Fans of Netflix's Stranger Things already know that the show's Season 4 will follow David Harbour's Hopper as "The American," a prisoner in the wintry wastelands of Kamchatka, Russia. But a cast change for the upcoming season illustrates just how much Hopper's story will influence the season.
On Tuesday, Netflix released a video (using a VHS filter) of the cast reuniting for their table read for Season 4. Included among all the familiar faces, including Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, and Finn Wolfhard is actor Brett Gelman, who appeared briefly in Season 2 as the basement conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman. In a story by Deadline published the same day, Gelman is signed on to Season 4 as a new series regular, meaning Stranger Things fans are in for more Murray when the show returns to Netflix.
Murray Bauman is key to understanding Season 4. As Stranger Things expands its scope outside of Hawkins, Indiana and into Russia and the Cold War, Murray and his proximity to the show's international intrigue is likely the narrative bridge to Hopper surviving, and potentially getting out of, his current predicament behind the Iron Curtain.
You can see the table read video below.
After his first appearance in Season 2, Brett Gelman returned as Murray in the Stranger Things Season 3, this time befriending the Russian scientist Alexei, who had a little too much fun at a Fourth of July carnival. At the end of the season, Murray helped Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) enter the facility beneath the Starcourt Mall, where it looked like Hopper sacrificed himself to let Joyce and Murray escape. However, unbeknownst to the other characters, Hopper survived and fell under custody of the Russians. In a recent teaser video released by Netflix for Season 4, the show confirmed Hopper was "The American" that several Russian soldiers talked about in the third season's post-credits scene.
Will Hopper escape Russia and return home to Indiana? Will Murray Bauman help our favorite adventuring party survive the next challenge? A real-world Easter egg spotted by fans after Season 3 suggests Murray could be directly connected to whatever happens to Hopper next, but we'll have to wait until Season 4 premieres on Netflix to find out.
Stranger Things Season 4 does not yet have a premiere date on Netflix.