Stranger Things Season 4 Announced!

Netflix recently announced that Stranger Things is returning for a fourth season. I figured this would have to happen sooner or later, but I didn’t expect it to be this soon. As fans might expect, the show’s creators Matt and Russ Duffer (the Duffer brothers) have returned to direct and produce. We don’t have a release date for the fourth season but it’s probably safe to say that it will be 2020 at the earliest. The only thing we have to go with the announcement is a short teaser trailer that hints at what we might expect from our favorite Netflix original series. Take a look:

Okay, since we have little more than this trailer to go on, let’s break it down. The trailer starts with the obligatory Stranger Things logo coming into view, along with the number four. This is set to the pulsating beat of the show’s now-iconic synthesizer theme song. From there, we see the following:

  • A couple screen flashes that show the season four logo in negative three or four times.
  • The telltale sounds of the Demogorgon’s familiar clicking growl can be heard.
  • We return to the red Stranger Things 4 logo that seems to be set in the Upside Down. (This is evidenced by the darkness, shadows, and creeping vegetation associated with this parallel dimension.
  • In the background to the right of the logo is a broken sign that reads “Welcome to Hawkins.” (Hawkins, Indiana is the fictional setting for the first three seasons of the show.)
  • In the background to the left, there’s what appears to be Police Chief Jim Hopper’s cabin, complete with a light outside the front door.
  • The Upside Down’s sentient vegetation slowly grows to encompass the logo, making it flicker and fade like a neon light.
  • Cut to a black screen and the sound of a grandfather clock chiming and the ominous phrase, “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.”

So, what does this tell us about what we can expect from season four? Admittedly, not much. We can, however, make some educated guesses about what this could mean. And we can base these guesses on both the small hints in the trailer as well as how season three ended. Before we go any further, I’m going to assume that anyone reading this has already bingewatched season three over Fourth of July weekend. (I know I did.) If you didn’t, then turn back now because there will be some small spoilers ahead. Got that? Okay, here goes:

  1. The Upside Down is alive and well and living alongside our dimension. This is evidenced by the creeping vegetation and everything else in the trailer.
  2. The scary phrase “We’re not in Hawkins anymore” is both a Wizard of Oz reference and a statement of fact according to the show’s canon. At the end of season three, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) takes her two sons Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Will (Noah Schnapp) and moves them to another town. Since Chief Hopper (Dave Barbour) is believed to be dead, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) comes with them as Joyce’s “adopted” daughter. I believe most of the action will take place wherever the Byers family moved to.
  3. The Demogorgon is back. We knew this at the end of season three, when the creature killed a Russian prisoner in a Siberian gulag. Whether it’s the original Demogorgon from season one or another one of its kind remains to be seen.
  4. Since I mentioned the Demogorgon, there’s also an unnamed American prisoner locked up in that gulag. Even though viewers don’t know who it is, there are more than a few Fan theories. It’s narrowed down to one of four possibilities: Chief Hopper, Martin “Papa” Brenner (Matthew Modine), Billy (Dacre Montgomery), or Bob Newby (Sean Astin).
  5. Fans are theorizing that season four will be about saving the American who’s trapped in the Siberian prison. If this is true, it will probably be one of a few plots going on, similar to season three.
  6. If this is the case, there is only way the gang can discover that one of their own is being held captive in Siberia. Eleven’s ability to spy on people simply be connecting with them telepathically. This is how she spied on Mike and Lucas in season three, and this is probably how she’ll connect with the prisoner in the season four. (That’s if she gets her powers back.)
  7. Or maybe Hopper is in the Upside Down and there’s another American prisoner in Siberia. Hopper allegedly died when the gate was being closed so who knows?

To guess any more than this would be really putting myself out on a limb. I’ve been off the mark in the past with some of my predictions for previous seasons. That’s why I’m more or less quitting now. But there is something I have to say…

…I’m Concerned About Season 4

I fell in love with Stranger Things during the show’s first season. During that season, all of the action, plot, and character development took place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. I think the only time the characters left their little town was when Hopper and Joyce visited Eleven’s biological mother. (It turned out to be a dead end.) Everything took place within the confines of the show’s little world.

This sort of “horror movie agoraphobia” worked for the series’ first season. That’s no surprise since it also worked in many 1980s movies that Stranger Things is desperate to pay homage to. When Stranger Things started expanding into the broader world, it started to lose its appeal. Eleven’s side adventure in Chicago (season two) was an unnecessary distraction from the action that took place in Hawkins. Now, the fourth season’s tagline is “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.” I think the Duffer brothers are playing with fire here. What do you think?