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Stranger Things 4 Is About To Take A Dark Turn According To Creators

"Stranger Things" has been a record-breaking smash hit for Netflix since its debut in July of 2016, with its young cast and heavy doses of '80s nostalgia making the show popular across multiple generations (via The Guardian). Millie Bobby Brown earned two Best Supporting Actress Emmy nominations for portraying Eleven, a young girl who undergoes experimentation at a secret government lab in Hawkins, Indiana, and the show picked up 38 nominations and seven wins in three seasons (via Emmys).

"Stranger Things" begins with the disappearance of local boy Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and the efforts of his friends Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) to find him. With Eleven's help, the boys are able to rescue Will, but not before opening a portal to the Upside Down and letting a monster through

In Season 2, Hawkins Chief of Police Jim Hopper (David Harbour) takes Eleven in and sees her reunited with her biological mother Terri Ives (Aimee Mullins) and government lab "sister" Kali (Linnea Berthelsen). Season 3, which was released nearly three years ago, saw some plot themes start to mature along with the young cast (via US Weekly) and left viewers on a cliffhanger regarding Hopper's fate.

"Stranger Things" Season 4 will come in two chunks; the first on May 27 and the second on July 1. Creator Ross Duffer told the Netflix promo site Tudum that the latest episodes will bring a definite change in tone as the main characters move on to Hawkins High.

Stranger Things is about to slide from drama to horror

"Stranger Things" isn't the first hit show to deal with its cast moving through puberty — Noah Schapp was 11, Millie Bobby Brown was 12, Finn Wolfhard and Gaten Matarazzo were 14, and Caleb McLaughlin was 15 when the show debuted nearly six years ago — but the long gap in production made their issue a little more obvious. The Duffer brothers managed to integrate what could have been a problem into a creative evolution for the show. 

"When we pitched it to Netflix all those years ago, we pitched it as the kids are 'The Goonies' in 'E.T.'... but this year, we don't have the kids," Ross Duffer told Netflix. "We can't do 'The Goonies' anymore. And so, suddenly, we're leaning much harder into that horror movie territory that we love. It was fun to make that change."

A series of photos released by Netflix reveals an array of Season 4 settings containing varied but substantial amounts of spooky, menacing, and mysterious vibes. Ross Duffer told Netflix that many fan theories about potential plot points for "Stranger Things" Season 4 are close to the mark: "I'm constantly impressed with how sharp the fans are, and how quickly they're able to put something together with very, very little information."

Regardless of where exactly the events of the next nine episodes take Eleven, Mike, Hopper, and friends, the shift in theme will give the showrunners room to let the show grow along with its actors.