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The Stranger Things season 4 announcement video teases something huge

Leave it to Stranger Things to get fans talking while still revealing absolutely nothing.

Netflix has released a brief teaser trailer for season 4 of its hit series, and — right in line with the marketing campaigns for previous seasons — it raises far more questions than it answers.

The spot is simply a static shot of the series' logo superimposed on the numeral 4, situated within the floating detritus and grasping tendrils of the Upside Down. In the foreground we can see what appears to be a rumpled newspaper; in the background, we can make out what we're pretty sure is the abode of the (maybe) recently deceased Chief Jim Hopper. We can also spot a clock embedded into the face of a tree, and a worn-out sign reading, "Welcome to Hawkins." The spot concludes with a smash cut to a black title card, which slowly spells out in white letters, "We're not in Hawkins anymore," as the chiming of a grandfather clock is heard.

This sentiment makes the inclusion of that sign and the setting of Chief Hopper's house seem a little odd, but we digress. At roughly the same time the spot was posted to the series' YouTube channel, the Stranger Things Facebook page changed its profile picture to a close-up image of the clock, which (of course) got fans speculating six ways from Sunday about what it could mean.

Obviously, much of the speculation has to do with the fourth season's potential setting. You'll remember that at the conclusion of Stranger Things' third season, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) was preparing to move out of Hawkins along with her son Will (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), whose supernatural gifts had departed following the final battle with the Mind Flayer. It was left completely ambiguous where they would be going, and this has been the subject of intense speculation in and of itself.

It's been theorized  that the destination could be Maine, which was suggested to Joyce in season 2 by her (now deceased) boyfriend Bob. If true, the choice would carry a great deal of thematic resonance; Maine, after all, is famously the home of Stephen King, whose works have been a towering influence on Stranger Things creators the Duffer Brothers. If there are any clues in this trailer pointing to Maine as the Byers' new home, though, it's hidden too well for us to find. 

Of course, it could be that the answer to the riddle of Stranger Things season 4's setting is hidden in plain sight in this spot. Could it be that, at the very least, a goodly portion of the season will actually take place in the Upside Down? Existing as it does in a parallel dimension, one can certainly argue that once you've made your way to that grim and foreboding realm, you're "not in Hawkins anymore."

Another detail in the trailer which fans have latched onto is its seeming preoccupation with time, driven home by the tones of the grandfather clock which sound over the title card. Take a look at the clock embedded in the tree, which is not a place one would usually expect to find a clock; a careful examination reveals that it is very, very close to striking midnight, which may be an allusion to the so-called "Doomsday Clock."

Stranger Things' Twitter and Instagram accounts also posted messages of their own over the weekend, consisting of two emojis: a clock, and an upside-down smiley face. The constant references to timepieces was enough to convince a goodly number of fans that season 4's plot will have to do with time travel; one fan even pointed out that in season 3, the theater in the Starcourt Mall was screening Back to the Future, which may have been a bit of clever foreshadowing. (Or, it may just have been an acknowledgement that the flick was one of the biggest of 1985, the year in which Stranger Things' third season took place.)

Fans of the series will remember that the promotional materials for season 3 contained a plethora of Easter eggs and clues as to the plot of the upcoming season, many of which were indecipherable without the aid of a companion book which contained secret messages rendered in Morse code. Based on this spot, we're going to go out on a limb to guess that this is not the last weird, cryptic tease we'll be getting for Stranger Things' fourth season; the Duffer Brothers like to keep fans of the series engaged, and they know from prior experience that one of the most effective ways to do this is to break their brains with puzzles that military cryptographers would have a tough time deciphering. 

Of course, we'll be keeping an eye out for more hints — be they images, videos, or a series of smoke signals released over Netflix headquarters — and we'll keep you up to date on all the Stranger Things news worth reporting.