concerns Sadie Sink's Max. As the above image shows, Max is seen floating above Dustin, Lucas, and Steve at some point in Stranger Things 4 – so does this suggest that, like Eleven, she also has superpowers?
It's possible, but we think there's a simpler explanation as to why Max can seemingly levitate.
The gang may have defeated the Mind Flayer in season 3, but their victory wasn't without its losses. Billy, Max's stepbrother, sacrificed himself to save Max, Eleven, and Mike from the Mind Flayer in the season 3 finale – a moment which broke our hearts despite Billy's antagonistic ways.
Still, despite his death, it seems that Billy has a big role to play in Stranger Things 4. Episode 4 – Dear Billy – is likely to be centered around Max and her grief surrounding Billy's demise, and it seems that the footage of her visiting his grave will take place during this episode. That means that the scene where Max floats in the air is also likely to occur during Dear Billy, too.
Unlike Eleven, though, we don't think Max has superpowers. Instead, we think her links to Billy – who, don't forget, was a physical vessel (just like Creel, as we mentioned above) for the Mind Flayer in season 3 – make her a prime target for the Mind Flayer in the show's next instalment.
Given that the Mind Flayer can levitate, and its ties to Billy, we suspect he'll be able to track Max down and try to use her as its next physical vessel, and that's why we think she's floating in the air in that particular scene. Curiously, it's Max who's running from Vecna/the Mind Flayer near the end of the trailer, so maybe Vecna has possessed her and is trying to take over her mind in some scary-looking location.
Of course, it would be awesome if Max does somehow have superpowers, but we're unconvinced about that.
3. Is Stranger Things season 4 about to introduce alternate dimensions?
Alternatively, Max's ability to levitate may be down to the fact that Stranger Things 4 could introduce us to alternate universes.
Confused? Allow Twitter user Mia_inSlytherin to explain. As Mia explains, we see two different versions of Billy's headstone in the trailer – one reading 'Billy', and the other reading 'William'.
Stranger Things 4 alternate universe theory. Okay so I just noticed this but I think we will be seeing different stranger things universes. 'why do I think that?" Look at this same. Same grave different name#StrangerThings4 #StrangerThings pic.twitter.com/8oY8GKXEVeApril 12, 2022
It would be a major oversight on Netflix and the Duffer brothers' part if they had erroneously messed up Billy's headstone inscription in two scenes.
Sure, it's possible – you only have to look at some glaring errors made in Game of Thrones (remember the coffee cup incident?) and The Mandalorian's 'crew member in jeans' moment to see that mistakes can be made.
Is it possible, though, that Stranger Things 4 will show us an alternate reality where Max, and not Eleven, has superpowers? If this scene isn't a dream sequence, or based on our 'Mind Flayer taking over Max' theory, it's certainly plausible. And there's another very brief scene in the trailer that alludes to this...
4. The gateways are open
A the 1:59 mark in the trailer, we catch a very, very brief glimpse of what appears to be portals to other dimensions.
Does this confirm that we'll see alternate universes in Stranger Things 4? Maybe. It would make sense for the Upside Down/the Mind Flayer/Vecna to have had access to other worlds, and potentially have destroyed them on its quest to ruling over the multiverse. That is, until Eleven and company's intervention.
Regardless of what this particular snippet of footage is alluding to, it's certainly a topic of hot discussion in the aftermath of the trailer's release. Multiple fans have picked up the timestamps that can be seen around each portal, with some trying to link them to specific moments in the trailer. At the time of writing, though, there's no major correlation that's been drawn between them.
5. Who's shredding the guitar in the Upside Down?
Amid the fast-paced edits in the trailer's final 30 seconds, you may have noticed an unknown individual shredding guitar on a building in the Upside Down.
So, who is this character? It's Eddie Munson, a new individual who'll be played by Joseph Quinn in season 4.
For those who don't know, Eddie is the leader of the Hellfire Club, the D&D club that Mike and Dustin join at Hawkins High School. Netflix has previously described Eddie as an "80s metalhead" (hence the guitar) who will find himself "at the terrifying epicenter of this season's mystery". Given that he'll travel to the Upside Down with some of the main cast, that character synopsis makes a lot more sense now.
6. Is that a blind Doctor Brenner?
Editor's note: thanks to a separate trailer breakdown with The Duffer Brothers (via IGN), it's been revealed that this is Robert Englund's Victor Creel, and not Doctor Brenner as we predicted. This correction reflects that the information below isn't accurate, and we apologize for leading our readers to believe that was the case.
Original speculation follows.
We already knew that Matthew Modine would reprise his role as Doctor Martin Brenner in season 4, but it seems the sinister scientist may not just be back in a flashback capacity.
Near the end of the trailer, we see an old, blind man who appears to look in the direction of a character off-camera. It's hard to work out who this is exactly, but we suspect it's none other than Brenner.
That may sound like strange to say – after all, wasn't Brenner killed by the demogorgon in season 1? Everyone thought so but, seeing as we didn't actually see him die during that scene, there was no guarantee that he met his demise at the hands of that monstrosity.
It's possible, then, that he survived that encounter but paid the price of losing his sight. If he did, it's also plausible that he's gone into hiding so the likes of Eleven can't find him. Given the brief trailer scene in question, though, it seems he hasn't done a very good job of doing that. Providing that this is Doctor Brenner, expect some answers – such as how he's still alive, plus the secrets hidden inside Hawkins National Laboratory's walls – to be revealed in season 4.