AlUla and other global landmarks celebrate return of 'Stranger Things'

Season four of the much-anticipated Netflix show is now available to stream

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Saudi Arabia's historic AlUla joined other landmarks around the world, including the Empire State Building in New York City and the Gateway of India in Mumbai, to welcome the much-anticipated return of Netflix's global sensation Stranger Things.

On Thursday night, to mark the arrival of the first part of season four, the landmarks were lit up with a projection which showed the portal to the Upside Down, the alternative reality filled with malevolent beings, being opened up. Interspersed with scenes from the show, a malicious-sounding voice-over then says, in the end: "It's time".

"Stop the presses: We’re getting word that multiple rifts to the Upside Down are opening up worldwide. To make matters worse, a terrifying Demogorgon seems to be about to emerge from the crack. No word yet on how this will affect morning traffic," Netflix said.

Other global landmarks to witness the "strange occurrences" included Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow, Poland; Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia; Duomo Square in Milan, Italy; and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Pais Vasco, Spain.

Projections were also seen in Cologne in Germany, Madrid in Spain and Barranquilla in Colombia.

The opening of the portal naturally means only one thing: it's time for the show's ragtag team of heroes to assemble, defeat the monsters and close the portal.

Stranger Things, which started in 2016, has been a runaway success for Netflix. Set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins in Indiana, the series began with the disappearance of Will, played by Noah Schnapp, which sets his friends on an adventure of a lifetime to find him. Along the way, they befriend Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown, a girl with telepathic and psychokinetic abilities, who might have the answer.

Fans of the show have been eagerly waiting for the new season, after season three came out in July 2019.

While the coronavirus pandemic has delayed production, the show's return was also set back owing to its length, directors Matt and Ross Duffer had earlier said. Season four will be twice the length of previous seasons and will be split into two volumes, with the second part coming on Friday, July 1.

"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," they said in an Instagram post.

Who’s in the cast?

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

Part 1 of Stranger Things season four is now available to stream on Netflix

Updated: May 27, 2022, 2:08 PM