Stranger Things Season 4 was finally released on Netflix on May 27th for Volume 1 and then July 1st for Volume 2.
It took almost three years, but the Duffer Brothers finally gave us Season 4 of Stranger Things. The newest season arrived on May 27, 2022, with seven binge-able episodes. But Season 4 was unlike any of the three previous seasons, not in terms of content, but in how the Duffer Brothers put the season together.
Instead of making all Stranger Things Season 4 episodes watchable from the start, they instead released the first seven episodes as Volume one, and then on July 1, 2022, they released the final two episodes of Season 4 as Volume 2.
It was a long but satisfying wait for fans of Stranger Things. Season 3 of the hit Netflix series arrived on July 4, 2019, with a batch of eight episodes and little did we know at the time that it would be another three years before we’d see a new episode.
But for a series that has turned the Upside Down upside down, it has remained true to its core with Season 4 offering fans a brand new villain, Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), a new pal for the boys in the wild Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), and the return of our favorite Stranger Things characters led by Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, David Harbour, and Winona Ryder.
Stranger Things Scored 88% On Rotten Tomatoes And Was #1 On Netflix
In terms of critical and audience reception, Stranger Things is still a big deal, which is good news for Netflix. While season 4 holds the exact same critic and audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes at 88%, it has also broken some dubious Netflix records along the way. One of the records Stranger Things Season 4 eclipsed is consecutive days in Netflix’s Top 10. The Queen’s Gambit previously held the record with 78 consecutive days in the Top 10, but on August 9, 2002, Stranger Things: Season 4 topped it.
Another big Netflix record now held by Stranger Things: Season 4 is first-place finishes, a record broken several times over the years by the likes of Ginny & Georgia, Manifest, and Tiger King. But it is Stranger Things who has shattered the record by topping second place Virgin River’s 35 days with a record-busting 42 days in first place.
Stranger Things has set another massive Netflix record: total viewing hours. Stranger Things: Season 4 is closing in on 1.8 billion hours. To let you know just how impressive that is, Bridgerton: Season 2 is in second place with a little over 775 viewing hours. That is one billion hours LESS than Stranger Things: Season 4.
True, the numbers look great. But it hasn’t been an easy ride for Netflix, Stranger Things, or the Duffer Brothers. There has been talk of the series sexualizing children, copyright infringement, and even series star Winona Ryder going to court in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial to defend her ex-boyfriend. Let’s see how all that has affected the series and if there will be more.
Concerns About Sexualizing Minors
Netflix has recently come under fire for the way in which the streaming network sometimes sexualizes young children, as they did in the promotion of the movie Cuties. And while no one would ever accuse Stranger Things of intentionally doing that to its cast, and I think it’s safe to assume that won’t happen in Stranger Things season 4, it may still be happening to them anyway.
Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy in Stranger Things season 4, recently spoke about this subject to The Independent where she says:
There are so many layers going on here. I generally feel like, to me, it’s oversexualising them. I feel protective over the younger kids even though they’re not kids anymore, they’re teens. They’re all great people and all having to grow up in very crazy circumstances. As a private person, I just feel like, leave people alone – unless you’re talking about their work or what they want to talk about. It’s a very tricky and complex issue. (Sexualizing younger actors is) a cultural issue, there must be a bigger concept behind it as to why. Just let people be the people that they are, without any judgement.”
That seems like good advice to me. Here’s hoping Stranger Things season 4 goes the extra mile to protect its cast. That may not be enough though. For example, in 2017 W Magazine did a creepy interview with the then very underage Millie Bobby Brown in which they listed her as one of the reasons “TV is sexier than ever”. Something needs to change and it helps to have people who have been through the wringer like Dyer speaking out.
Stranger Things Sued For Copyright Infringement
Netflix and the creators of Stranger Things, the Duffer Brothers, are being sued by a company called Irish Rover Entertainment in California court. The lawsuit alleges that the entire idea for the series was stolen from a screenplay called Totem, written by Jeffrey Kennedy.
Not only does the suit claim the idea for the show was stolen, but even specific plot points, characters, themes, dialogue, mood, settings, and even some actual concept art, were stolen from Totem. Basically, the claim here is that the Duffer Brothers stole the whole thing.
As for how the Duffer Brothers even could have known about this script to steal from it, the suit has that covered too. They claim that Jeffrey Kennedy worked with a man named Aaron Sims on developing Totem and that Sims was later hired by the Duffer Brothers to do concept artwork for them.
The lawsuit provides this brief synopsis of what Totem is about, “During their childhood together in rural Indiana. Osthimer and Kennedy dealt with the constant threat of Osthimer’s ‘personal demon,’ epilepsy, which created ‘lightning showers’ in his brain. These lightning showers or seizures would send him to an alternate supernatural plane where the demon resided.“
That does sound vaguely similar, but it also sounds vaguely similar to about a hundred other ideas. In the filing though, it also says the story is about a group of kids battling dark spirits and led by a girl with supernatural powers. That does sound more similar, but again still pretty vague. I think most people would agree that it’s not the basic premise of Stranger Things that makes the show so unique, it’s the execution of it.
