In a move that won’t surprise anyone, Netflix has officially announced that a fourth season of its mega-hit series is indeed coming Weird stuff† The announcement comes with its own short teaser, featuring ghostly footage of the Upside Down and the phrase “We’re not in Hawkins anymore” as the bells ring ominously.
(Spoilers for the first three seasons below.)
When we last left our plucky teenage sleuths and their allies, they had successfully beaten back a third attempt by the so-called Mind-Flayer to escape the Upside Down and take over the town of Hawkins, Indiana, where the series hitherto has been set. But that victory didn’t come without a cost: Eleven lost her telekinetic powers after being bitten by the Flay Monster. And her adoptive father, fan favorite Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), sacrificed himself to save the city in the season three finale. Eleven is taken by Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and the entire Byers clan moves away from Hawkins – and really, who can blame them?
The teaser gives little away about what season four will be about. But series creators Matt and Ross Duffer (collectively, the Duffer Brothers) have hinted that season four will open the story with storylines outside of Hawkins, with the Russians and their imprisoned Demogorgon playing a major role.
A mid-credits scene after the third season finale hinted that season four will likely expand on the hitherto unanswered Russian question, which is why did the Russians try to open the gate to the Upside Down after Eleven and the gang went to so many made an effort to wrap it up in season two? The scene takes us to a secret base in Russia, where two guards approach a prison door. “Not the American,” says a guard. Instead, the guards drag a Russian prisoner away and lock him in a room with a prisoner Demogorgon, who then devours the screaming prisoner.
“The American” may refer to Hopper, as we never actually saw him die and no body was ever recovered. Alternatively, “The American” may refer to Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), the scientist who found and exploited Eleven in the first place. He presumably died at the hands of the first Demogorgon in season one, but there is a brief mention in season two that Brenner is still alive. Chances are, in season four, Eleven will struggle to accept the loss of her powers and (I hope) somehow regain them.
A standalone episode of season two took a runaway Elf to Chicago, where she met Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), another young woman with special powers who was a subject in Brenner’s lab. There is a good chance that she will reappear, and we can also discover other similarly gifted characters.
The Duffer Brothers Have Said They Will Probably End Weird stuff after a fourth (or possibly a fifth) season. And they’ve just signed a lucrative multi-year film and TV development deal with Netflix, Deadline Hollywood reports, though little is known about the details. So the end of a series will likely herald the beginning of something new and, hopefully, equally captivating.
“We are absolutely delighted to continue our relationship with Netflix,” the Duffer Brothers said in a statement. “From our first pitch meeting to the release of Weird stuff 3, the entire team at Netflix has been nothing short of sensational, providing us with the kind of support, guidance and creative freedom we’ve always dreamed of. We can’t wait to tell many more stories together – starting with a return trip to Hawkins, of course!”
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