What is happening in ‘Stranger Things’ season 4?

What is happening in ‘Stranger Things’ season 4?

Published May 27, 2022
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“Stranger Things” season four debuts in two volumes — the first ahead of Memorial Day weekend. From left: Eduardo Franco as Argyle, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, and Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler.Netflix

The last time Eleven, Will, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy, Joe, Robin, Jonathan, Joyce and Jim were on our screens, it was July 2019 — no one was thinking about stocking up on masks and toilet paper.

In less than 24 hours, that’s about to change with the release of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” … Vol. 1.

Here’s an overview of what to know, including why the episodes are being rolled out in two separate installments (one this week and the other later this summer).

The hugely popular Netflix series returns at a dark time for the streamer, following company layoffs and the loss of 200,000 subscribers. But the mega-hit is poised to get people’s attention going into Memorial Day weekend.

“Stranger Things,” which debuted in 2016, drew 582 million “view hours” in its third season, Netflix says of the show, which has been nominated for the Emmy for best drama series three times.

From left: Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, and Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair in the fourth season of “Stranger Things.”Netflix

Having trouble recalling where the show left off in the third season?

The new episodes take place six months after the Battle of Starcourt, the showdown with the shadowy force from another dimension at the ’80s-fabulous Hawkins mall.

And the usual gang is living apart, with Eleven having moved to California with Joyce, Will and Charlie, separating her from Mike and the rest of the crew. At the same time, the team of young heroes has to scale another daunting mountain — high school.

As always, a supernatural element enters the picture to shake things up even more — “a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down,” Netflix teases.

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven.Netflix

The main cast is back, including Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Little Egg Harbor’s Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Noah Schnapp as Will, Sadie Sink as Max, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Joe Keery as Steve and Maya Hawke as Robin.

Winona Ryder returns as Joyce Byers and David Harbour as “Sheriff” Jim Hopper, who was last seen in a Russian prison camp.

Fans will also see regulars Priah Ferguson as Erica, Brett Gelman as Murray, Matthew Modine as Dr. Brenner, Cara Buono as Karen (Mrs. Weeler), Rob Morgan as Chief Powell and John Reynolds as Officer Callahan.

New this season is Robert Englund — yes, Freddy Krueger himself — as recurring character Victor Creel.

Robert Englund as Victor Creel.Netflix

Other new additions to the “Stranger Things” cast:

Amybeth McNulty (”Anne with an E”) as Vickie; Jamie Campbell Bower (”Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”) as Peter; Joseph Quinn (”Game of Thrones”) as Eddie; Eduardo Franco (”Booksmart”) as Argyle; Sherman Augustus (”Into the Badlands”) as Lt. Col. Sullivan; Nikola Djuricko (”World War Z”) as Yuri and Myles Truitt (”BMF”) as Patrick.

But there’s more:

Logan Allen (”Sweet Magnolias”) as Jake; Regina Ting Chen (”Spider Man: No Way Home”) as Ms. Kelly; Elodie Grace Orkin as Angela; Grace Van Dien (from ”Greenhouse Academy” and daughter of Ridgewood-raised actor Casper Van Dien) as Chrissy; Mason Dye (”Bosch”) as Jason; Logan Riley Bruner (”Vox Lux”) as Fred and Tom Wlaschiha as Dmitri.

Here’s the final trailer for the coming season of “Stranger Things,” released Monday.

It’s got the Upside Down! A prison break! A group huddle! A roller rink! Levitation! Gaten Matarazzo saying “Bada, bada boom!!” (?)

For those who want to a bit of a spoiler, this week Netflix released the first 8 minutes of the fourth season premiere of “Stranger Things,” prominently featuring Matthew Modine as Dr. Brenner in a flashback to 1979. ****Warning***** scenes are bloody, depicting violence and the death of children.

The scenes in those first 8 to 9 minutes, because they are graphic and depict fatal violence against children, have moved Netflix to issue a warning in light of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The episode was filmed long before the shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, and was released as a season preview days before the gunman opened fire May 24.

“Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer — the Duffer brothers — explained why the show is being released in two parts in a letter to fans.

The twin writer-producers addressed viewers after production was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. (Jersey’s Gaten Matarazzo put in some hours working at the Shore during the hiatus.)

Max (Sadie Sink) has an Elevenesque moment with a levitation in season four of “Stranger Things.” She’s seen here with Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Steve (Joe Keery) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo).Netflix

“With nine scripts, over eight-hundred 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,” they said. “Everyone involved is incredibly proud of the results, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

“Given the unprecedented length, and to get it to you as soon as possible, Season 4 will be released in two volumes,” the Duffers said.

The first half of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” will be released at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT Friday, May 27 on Netflix.

Nine. But again, they’re not all available Friday.

Vol. 1 of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” has seven episodes, starting with season premiere “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club.” Set aside movie-length installments of free time, because each episode runs for more than an hour.

Vol. 2, coming in a few weeks, will have two more episodes, including a fourth season finale set to exceed 120 minutes.

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No. This is the penultimate season of the hit series — a fifth season is still to come.

The second half of the fourth season — “Stranger Things” Vol. 2 — premieres Friday, July 1, in time for Fourth of July weekend.

David Harbour as “Sheriff” Jim Hopper in “Stranger Things.”Netflix

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Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com and followed at @AmyKup on Twitter.

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