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Stranger Things 4 Release Date, Plot, And Cast - What We Know So Far

It's almost time to return to Hawkins, Indiana for "Stranger Things 4." The supernatural series became a pop culture phenomenon when it first debuted on Netflix back in 2016, and we have now reached the beginning of the end. The show has drastically changed since the early days of a missing Will Byers (Noah Schnepp) and a mysterious girl called Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Fast-forward to the third season, and the action escalates as the Russians invade Hawkins, setting up their own portal into the Upside Down which releases the terrifying Mind Flayer.

Thankfully, Eleven and the gang managed to kill the fleshy behemoth by the previous season's end, but it looks like this story isn't over just yet. Netflix has finally revealed when the show will return to our screens, and there isn't long to wait. However, it has now also been confirmed that "Stranger Things 4" is setting the stage for the show's fifth and final season. Clearly, the next batch of episodes are going to make life even harder for the Hawkins A.V. Club.

What's the release date for Stranger Things 4?

After such a long wait, Netflix has finally revealed when "Stranger Things 4" arrives on the streaming service, but there's a bit of a catch. The 4th season is being split into two separate parts because it's a bigger story than any of the previous installments. The Duffer Brothers penned a letter to fans where they explained that the upcoming season has "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." They also confirmed that Season 5 will be the last chapter in the "Stranger Things" story ... Oh no! 

Luckily, fans won't have too much of a wait for either volume of Season 4. The first is set to arrive on Netflix on May 27th, 2022. This is great news for fans, as that release date is right around the corner. Then, there will be a five-week breather period until the second volume concludes the season when it drops on July 1st, 2022. And according to Netflix, these episodes are going to be "super-sized." 

What's the plot of Stranger Things 4?

Per The Hollywood Reporter, the official synopsis of "Stranger Things 4" reveals, "It's been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins." This is pretty surprising since the young stars have all grown up pretty quickly since the 3rd season arrived back in 2019. But the next batch of episodes will pick up with the gang as they're spread out across the country — remember that Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) moved Will, Eleven, and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to California to start a new life away from Hawkins. According to the official synopsis, this physical split of the core friend group proves to be tough, and that "navigating the complexities of high school hasn't made things any easier."

Oh, dear. Thankfully, the Upside Down will unite them all "as a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down." Interesting — this mystery must involve something pretty powerful if it can permanently stop the Upside Down. From the synopsis, it's not clear whether this means destroying the alternate dimension or merely closing it off from our world. In their fan letter, the Duffer Brothers did say that "there are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things." So, it seems likely they'll expand the universe in the next season, potentially to set up future spin-offs. 

Let's not forget that the end of Season 3 finds Chief Hopper (David Harbour) trapped thousands of miles away in a Russian gulag. One of the very first teasers for "Stranger Things 4" shows a bald Hopper digging through the snow with other inmates as they're watched by gun-toting guards. So, hopefully, the gang finds a way of rescuing him and bringing him back to the U.S.

Who's in the cast of Stranger Things 4?

So, who's coming back to "Stranger Things 4" after the emotional ending to Season 3? Don't worry, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Sadie Sink are all coming back to reprise their respective roles as Eleven, Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Dustin Henderson, Lucas Sinclair, and Max Mayfield. They're also joined by Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton as Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers, while Winona Ryder will also return as loving matriarch Joyce Byers.

Thankfully, David Harbour is also onboard as Chief Hopper, and it'll be interesting to see how he's changed since the Battle of Starcourt. Speaking of Starcourt, everyone's favorite Scoops Ahoy employees Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) and Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke) are also back. What's surprising is that Matthew Modine is also coming back to play the nefarious Dr. Brenner, which seemingly confirms that he survives his encounter with the Demogorgon back in Season 1.

There are a few new members of the group this time around, with "Harry Potter" and "Mortal Instruments" star Jamie Campbell Bower set to play Peter Ballard, an orderly at a psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile, legendary horror icon Robert Englund, aka Freddie Krueger himself, will appear as Victor Creel, a patient at the same hospital that Ballard works at. He was imprisoned there for murdering someone in the 1950s, and it looks like the medical facility is going to be a major location in "Stranger Things 4." Also joining the cast is "Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D." star Sherman Augustus as Lt. Colonel Sullivan, a soldier aiming to save Hawkins, and Mason Dye as Jason Carver, a student whose world is turned upside down. 

Don't worry "Stranger Things" fans, May 27 isn't far away.