Stranger Things Season 4 Release Date, Cast, And More Information

It's been a long, lonely pandemic. But, fear not, "Stranger Things" fans! We have at least one piece of news to rejoice about, as a new season of supernatural horrors is just around the corner.

Devoted fans know that Netflix has been dropping hints about the 4th installment of the hugely popular 1980s-set sci-fi series for most of 2021. The highly-anticipated Season 4 was expected in 2020, but the universe had other plans. Though Netflix had posted a Valentine's Day teaser in February 2020, confirming the major twist that many fans already suspected [SPOILER] — David Harbour's Jim Hopper is still alive! — but filming was shuttered in March 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Filming resumed in September 2020, per What's On Netflix production wrapped in September 2021. Meanwhile, Netflix has been gradually whetting our appetite with more news, teaser trailers, posters, and photos, particularly highlighting the four locations we'll see in the new episodes. The young monster-fighters are no longer together in their fictional hometown of Hawkins, Indiana.

So where is everyone? Who is still around? When can viewers see it for themselves? Fear not, grab your Eggos and your 20-sided dice, because Nicki Swift has the scoop on the new season.

Season 4 is almost the end of 'Stranger Things'

After its pandemic-enforced delay from 2020, the new season of "Stranger Things" is now just around the corner, and it's "the beginning of the end." Netflix and series creators Matt and Ross Duffer announced on February 17 that Season 4, which some expected might be the end of the series, will be the penultimate season. The series will end with Season 5.

"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things," the brothers wrote in the statement. "It proved too large to tell in four [seasons], but — as you'll soon see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale." They also said the new season, which will be released on May 27, will air in two volumes, with the second volume following close on the heels of Volume 1, on July 1.

The statement described this season as "the most challenging season yet," with "a runtime nearly twice the length of any previous season." They also mentioned the "nine scripts, over eight-hundred pages, almost two years of filming, [and] thousands of visual effects shots," that went into the production. But given that Seasons 1 and 3 had eight episodes each and Season 2 had nine, this season's nine total episodes don't seem like more than usual. It's likely then that some episodes may be feature-length. Ross Duffer also said on the "Present Company with Krista Smith" podcast (via Movieweb), "It's very, very long, which is why it's taking us a very long time."

There will be new faces in Season 4

When we last saw the "Stranger Things" gang, (SPOILER), they had defeated Mind-Flayers in Starcourt Mall, then parted ways. Noah Schnapp's Will, Charlie Heaton's Jonathan, and Winona Ryder's Joyce took in Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven, and the little family moved to California. Eleven now pines for her boyfriend Mike, played by Finn Wolfhard, who she left behind in Hawkins with the rest of the gang, including Caleb McLaughlin's Lucas, Gaten Matarazzo's Dustin, Sadie Sink's Max, and Joe Keery as Steve "the Babysitter," and the rest of the town.

Netflix released fourSeason 4 posters in February, matching the four locations shown in the teasers released over the past 10 months, and shared nine new photos of the cast on March 23. All the above-mentioned cast is returning, as well as Maya Hawke's new fan-favorite teen Robin, and Brett Gelman's Murray. Even Jim Hopper, David Barbour, feared dead in the S3 finale, is back — though it looks like Murray and Joyce must travel to Russia to break him out of prison.

A slew of new faces also joins the cast, including Eduardo Franco as Jonathan's new friend Argyle, and Joseph Quinn as Hawkins High's new Hellfire Club's D&D dungeon master, Eddie. Horror legend Robert Englund joins as Victor Creel, perhaps related to the Creel House of horrors the Hawkins gang explores. Several others join too, including Jamie Campbell Bower (best known for "Sweeney Todd" and TNT's "Will"), and Amybeth McNulty of "Anne with an E."

'Stranger Things' Season 4 will be even scarier

If you were frightened by the first three seasons of "Stranger Things," prepare yourself. We've been warned that it's about to get even worse. The Duffer Brothers promised that this season will embrace the horror genre even more than previous installments.

While discussing the new season on Netflix's "Present Company with Krista Smith" podcast, Ross and Matt Duffer admitted they were practically forced to go darker with this season, since many of its young cast has grown up. "When we pitched it to Netflix all those years ago, we pitched it as the kids are... 'The Goonies' in 'E.T.'," Ross said. "That's their storyline. And the adults are in 'Jaws' and 'Close Encounters' and then the teens are in 'Nightmare on Elm Street' or 'Halloween.' But, this year, we don't have the kids. We can't do 'The Goonies' anymore. And so, suddenly, we're leaning much harder into that horror movie territory that we love. It was fun to make that change."

In the most complicated season of the show yet, they're even visiting different eras, as the Hawkins gang explores the new Creel House. The September 2021 teaser showed the Creel family moving into their huge new home in the 1950s, as creepy things start to happen around them. Is this another of Hawkins' Hellmouths? We'll find out on May 27.