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

23 October 2020, 16:14

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 allegedly died at the end of season 3, is ALIVE. It's also been confirmed that Chief Hopper is the American prisoner - putting to bed several theories.

In the latest teaser trailer, Hopper can be seen working in the snowy field of Kamchatka, with a shaved head. While it's no surprise that he's alive, fans previously thought he could have been stuck in the Upside Down. Watch the trailer at the top of the page.

READ MORE: Stranger Things 4 confirms Hopper is ALIVE with new teaser trailer

The latest news? New pictures from the set in Atlanta show Dustin, Max, Steve and Robin teaming up this season. It also looks like Maya Hawke's real life brother Levon Thurman-Hawke has joined the cast a punk-type character.

Expect some more exciting famous faces to show up in season 4 too. The Duffer brothers told Deadline: "We have a couple of cool ones this year. It's a really fun way to meet one of your icons ... write a part for them and see if they want to do it."

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

Considering season 4 is a long away off, 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.

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...)

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

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.

As of October 2020, the cast are back and are filming season 4.

Speaking to GalaxyCon Live, Gaten Matarazzo explained that when he turns 18 at the start of September, there'll be no time restraints on the hours that he's allowed to work on set: "By the time I go back to filming, I turn 18 at the beginning of September … and at that point, because of the pandemic, we might not be back into filming. So I’ll be 18 and they can keep me as long as they need me without any time caps.”

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

When will Stranger Things season 4 be released?

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 will likely be closer to spring 2021.

The cast and crew began shooting Stranger Things 4 in March 2020 before production was suspended. Filming is slowly starting to resume as of the end of September 2020.

According to TV Line, filming was scheduled to wrap sometime around August with a potential December 2020/January 2021 release date on the cards. For reference, season 3 began shooting in April 2018, wrapped in November 2018 and aired in July 2019. Expect a similar schedule once filming resumes as normal.

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 are 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.

Episode 1 will be called 'Chapter One: The Hellfire Club'.
Episode 2 will be called 'Chapter Two: Tick Tock Mr Clock'
Episode 3 will be called 'Chapter Three: You Snooze You Lose'

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 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?

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 hopefully all return. Winona Ryder will also no doubt 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 - should all return too. Maya Hawke (Robin) will also both 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 regular 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.

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.

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 in 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 (read: if) she regains those powers, she'll no doubt be able to locate Hopper, right?

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 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?

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.”