Stranger Things is about to get stranger… and horrifying. The first look at Season 4 shows Netflix’s beloved teens of Hawkins, played by Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, and Charlie Heaton in the aftermath of the Battle of Starcourt.
Per IndieWire, Stranger Things 4 picks up six months after season 3’s terror and destruction at the Starcourt mall. A new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces this upcoming season, which is split into two parts, with Volume 1 premiering May 27 and Volume 2 premiering July 1.
“They’re not kids anymore — they really are full-blown teenagers,” co-creator Matt Duffer told Netflix’s Queue magazine. “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.” So much so, that the the Duffer Brothers showrunners enlisted Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund for a guest appearance in the season that will be a “really dramatic departure” from any other Stranger Things installment.
Eleven, aka Jane Hopper (Brown), has since relocated to California with the Byers family: Joyce (Winona Ryder), Jonathan (Heaton) and Will (Schnapp). Back in the Midwest, Mike (Wolfhard), Dustin (Matarazzo), and Lucas (McLaughlin) have to navigate the changes of high school, while in Russia, the fate of presumed-dead Jim Hopper (David Harbour) hangs in the balance.
Season 4 will introduce new cast members as well, including Joseph Quinn as metalhead Eddie Munson, the greatest dungeon master at Hawkins High, and Eduardo Franco as Argyle, a laid-back California stoner who becomes Jonathan’s best West Coast pal.
“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,” Ross Duffer told Queue. “So that’s what we’ve been trying to do each season to challenge ourselves and give everyone something new to try.”
Matt Duffer added, “That’s important to make sure we don’t get bored, and the cast doesn’t get bored.”
The decision to split Season 4 into two parts was also due to just how much detail and storytelling the Duffers wanted to accomplish in a season. “With nine scripts, over 800 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,” the co-creators said. “Everyone involved is incredibly proud of the results, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”
The series is set to conclude after five seasons. See stills from the upcoming season below: