'Stranger Things' season four: release date, cast, plot and first images from Netflix show

The coming season of the hit Netflix show will be 'bigger than ever' say directors Matt and Ross Duffer

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Fans of Stranger Things finally have a first look at the hit Netflix show's anticipated fourth season.

The streaming service unveiled the official trailer for the new episodes on Tuesday in a clip that's just over three minutes. There's a lot to take in, including an introduction to a seemingly new enemy from the Upside Down. However, during the trailer, we're shown Eleven — who is told she is the only one who can stop him — but she responds by saying she no longer has her powers.

We're also shown what's happened to other characters since the end of season three, including Jim Hopper in a prison in Russia, while Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max and Steve are still in Hawkins. The trailer also makes it clear that this season is going for a more classic horror movie vibe, complete with an eerie haunted house. Take a look at the trailer below.

Last month, Netflix released 12 new images from the coming season, which promises to be "bigger than ever". In fact, the new season will be twice the length of previous seasons and will be split into two volumes, the first of which will have its premiere on May 27.

The split was owing to the "unprecedented length" and the desire to get the season out "as soon as possible", the show's creators Matt and Ross Duffer, wrote in a typed letter, echoing the series' 1980s setting, which was shared on the Stranger Things social media accounts last month.

“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. Everyone involved is incredibly proud of the results, and we can’t wait to share it with you," they said.

The new images offer the first look at what the vibe will be for season 4, which looks markedly different from previous seasons. Fans can see glimpses of the show's key cast members, who are now split between Hawkins and California, as well as a look at some possible new dimensions.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the first-look images.

Here’s everything we know so far about Stranger Things season 4:

When will season four of 'Stranger Things' be shown?

Stranger Things faced heavy production delays owing to the pandemic. Since the third season of the show came out in July 2019, fans are likely to be delighted with the update as it's been two years between seasons.

The first volume is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 27, with the second part coming on Friday, July 1.

"It’s better than ever. It’s also the beginning of the end," the directors said, reiterating that season five would be the last.

"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things. At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but — as you'll soon see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season."

Who’s in the cast?

The majority of the Stranger Things cast will return, including its young stars Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp.

The series also stars Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Maya Hawke, Winona Ryder and David Harbour.

Priah Ferguson, who plays Erica Sinclair, was also upped to series regular. In September, it was announced that eight others had joined the cast, including horror legend Robert Englund, who is best known for portraying Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street film series.

Warning: the following contains spoilers for season three of Stranger Things.

What are the titles of the season four episodes?

At the November event, Netflix also revealed that nine episodes will make up season four, with the titles listed below:

Episode 1 - The Hellfire Club

Episode 2 - Vecna’s Curse

Episode 3 - The Monster and the Superhero

Episode 4 - Dear Billy

Episode 5 - The Nina Project

Episode 6 - The Dive

Episode 7 - The Massacre at Hawkins Lab

Episode 8 - Papa

Episode 9 - The Piggyback

After the title cards were announced, Dear Billy was trending on social media with fans hoping it could mean the return of, or at least an appearance, from Dacre Montgomery. His character Billy Hargrove died in the season three finale.

What do the teaser trailers reveal about season four?

There have been four teaser trailers released, offering different hints about the new season.

In the latest one titled Welcome to California, we hear a voiceover of Eleven as she writes a letter to Mike saying how much she’s looking forward to spring break, when they’ll see each other again.

Eleven describes how much she likes her new school and how she’s made many friends, although the clip shows other students being mean to her. Then the clip changes and shows quick cuts, including Eleven being restrained, Joyce looking at a creepy doll, and gunfire and explosions.

In September, Netflix revealed another teaser called Creel House during their Tudum event. The one-and-a-half minute teaser introduced the Creel House in the 1950s, showing a family moving in, with Ella Fitzgerald’s Dream A Little Dream of Me playing in the background.

Lights mysteriously flicker, dead animals are seen as well as what eventually appears to be a family murder. It then fast-forwards to a few decades later, with Steve, Dustin, Max and Lucas exploring the house, now covered in cobwebs and dust.

In May, Netflix released a teaser trailer called Eleven, are you listening?, which got more than two million views within 24 hours.

Running at just over a minute, the trailer appears to take place in a medical facility and season one antagonist Dr Martin Brenner seems to make an appearance.

A shadowy grown-up figure, who looks suspiciously like Brenner, walks towards a door. "Good morning, children," he calls.

"Good morning, Papa," they reply in unison, using the moniker commonly given to Brenner in past seasons, as eerie music plays in the background.

"Today, I have something very special planned for you," the man continues, as the focus pans to a door with the number 11 on it and the sound of heavy breathing intensifies.

"Eleven, are you listening?" asks a voice, as the character Eleven suddenly opens her eyes.

In February 2020, the first teaser titled From Russia with love ... was released and confirmed that Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper, who seemed to have been obliterated by a Russian laser at the end of season three, is actually still alive.

In the clip, Hopper is shown hammering away at a snowy train line with what appears to be a group of prisoners. The video has been watched more than 20 million times.

"There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things; new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes," the Duffer Brothers wrote in their letter. "But first we hope you stay with us as we finish this tale of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, of a broken police chief and a ferocious mom, of a small town called Hawkins and an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down."

While fans will still have to wait until the full trailer is released to get a better glimpse of what to expect, it's shaping up to be another highly anticipated season.

— A version of this story was first published on November 7, 2021

Updated: April 14, 2022, 10:20 AM