“Stranger Things” is about to get a little more strange — and scary.
The first look at Season 4 shows Netflix’s beloved tweens, played by Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Charlie Heaton, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin, struggling to adapt to the growing pains of adolescence, all while surviving supernatural occurrences across the country. The season is split into two parts, with Volume 1 premiering May 27 and Volume 2 premiering July 1.
“Stranger Things 4” picks up six months after the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time — and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.
“They’re not kids anymore — they really are full-blown teenagers,” co-creator Matt Duffer told Netflix’s Queue magazine. “That’s why this season we leaned more into horror. We figured they should be in their own [version] of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ basically.”
Eleven, aka Jane Hopper (Brown), has since relocated to California with the Byers family, comprised of mom Joyce (Winona Ryder), Jonathan (Heaton), and Will (Schnapp). Back in the Midwest, Mike (Wolfhard), Dustin (Matarazzo), and Lucas (McLaughlin) have to navigate the changes of high school; and in Russia, the fate of presumed-dead Jim Hopper (David Harbour) hangs in the balance.
Returning guest stars include Sadie Sink as Max, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Cara Buono as her mom Karen, Priah Ferguson as Lucas’ little sister, Erica, and Maya Hawke as Robin, who is still working alongside Joe Keery’s Steve, this time in Hawkins’ local video store. Brett Gelman’s conspiracy theorist Murray also returns to help Joyce Byers (Ryder) decode the mystery of Hopper’s whereabouts.
Season 4 brings new cast members as well, including Joseph Quinn as metalhead Eddie Munson, the greatest dungeon master at Hawkins High, and Eduardo Franco’s Argyle, a laid-back California stoner who becomes Jonathan’s best West Coast pal. Showrunners the Duffer Brothers also enlisted “Nightmare on Elm Street” icon Robert Englund for a guest appearance in the season that will be a “really dramatic departure” from any other “Stranger Things” installment.
“If we look back at our favorite movie sequels — whether it’s ‘Aliens’ or ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day,’ or ‘The Godfather: Part II,’ or ‘The Empire Strikes Back’— the greatest movie sequels always do change it up. The tone feels different,” Ross Duffer told Queue. “So that’s what we’ve been trying to do each season to challenge ourselves and give everyone something new to try.”
Matt Duffer added, “That’s important to make sure we don’t get bored, and the cast doesn’t get bored.”
The decision to split Season 4 into two parts also was due to just how much of a story the Duffers wanted to tell.
“With nine scripts, over 800 pages, almost two years of filming, thousands of visual effects shots, and a runtime nearly twice the length of any previous season, ‘Stranger Things 4’ was the most challenging season yet, but also the most rewarding one,” the co-creators said. “Everyone involved is incredibly proud of the results, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”
The series is set to conclude after five seasons.
“Stranger Things” Season 4 premieres May 27 on Netflix.