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Stranger Things season 4: everything we know so far

A movie-style poster of the cast of season 3 while we wait for Stranger Things season 4.
(Image credit: Netflix)
Stranger Things season 4: key info

- Likely coming in 2022
- Hopper is imprisoned in Russia
- Most of the main cast is returning
- Filming restarted in September 2020 after a delay
- Described as the scariest season yet

Stranger Things season 4 is probably Netflix's most-anticipated title that we know is in the works – and filming has been ongoing, after a pandemic-induced delay. By the time the '80s sci-fi drama returns on the streamer, well over two years will have passed since season 3's release.

That said, while season 4 has been shrouded in mystery to some extent, there are many things we know: an early teaser trailer let us know where Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) finds himself this season, and the cast and crew have been dropping morsels hinting at what's new with the characters in this next set of episodes. We also know that this will be the scariest season of the Netflix hit to date.

Spoilers follow for the first three seasons of the show.  

Release date: Likely 2022 at this point. Netflix has announced returns for everything from Locke and Key to The Witcher for 2021 – but nothing has been officially confirmed for Stranger Things season 4, which makes us think the first half of next year is most likely. 

Trailer: There is already a short teaser trailer for Stranger Things season 4, released back in 2020 – a full trailer will be a little while away yet. 

Cast: All of the main cast members are returning for this season, along with nine newly confirmed characters who were added to the show in late 2020. 

Plot: We know Hopper is imprisoned in Russia after the finale of season 3 – and that's mostly it when it comes to specifics. This season has been described as the scariest to date, though, and the cast have been dropping bits of info about what's new with their characters this season.

Stranger Things season 4: when's it launching?

Stranger Things season 4 release date: 2022?

Eleven and the gang prepare to do battle in Stranger Things season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things season 4's release date hasn't been announced yet. That isn't surprising, what with principal photography still ongoing, so we can't say when it'll arrive.

However, fans have been told not to expect it to air until 2022. That's according to Finn Wolfhard, who portrays Mike Wheeler. In a chat via online meet-and-greet platform Fanmio, Wolfhard was asked about when season 4 may arrive. In somewhat disappointing news, he confirmed that fans shouldn't expect to see season 4 arrive until next year.

Check out Wolfhard's response, which was uploaded to the StrangerThingsSpoilers Twitter fan account, below:

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However, Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) teased a different-albeit-tentative release date. Like Wolfhard, Schnapp was asked about its possible release date during a Fanmio chat, and he suggested that it could be out sooner than we think, revealing that principal photography should be completed "by the summer" and then "the season will be out". 

The tweet, which had Schnapp's comments embedded in it, has since been deleted, but rest assured that's what the actor had said.

Schnapp's comments don't necessarily means that season 4 will arrive sometime this year. The next season will need to be edited, post-production has to be carried out to include VFX and other behind-the-scenes elements, and there's always the possibility that reshoots will be required.

Harbour has also teased that filming may be wrapping up soon. In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Harbour revealed that he was "almost done" with filming on season 4. Not only that, but the Black Widow and Hellboy star also said that "we should be done in August", which tracks with Schnapp's earlier comments.

The trio's estimation has seemingly been backed up by Netflix, too. As part the streaming giant's Q1 2021 shareholders' letter, which was released in mid-April 2021, Stranger Things season 4 was notably absent from a list of productions confirmed to be arriving in 2021.

Netflix revealed that TV shows including The Witcher season 2, You season 3, and Sex Education season 3 would launch later this year, but Stranger Things was nowhere to be seen. If anything, this confirms that we won't see season 4 until 2022.

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There are other aspects of the series that we've been privy to, however. Speaking with Vogue in October 2020, Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler) mentioned that, in terms of Stranger Things season 4, "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."

Season 4 won't be the final entry in the series either, even though its ending has been planned. "Season 4 won't be the end," co-creator Ross Duffer told THR. "We know what the end is, and we know when it is." We can expect at least one more season after this, then, though there has been speculation that there will be six seasons in total before the TV show is done and dusted.

Finally, for what it's worth, the series' writers have confirmed that everyone is working as hard as possible to get season 4 finished as soon as possible:

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Stranger Things season 4 trailer: is there one?

