Stranger Things season 4: Release date, spoilers, cast, news and everything we know

10 January 2020, 09:16 | Updated: 10 January 2020, 09:21

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Stranger Things season 4 has been confirmed by Netflix. Here's everything we know about season 4 so far, including news, spoilers and theories.

Nerds, it's official. Stranger Things 4 is coming. It's happening. It's confirmed. And now all that's left to do is FIND HOPPER. (That's if he's alive of course, which he totally is. He's either in the Upside Down, or he's the American in Russia... Right? RIGHT?)

Back in September, the official Stranger Things Twitter account released a teaser video confirming the fourth season. In the video, a sign saying 'Welcome to Hawkins' can be seen in the Upside Down alongside what looks like Hopper's cabin. The words "We're not in Hawkins anymore" flash up on screen.

READ MORE: Stranger Things '3 inches' theory could prove exactly where Jim Hopper is

The latest news? Millie Bobby Brown has now confirmed that season 4 filming is set to begin "early this year". According to TV Line, filming will wrap sometime around August with a potential December 2020/January 2021 release date on the cards.

The Stranger Things writers Twitter account also appears to have confirmed that Maya Hawke will be back as Robin for season 4.

The first episode of season 4 will be titled 'The Hellfire Club', which seems to be a reference to X-Men and the Dark Phoenix saga. The comic book saga was first referenced in season 1 by Will and Dustin.

There's set to be four new characters joining the ranks for season 4 too. TV Line reports that the Duffer brothers are adding three teens and one adult. All male. The teens are described as a "metalhead", a "jock" and a "stoner". And the adult male could potentially have something to do with the Russia storyline from season 3.

Of course, considering that it's only been a few months since the third season dropped, there's no way we'll be getting any big plot details out of the Duffer Brothers and producer Shawn Levy any time soon. But what do have is theories and clues based on the end of season 3... and David Harbour's hint-laden Instagram account.

READ MORE: David Harbour drops Upside Down clues about Hopper in Stranger Things 4 on Instagram

A lot more details will become clearer once we get some answers to those unanswered questions from season 3 but for now, here's what we know about the fourth season of Stranger Things.

Stranger Things 4: Release date, spoilers, news and cast
Stranger Things 4: Release date, spoilers, news and cast. Picture: Netflix

Has Stranger Things season 4 been confirmed?

Yes! Netflix confirmed on Sept 30th that the show will return for a fourth season.

“The Duffer Brothers have captivated viewers around the world with Stranger Things and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with them to bring their vivid imaginations to other film and series projects our members will love,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix. “We can’t wait to see what The Duffer Brothers have in store when they step outside the world of The Upside Down.”

Speaking earlier in the year to Collider, producer Shawn Levy said that “season four is definitely happening”, adding that “there’s very much the possibility of a season beyond that one, that’s currently undecided". (Of course, we won't know anything about season 5 for quite a while...)

When does Stranger Things 4 start filming?

There's no official start date for filming yet but reports suggest that it will begin in January 2020. Millie Bobby Brown has recently confirmed that filming will begin "early this year".

According to fans, both Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo have also spoken about the filming dates. Gaten said in a live-stream that they would not be filming in fall 2019. And in an apparent deleted Instagram story, Noah reportedly revealed that filming starts in January.

Some fans seem to have spotted what looks like Joyce's green Ford Pinto and Hopper's Blazer along with several other cars as early as July 2019. They were spotted again in October 2019 but there's conflicting reports as to which production they were being used for. Some people say it's Stranger Things, some people say it's Black Widow.

When will Stranger Things season 4 be released?

Due to the production schedule, there's no way of predicting when Stranger Things 4 will be released on Netflix. Season one saw a July 2016 premiere date, while season 2 saw an October 2017 premiere date. Season 3 was released on July 4th 2019.

Season 2 and 3's release dates also coincided with the timeline of the actual show. For example, season 2 dropped on Halloween, which is when the season took place and season 3 dropped on July 4th, mirroring the holiday weekend and summer setting. (Season one did not follow this trend. Will Byers went missing in November, while the show was released in July.)

Production has not yet started on season 4 either, which means we could be waiting longer than a year. Season 3 began shooting in April 2018, wrapped in November 2018 and aired in July 2019. If season 4 starts filming in January 2020, wraps in August and follows a similar production schedule, season 4 will likely be released at some point in early 2021.

How many episodes will be in Stranger Things season 4?

That all depends on how much story the Duffer Brothers have to tell. Season 1 had 8 episodes, season 2 had 9 episodes and season 3 went back to 8 episodes.

TV Line has reported that we can probably expect around 8 episodes to appear in season 4.

Episode 1 will be called 'Chapter One: The Hellfire Club'.

What year will Stranger Things 4 be set in?

So far, each season has taken place a year apart - with season 1 set in 1983, 2 in 1984, and 3 in 1985. Unless there’s a huge time leap or it takes them way too long to bring out the fourth, it’s looking like season 4 could be set in 1986.

Of course, the age of the younger cast members could affect the year that the season is set in. Given that they're all growing up fast, the show could flash forward a few more years. Caleb McLaughlin, who turns 18 in 2019, can only play a 15-year-old for so long!

If the show goes beyond 1986, they will also have to find a way to address the career of a young Winona Ryder. Winona's debut film role was in 1986's Lucas. She then appeared alongside Rob Lowe in Square Dance in 1987. If the show ever makes it to 1988, they're surely gonna have to reference how much a young Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice and Veronica Sawyer from Heathers looks like Joyce Byers, right?


