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

6 August 2021, 14:41 | Updated: 9 August 2021, 18:05

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 about Hopper and Eleven.

Nerds, it's official. Stranger Things 4 is coming. It's happening. It's confirmed. And now, it's been officially revealed that Hopper, who appeared to die at the end of season 3, is ALIVE. It's also been confirmed that Hopper is the American prisoner, putting to bed several theories.

In the latest teaser trailer, Dr. Brenner (a.k.a. Papa) returns alongside a series of new test subjects at Hawkins Lab. Like Eleven, each of the children have a number. At the end of the trailer, we hear Brenner say "Eleven, are you listening?" before El opens her eyes. Is it a flashback? Is it present day? So many questions...

READ MORE: Jamie Campbell Bower joins Stranger Things 4 cast alongside 11 new characters

The latest news? Stranger Things 4 will be released in 2022. Confirmed in a tweet alongside a new teaser, Stranger Things wrote: "Stranger Things returns in 2022."

A mysterious new phone number has also been revealed after a Russian package was sent to fans. If you call 907-206-7700, you will hear a voice message from new character Yuri, who owns a travel company in Alaska, which is very close to Russia.

12 new characters have been revealed, including Jonathan's new BFF, a Russian guard, a new jock at Hawkins High School and an orderly at a mental hospital, played by Jamie Campbell Bower.

READ MORE: Stranger Things 4 auditions: How to get an open casting call

Considering season 4 is still a while away, there's no way we'll be getting any more 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. Could Prisoner Hopper still make his way into the Upside Down at some point?

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.

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...)

READ MORE: Noah Schnapp hints that there will be a Stranger Things season 5

When will Stranger Things season 4 be released?

Stranger Things 4 will be released in 2022. The release date was confirmed in a tweet alongside a brand new teaser trailer.

In an Instagram Live, David Harbour revealed that Stranger Things 4 was scheduled to be released in early 2021. However, due to the delay in production following the coronavirus outbreak, the release date was delayed.

The cast and crew began shooting Stranger Things 4 in March 2020 before production was suspended. Filming slowly resumed at the end of September 2020.

When does Stranger Things 4 start filming?

Stranger Things 4 officially started filming in February 2020. It was then shut down in March due to the pandemic. Scenes in Lithuania had already been filmed and the cast and crew were getting ready to film in Atlanta, Georgia at the time of shut down.

In October 2020, the cast returning to filming season 4. As of July 2021, season 4 is still being filmed. Some of the cast are also filming in New Mexico, which will serve as the backdrop for the Byers' new home.

Both Noah Schnapp and David Harbour have recently teased that filming on season 4 could be done by August or September 2021. In an Q&A with fans, Noah answered a question about the possible release date for the new season, saying: "We're gonna be done in like, September. So hopefully, end of the year, maybe January next year sometime."

David also told Jimmy Kimmel that filming might wrap for him around August.

Despite the delay in filming, writing for the season has officially been finished. So that's good news!

How many episodes will be in Stranger Things season 4?

The amount of episodes in the season 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 there is rumoured to be 9 episodes in season 4, making it the same length as season 2. That's unconfirmed so far but you can probably expect a minimum of 8 episodes. In the pile of finished scripts shared by the writer's room on Twitter, it appears as though there is 9 episode scripts.

Stranger Things 4 episode names

So far, only one episode title has been confirmed by the writers on Twitter.

Episode 1 will be called 'Chapter One: The Hellfire Club'. (The Hellfire Club is the name of Hawkins High's D&D 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, 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 19 in 2020, can only play a 15-year-old for so long!

If the show goes beyond 1986, they may 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?

A new casting call has fans speculating whether or not the season will take place in 1987. The call, which asks for vintage vehicles, specifies that the car years should be '1987 and older models only.'

Based on the new trailer featuring Jim Hopper as the American prisoner, it looks like quite a lot of time has passed, given his slimmer and gaunt appearance.

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 all return. Winona Ryder will also return as everyone’s favourite Stressed Mom™ Joyce Byers.