Stranger Things season 4 trailer

Yes, but it's only a teaser trailer. You can watch the video below, which was released in February 2020, and confirmed the survival of one key character from season 3:

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Another teaser trailer has been released since this Hopper-centric one, too. We've posted that further down the page, though, to coincide with our plot speculation.

It'll be a while yet before we see a full official trailer. Once that is released, we'll be sure to update this hub.

David Harbour as Detective Jim Hopper in Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

As the above teaser revealed, Hopper survived the events of season 3. His fate was unknown after he convinced Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) to cause the Russians' machine – which opened a gate to the Upside Down – to self-destruct, despite Hopper being trapped inside.

However, fans had speculated that Hopper hadn't died in the blast. When two Russian soldiers said "the American" shouldn't be fed to a captive Demogorgon in a mid-credits teaser, fans thought they knew who the soldiers were referring to. It could only be one man: Hopper, and the teaser above confirmed as much.

We don't know much else about what Hopper will be doing as part of his imprisonment, but the actor did go live on Instagram in his season 4 costume – an outfit fans already saw in the season 4 teaser trailer – a while back. While Harbour didn't give anything away, he did FaceTime Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), and the duo briefly confirmed that they were currently filming, or had filmed, in Atlanta:

Stranger Things season 4: what will the story be about?

Stranger Things season 4 story

While there isn't an official synopsis yet, we've been receiving a steady trickle of information from the cast and crew – and all signs point towards season 4 being darker than its predecessors.

Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harington, told Total Film that season 4 will be the "scariest yet", and David Harbour revealed (per Deadline) that Hopper's journey this season will be "painted in a bit of a darker palette."

Speaking to The New York Times during the Black Widow press tour, Harbour also stated that movies including Alien 3 and The Great Escape had inspired Stranger Things season 4. We imagine that both are tied to Hopper's arc specifically, though, given that he's in a Russian prison and there's a Demogorgon nearby.

In a separate interview with Entertainment Tonight, Harbour also hinted that fans would see a major moment, in Hopper's backstory, revealed during season 4. According to Harbour, it's something that goes right back to the "first frame of the first season". It might be worth preparing ourselves for something to do with his deceased daughter Sara, in that case, so make sure you have a tissue or two handy when that episode rolls around.

That's not all either. In a March interview with Collider, Matarazzo revealed that the Duffer brothers had finished writing the season 4 scripts, which is a far cry from how the duo had previously worked.

For seasons 1 through 3, the Duffer brothers were still penning the final couple of episodes while filming was ongoing – a process that led to some "panic writing" on their part, according to Matarazzo. This time around, the Covid-19 pandemic allowed the pair to finish writing season 4 before principal photography restarted last September.

Matarazzo was also a guest on the April 7, 2021 edition of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. During the chat, Matarazzo claimed that season 4 would be the "scariest" one yet, and that the Duffer brothers were "really going for it this year".

In a separate ET Online interview, Maya Hawke was asked about Robin's season 4 story arc. Hawke didn't give anything away, but she did hint that the Duffer brothers "really dig into her this season".

One seemingly confirmed piece of information we do have, which relates to season 4's plot, is its length. In a tweet posted by the writers' team – uploaded in June 2020 – it appears that there will be nine episodes in season 4, just like there was in season 2:

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While the image above seems to only show eight scripts, Dyer appeared to confirm that there would be nine episodes in season 4 (h/t The Hollywood Reporter).

The official Stranger Things Instagram account has also revealed the title of season 4's first episode. It'll be called 'The Hellfire Club', and this will relate to one of the new characters who will be appearing in Stranger Things' next chapter:

We're also expecting to see more of Eleven's backstory play out in Stranger Things season 4. A new teaser, which arrived on May 6, is centered around a flashback to when Eleven was one of Doctor Brenner's child test subjects at Hawkins National Laboratory.

The video suggests that Brenner may still be alive, if the end of the teaser is anything to go by, and that we should expect another two teaser videos before season 4's eventual release:

There are also plenty of unresolved plot threads from season 3. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has seemingly lost her powers, while the gang has been split up with the Byers family leaving for pastures new. 

