FIRST LOOK: STRANGER THINGS 4
As Matt and Ross Duffer sat down to conceptualize the storyline for the highly anticipated fourth season of their Emmy Award-winning hit series Stranger Things, the show’s creators knew they had a unique opportunity to ratchet up the thrills now that their main cast had reached peak adolescence. “They’re not kids anymore — they really are full-blown teenagers,” Matt Duffer tells Queue. “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.” (Robert Englund, who played iconic villain Freddy Krueger in the blockbuster movie series, is set for a featured guest appearance.)
When Season 4 opens, life is a little different for the kids from Hawkins, Indiana, with Millie Bobby Brown’s Jane Hopper (a.k.a.Eleven) having relocated to the sunnier climes of coastal California with the Byers family — mom Joyce (Winona Ryder), older brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and young Will (Noah Schnapp). Finding friends at her new school turns out to be a horror show all its own, however, back in the Midwest, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are navigating the changing dynamics of their relationship as high school students. Far away in Russia, the fate of presumed-dead Jim Hopper (David Harbour) hangs in the balance.
All the members of the series’ sprawling ensemble are set to return — including Sadie Sink as Max, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Cara Buono as her mom Karen, Priah Ferguson as Lucas’s plucky little sister, Erica, and Maya Hawke as Robin, who is still working alongside Joe Keery’s Steve, this time in Hawkins’ local video store. Even Brett Gelman’s conspiracy theorist Murray returns to help Joyce Byers decode the mystery of Hopper’s whereabouts.
There will be new faces, too — some of whom are glimpsed in these nine first-look images from the season, 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.
Promising a “really dramatic departure” from Stranger Things’s third season, Matt Duffer says he and his showrunner brother think of every new season as a sequel to its predecessor, which allows more room for creative experimentation. “That’s important to make sure we don’t get bored, and the cast doesn’t get bored,” Matt Duffer says. Adds Ross Duffer: “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. So that’s what we’ve been trying to do each season to challenge ourselves and give everyone something new to try.”
The first volume of Stranger Things’s nine-episode fourth season arrives May 27. The second is set to follow five weeks later, arriving July 1.