It’s been a little over a month since Netflix blessed us with Stranger Things Season 3 and we’re still reeling from that climactic ending — and trying to figure out who “the American” is in that post-credits scene. Hopefully, we’ll learn the answer to that and when Stranger Things Season 4 arrives. But when exactly will that be? And what can we expect from what some believe might be the final season of the Netflix sci-fi series?
Here’s everything we know so far about Stranger Things Season 4, from its renewal status and possible release date to which cast members will return and which historical and cultural events the next season could reference.
Possible spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 ahead.
Has Stranger Things Been Renewed for Season 4?
Stranger Things Season 4 has not officially been renewed — yet.
In April 2018, executive producer Shawn Levy told Collider in an interview about the then-upcoming Season 3 that the show would continue through until at least Season 4. Since the premiere of Season 3, no news indicating Netflix would not renew the series has emerged. Also, the third season admittedly has a very open ending that could be picked up in a fourth (and maybe final) season.
Stranger Things is such a hit for the streaming giant that, at this point, it would make no logical sense for the show to not be renewed. After all, Season 3 was the most popular release in Netflix history.
But until there’s an official word, we can’t be sure just yet.
When Will Stranger Things Season 4 Be Released?
Once Stranger Things is officially renewed for Season 4, we’ll have a clearer idea of the production timeline on Season 4.
Until then, we can only guess the Stranger Things Season 4 release date. There seems to be an interesting pattern which has emerged over the course of three seasons in regards to release dates: Season 1 premiered in July 2016; Season 2 premiered October 2017; and Season 3 arrived in July 2019. If Stranger Things continues in this pattern, Season 4 could premiere in the fall of 2020 should the show’s renewal happen soon and production gets underway shortly thereafter.
It’s also worth noting that Season 3 ended with what could be a big clue about the Season 4 release date. As Eleven, Will, and the rest of the Byers clan leaves Hawkins, we get a hint at when the gang could reunite again. In a tearful goodbye, Will tells Eleven that he’s all set to visit over Thanksgiving, and adds that she should come back to Hawkins on Christmas day. Either of those holidays could be the perfect time to drop Stranger Things Season 4 in late 2020.
Is There a Trailer for Stranger Things Season 4?
No trailer for Stranger Things Season 4 has debuted yet, but that’s mostly, well, entirely down to the fact that the fourth season hasn’t begun filming.
Is there a precedent for trailer releases, too? Of course there is, folks. So here’s what we know about past Stranger Things trailer releases. The Season 1 trailer arrived in late June, a few weeks before the season premiered on July 15, 2016. A Season 2 teaser trailer was released during the 2017 Super Bowl, with a full-length trailer arriving in mid-October 2017, just before its October 27 premiere. The hype for Season 3 began with the official trailer debuting in March and new pieces of video and trailers released right up until the July 4 premiere date.
If the fourth season ends up being the final season, fans should expect a trailer — teaser or full-length — to premiere at least two months before the season premiere date. This will allow time for Stranger Things to release other kinds of previews, photos, and promotional materials to help get excited about the season, much in the same way things were rolled out for Season 3.
Who Will Return for Stranger Things Season 4?
Warning: From this point onward, there are tons of Season 4 spoilers.
Season 3 included some tragic twists of fate for a few characters. After sacrificing himself to the Mind Flayer at the Battle of Starcourt Mall, we know Billy (Dacre Montgomery) will not return for Season 4. It’s also implied Dr. Alexei (Alec Utgoff) will not be back after he was shot in the stomach by Russian operative Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko) at the July 4th Hawkins Fun Fair. However, there’s a chance he could still be alive and he’ll be seen again in Season 4 based on a very interesting Reddit AMA Ivchenko participated in a week after the Season 3 premiere.
The one character who has the best chance of coming back is Hopper (David Harbour). Unlike Billy and Alexei, we never saw Hopper’s body when he got caught in the crosshairs of the explosion in the Russian lab in Hawkins. Hopper’s death was called into question when the Stranger Things Season 3 post-credits scene revealed the Russians had an American in their custody. The identity of the American is currently unknown. With no confirmation Hopper is dead, we can’t rule out the possibility he survived and will be seen in Season 4 as a Russian prisoner.
Furthermore, Harbour even shared a clue on Instagram leading to a voicemail message recorded by Murray Bauman, which drops another big hint that the character may have already figured out how to get Hopper back. So clearly, Netflix has something planned, though when Inverse asked Brett Gelman (who plays Bauman on Stranger Things) about the voicemail, he said he had no idea what it meant and simply read the lines he was given.
We should also expect a majority of the main Season 3 cast to return, including Millie Bobby Brown as “Eleven”; Finn Wolfhard as “Mike”; Noah Schnapp as “Will”; Caleb McLaughlin as “Lucas”; Gaten Matarazzo as “Dustin”; Sadie Sink as “Max”; Charlie Heaton as “Jonathan”; Natalia Dyer as “Nancy”; Maya Hawke as “Robin”; Joe Keery as “Steve”; Winona Ryder as “Joyce”; Cara Buono as “Mrs. Wheeler”; Brett Gelman as “Murray Bauman”; and last but certainly not least, Paul Reiser as “Dr. Owens.”
What Is the Plot of Stranger Things Season 4?
There is no confirmed plot for Stranger Things Season 4. We know it will likely take place in 1986 or 1987. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in July, series creators Matt and Ross Duffer offered up as much as they could about what Season 4 could be about. But don’t expect them to reveal too much. Ross shared:
“We don’t want to write ourselves in a corner so we try to have these early discussions with the writers just to make sure that we’re setting ourselves up to go in the right direction. We don’t know a lot, but we do know a lot of the big broad strokes.”
Matt also hinted the show would leave Hawkins once again but implied it might be a bigger trip this time around, telling EW:
“I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s 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.”
As for questions Season 4 needs to answer, the Inverse staff (including yours truly) have some very big ones that loom large for the time being.
What Historical/Cultural Moments Could Stranger Things Season 4 Reference?
Here’s a quick rundown of our previous coverage on the movies and events that could play a role in Stranger Things Season 4:
- Here’s a Weird One: Could Stranger Things Season 4 Reference Mad Cow Disease, Which Was First Reported in 1986?
How Can I Watch Stranger Things Season 4?
You’ll be able to watch Stranger Things Season 4 on Netflix, if and when it finally debuts. For the time being, Seasons 1-3 are available to stream now.