Joyce, Will, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Eleven have departed after Joyce sold her home, with the likes of Mike and Nancy left to mull over long-distance relationships with Eleven and Jonathan respectively.

Max will be dealing with the fallout from brother Billy's death, too. Speaking to Glamour, Sink hinted that Max will be in a "very different place", and that this could be "geographically or mentally or perhaps both".

That's all before we consider what Hopper's dealing with in his new surroundings. Add all of that onto the Duffer brothers' sinister chatter about a new horror rising, and season 4 will be jam-packed of threads to begin and tie up.

Finally, leaked set photos appear to show Eleven will be involved in some sort of accident in season 4.

The images (published by Metro UK) appear to show the fan-favorite character being wheeled out on a stretcher, towards an ambulance, by two paramedics. In another photograph, police and the US army inspect the site where a building has collapsed.

Naturally, it's unclear what this means for Eleven's arc in season 4. Given that she lost her abilities in season 3's finale, though, the two incidents may be linked. It's that, or Brenner has found and kidnapped her, so he can continue his sinister experiments.

Stranger Things season 4 cast: who is portraying who?

Stranger Things season 4 cast

Brett Gelman portraying Murray Bauman in Stranger Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

The TV show's core cast will reprise their roles for season 4:

  • Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers
  • David Harbour as Jim Hopper
  • Millie Bobby Brown as 'Eleven'/Jane Hopper
  • Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
  • Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson
  • Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair
  • Noah Schnapp as Will Byers
  • Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler
  • Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers
  • Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield
  • Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley
  • Joe Keery as Steve Harington

Brett Gelman, who played conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman in seasons 2 and 3, has also been bumped up to a series regular. Meanwhile, Priah Ferguson, Matthew Modine, Joe Chrest and Cara Buono will also reprise their roles as Erica Sinclair, Matthew Brenner, Ted Wheeler and Karen Wheeler respectively.

As we mentioned above, Modine should be back as Brenner due to his presence in one of the teaser trailers. Like we said earlier, though, we don't know what capacity that will be in yet.

In November 2020, Variety also detailed the eight new faces we'll be seeing in Stranger Things season 4:

  • Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd) as Peter Ballard, a caring orderly at a psychiatric hospital.
  • Eduardo Franco (Booksmart) as Argyle, Jonathan's new best friend. A fun-loving stoner and pizza-delivery boy.
  • Joseph Quinn (Catherine the Great) as Eddie Munson, an audacious metalhead that runs Hawkins High's D&D society, The Hellfire Club. At the centre of this season's key mystery.
  • Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) as Victor Creel, a disturbed, intimidating man imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s.
  • Tom Wlashicha (Game of Thrones) as Dmitri, a Russian prison guard who befriends Hopper.
  • Sherman Augustus (Virus) as Lt. Colonel Sullivan, an intelligent, no-nonsense man who believes he can stop the evil consuming Hawkins for good.
  • Mason Dye (Teen Wolf) as Jason Carver, a handsome, rich sport star, whose perfect world unravels as evil spreads.
  • Nikola Djuricko (World War Z) as Yuri, a Russian smuggler.
  • Tyner Rushing (Lovecraft Country) as Virginia Creel, a relative of Victor's.
  • Joel Stoffer (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) as Warden Hatch.

Bower, Franco and Quinn's characters have been added as main cast members, while the others will be recurring throughout season 4.

Finally, four new cast members were revealed as part of the Netflix Geeked Week event in early June:

  • Amybeth McNulty (Anne With an E) as Vickie, a cool, fast-talking band nerd who catches the eye of one of our beloved heroes.
  • Miles Truitt (Queen Sugar) as Patrick, a Hawkins basketball star who has friends, talent and a good life... until shocking events send his life spiraling out of control.
  • 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.
  • Grace Van Dien (Charlie Says) as Chrissy, Hawkins High's lead cheerleader and the most popular girl in school. But, beneath the seemingly perfect surface, lies a deep secret.

Will Stranger Things still have the same magic when it returns after all this time? We're hoping so. If anything, the longer it takes, the more likely the creators are to get it right once again.