Which cast members will return for Stranger Things season 4?

We’ll probably see most of our favourite cast members returning, hopefully with some new faces. But given what happens at the end of season 3, the cast list will have a couple of big missing pieces when we return...

Noah Schnapp (Will), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Finn Wolfhard (Mike) and Sadie Sink (Max) will hopefully all return. Winona Ryder will also no doubt return as everyone’s favourite Stressed™ mom Joyce Byers.

Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer and Joe Keery - whose characters might likely be full time college students - should all return too. Fans will no doubt love to see Priah Ferguson (Erica) and Maya Hawke (Robin) return in season 4 as well, after their iconic scenes in season 3. Cara Buono who plays Karen Wheeler will return and Brett Gelman (Murray) will also likely come back to help find Hopper.

And now for the sad news...

Unless there’s flashback scenes involved, Dacre Montgomery will probably not be returning, as Billy was killed by the Mind-Flayer monster in the battle of Starcourt at the end of season 3.

There’s also the rather big looming question about whether or not David Harbour, who plays the beloved Jim Hopper, will return for season 4. At the end of the season, it’s 'confirmed' that Hopper died when the machine exploded but the post credit scene and the new season 4 teaser could hint otherwise. Is Hopper still alive? It's a possibility...

Did Hopper die in Stranger Things 3? Is Hopper still alive?

In the three month later epilogue, we’re told that Hopper died in a "fire" after the underground Russian machine exploded but the thing is, we didn’t see him die and there was absolutely no blood, flesh or bones left in the area he was standing when the explosion happened.

Could Hopper have been caught by the Russians when Joyce closed her eyes to turn the keys? Is he the American prisoner in the cell? Did he jump into the Upside Down just before the machine exploded? Or should we all just let it go and accept the fact that he died a hero, saving Hawkins in the process? NEVER!

READ MORE: You can call Murray's phone number in Stranger Things 3 for a huge season 4 easter egg

Shortly after the release of season 3, David Harbour starting dropping hints about Hopper's fate on Instagram. After changing his profile picture to list the digits of of Murray Bauman's phone number (which, when called, led us to a voicemail easter egg directed at Joyce and, when inverted and used as a longitudinal coordinate, points to Kamchatka, Russia.), David is back at it again and is dropping even juicier hints about where Hop could possibly be.

He's now moved on to hinting at the Upside Down with a series of images referring back to Eleven's mum in Stranger Things 2 (Sunflower, Rainbow, 450...) and new profile pictures referencing the famous Milgram psychological experiment.

In the new teaser for Stranger Things 4, the Upside Down version of Hopper's cabin can be seen in the background. A light can be seen by the door just before it turns off.

What will happen in Stranger Things 4?

The end of season 3 saw the gang split. Joyce Byers finally moved out of Hawkins, taking Will and Eleven with her. Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Max all remained, along with Nancy, Steve, Robin and Erica. Season 4 will likely explore those new dynamics.

Judging by the season 4 teaser, the Upside Down will be one of the main settings for the next chapter. Yeah, we're definitely not in Hawkins anymore.

On the romance front, Mike and Eleven’s relationship will be tested. Max and Lucas were still a thing at the end of the season while Steve remains single after Robin came out to him. Dustin’s relationship with Suzie (who is real!!) could be a part of the season too. Nancy and Jonathan will no doubt be a couple but could see their relationship tested with college and distance. And as for Joyce… justice for Jopper.

Despite not managing to re-open the gate to the Upside Down, the Russians are still at large and are now in the possession of the original Demogorgon. How they got it remains to be explained but it’s there - and they’re probably about to weaponise it for reals.

Speaking of the Russians, there’s still the looming question over the identity of the American prisoner they’re holding captive in Russia… all signs are pointing to Chief Hopper but are our suspicions correct? The next season will probably have more focus on the Russians and reveal the identity of that prisoner. Could it be Dr Brenner?

Another storyline of season 4 could focus on Eleven and how, or if, she ever gets her powers back. At the end of season 3, following the battle in the mall, El loses her powers and she's no longer able to move things with her mind. With the Upside Down threat now at large again, it's only a matter of time before she attempts to regain those powers to save her friends.

And once she regains those powers, she'll no doubt be able to locate Hopper if he's still alive, right?

What have the cast said about Stranger Things 4?

So far, most of the cast members have just expressed what they'd like to see, mainly because they don't actually know too much about what's happening. It's all very top secret.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Schnapp revealed that he already has a few ideas about where Will will be next season saying, "I know that I might have a separate storyline from everyone else, so we might be filming, like, in another place."

Considering the Byers family moved away from Hawkins with Eleven, could most of Will's storyline have absolutely nothing to do with Hawkins and his friends?

David Harbour also has absolutely no idea if Jim Hopper is dead or alive, or who that American prisoner is. "I have no idea!" he said to ET Online, before expressing his hopes that Jim is alive. "I mean that, of course, is my hope, too. It seems pretty crazy, though!"

"He did glance around a little bit, but he seemed to be trapped and the machine exploded. And then you cut to... some town in Russia right? Where there’s some American and some prisoner. I don't know, I mean, it seems strange."

The Duffer Brothers also confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that season 4 is “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.”

“Assuming there’s a season 4, obviously the question of who that American is in that cell and then also what they’re doing with the Demogorgon, is a tease,” said Ross Duffer. “That’s obviously going to play a huge role in a potential season four.”