READ MORE: Stranger Things writers confirm Robin will be back in season 4

Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer and Joe Keery - whose characters might likely be full time college students - will all return too. Maya Hawke (Robin) will also be returning for season 4, along with Cara Buono who plays Karen Wheeler. Brett Gelman (Murray) and Priah Ferguson (Erica) have been promoted to series regulars which means we'll be seeing even more of Murray Bauman and Erica Sinclair in season 4.

After months of speculation and theories, David Harbour will be returning as Chief Hopper in season 4. In a new teaser trailer, Hopper can be seen working on a snowy field in Kamchatka, Russia. His head is shaved, his moustache has vanished but he's alive.

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.

Who are the new Stranger Things 4 new characters?

Peter Ballard (Jamie Campbell Bower), a caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital.

Argyle (Eduardo Franco), Jonathan's new BFF and a stoner who proudly delivers delicious pizza pies for Surfer Boy Pizza.

Jason Carver (Mason Dye), a handsome, rich athlete who is dating the most popular girl in school.

Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), the head of the Hawkins High official D&D Club, The Hellfire Club.

Victor Creel (Robert Englund), a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s.

Lt. Colonel Sullivan (Sherman Augustus), an intelligent, no-nonsense man who believes he knows how to stop the evil in Hawkins once and for all.

Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha), a smart and charming Russian prison guard.

Yuri (Nikola Djuricko) is a seedy and unpredictable Russian smuggler who loves bad jokes, cold hard cash, and crunchy style peanut butter. In a package sent to fans that revealed another phone number, it was revealed that Yuri runs a fish-and-fly business in Anchorage, Alaska. He looks set to play an important role in the Hopper/Russia storyline.

Vickie (Amybeth McNulty), a cool, fast talking band nerd who catches the eye of one of our beloved heroes.

Patrick (Myles Truitt), a Hawkins basketball star who has friends, talent and a good life... until shocking events send his life spiralling out of control.

Ms. Kelly (Regina Ting Chen), a popular guidance counsellor who cares deeply for her students – especially those struggling the most.

Chrissy (Grace Van Dien) is Hawkins High's lead cheerleader and the most popular girl in school but of course, she harbours a dark secret under her seemingly perfect surface.

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

Thankfully, it's now been confirmed that Jim Hopper is alive and is currently in prison in Russia. (Yes, he's The American.)

In a statement released alongside the new teaser trailer, the Duffer brothers wrote: "We’re excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway – and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper! Although it’s not all good news for our “American”; he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human...and other.

The reveal has now put a number of theories to bed, including one that hinted Hopper jumped into the Upside Down just before the machine exploded.

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 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.

He also hinted 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 March 2021, Harbour began teasing on Instagram again, this time with images and profile pictures referring to twins, or 'seeing double'.

Following Harbour's appearance at Liverpool Comic Con, it seems like Hopper's backstory will be explored in season 4. (Via Advanced Television)

"I know specifically that in season 4, we will give you a big, huge reveal about Hopper's backstory which you've sort of sensed in certain ways, but we haven't really told you about it."

What will happen in Stranger Things 4?

Season 4 will likely 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, or locate people using the void.

With the Upside Down threat now at large again thanks to the Russians, it's only a matter of time before she attempts to regain those powers to save her friends. And once/if she regains those powers, she'll no doubt be able to locate Hopper, right?

The new teaser featuring Dr. Brenner suggest we'll be finding out even more about Eleven's history at the lab, and about the other children like her.

READ MORE: Stranger Things 4 theory says Eleven could become the villain next season

Speaking of Hopper, it's now been confirmed that he is The American. And speaking of the Russians, they're now in possession of a Demogorgon. How they got it remains to be explained but it’s there - and they’re probably about to weaponise it. Could the still-alive-and-currently-MIA Dr Brenner have something to do with that?

Judging by the first season 4 teaser, the Upside Down will also be one of the main settings for the next chapter.

READ MORE: Stranger Things 4 auditions: Open casting call announced

The end of season 3 also 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.

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.

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 can't say anything! 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?

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.”

Finn Wolfhard teased to CBC that Stranger Things 4 is "the darkest season there’s ever been. Every year, it gets amped up. Every year it gets funnier and darker and sadder, and everything."