It’s possible that this lawsuit could end up having an impact on the release of Stranger Things season 4, if things don’t go Netflix’s way. Odds are though, that it’ll be fine. So read on to see what you can expect from season 4.
Stranger Things Season 4 Promotion
Stranger Things released a behind-the-scenes video that shows the cast hanging out and having fun at a table read. It also confirmed everyone coming back for Season 4. Watch…
The first trailer for Stranger Things Season 4 revealed what happened to Hopper…
Before the actual trailer, there was a Stranger Things Season 4 teaser that started with the title “Stranger Things 4.” Creepy music followed with the title being invaded by “roots” in the rot-filled Upside Down and the words “We’re not in Hawkins anymore” being shown on the screen. The trailer ended with chimes of a clock. Here it is…
The title in the teaser may be a hint that the show producers are planning on exploring a new setting while the creepy clock indicates the series will “bend and move through time.” Since Netflix released the teaser trailer it has garnered over 10 million views. Season 4 did explore a new setting.
Stranger Things Season 4 Was Broken Into Two Parts
Ross Duffer (who created the show with his brother Matt Duffer) told Vulture, “We think it will be a four-season thing then out.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Shawn Levy, the executive producer, said the series would be going “for one more season.”
That’s right, Stranger Things Season 4 will likely be the show’s last. The Duffer brothers broke the hearts of many at Netflix headquarters when they announced they’re ending the show. But, Shawn Levy says, “the truth is we are going four seasons, and there is a likelihood for a fifth season but, beyond that, it is unlikely.”
Stranger Things seasons typically have eight episodes. Season 2 was the only exception to this, with nine episodes. For Season 4, we’re getting the standard eight-episode arc. So if Season 4 truly is the last season, we only have eight more Stranger Things episodes to go. Season 5 has been greenlit and will be the final season.
Stranger Things Left Hawkins And Went To California And Russia?
The Stranger Things Season 4 story moved beyond Hawkins as teased in the trailer. Ross Duffer was correct in saying, “it’s going to feel very different in Season Four, and I think it’s the right thing to do.”
It was thought that the new season would abandon Hawkins as a location altogether. Deadline said the production was leaving Atlanta entirely for filming on Stranger Things season 4. Atlanta is where they’ve been shooting the exteriors of Hawkins. Instead of doing that, the production moved to New Mexico where they say a “significant portion” of Stranger Things season 4 was shot.
In the final episode of Season Three, Joyce Byers (Ryder) together with her sons and Eleven moved after selling their house. We witnessed a gutting goodbye with the others. So they’re moving and the show is moving forward, but where to? With the release of Season 4, we now know.
Since the Russians were involved in Season Three, it was thought the show could include the Chernobyl disaster in the mythology. The Duffers also addressed why there’s an American in the Russian prison. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the co-creators said that the plotline will play a massive role in the Season. “The question of who the American in the cell and what they are doing with the Demogorgon is a tease.”
Fans were left to wonder: Is the American in the cell Police Chief, Jim Hopper? We now know it was.
Some of the wildest theories about where the show is going come from the Stranger Things cast themselves. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on Stranger Things, threw this possibility out…
“My favorite theory is that Suzie’s actually a Russian mastermind and spy working with the Russian government. I think it’s so stupid and so funny. I hope that doesn’t play out because that would be weird.”– -Gaten Matarazzo
Matarazzo though, seems to be as in the dark as everyone else, when it comes to what’s planned for Stranger Things Season 4. He tells Variety, “It’s really hard to say because I don’t really know where the characters are going. He’s flapping in the wind at this point.”
The show’s writers have already tweeted the cover photo of the Season 4 Episode One script. The title on the script is “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club.” Some fans believe this may be a reference to a plotline from Marvel’s X-Men comics, involving a club of mutants called The Hellfire Club. That connection, however, seems unlikely.
looking for new members… are you in? pic.twitter.com/P1xAWNUPss— merry stranger writers 🎄 (@strangerwriters) November 7, 2019
The term Hellfire Club didn’t originate with the X-Men. The Hellfire Club was a real group of exclusive high-society men living in 18th century Britain and Ireland. Some believe the “Hellfire Club” title could be a hint that for Season 4, Stranger Things will head overseas to Great Britain.
The Stranger Things Season 4 Cast
We expect the main cast to return for Stranger Things Season 4. That includes:
- Noah Schnapp as Will Byers
- Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson
- Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers
- Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
- Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven
- Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair
- Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler
- Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers
- Hoe Keery as Steve Harrington
- Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield
- Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler
- Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair
In Season Three, there were casualties. Billie, played by Darce Montgomery, is dead but may return as part of a cameo. Four new male characters would join the cast, according to TVLine. Those four characters include three teens and one adult.
While the show would not confirm the news, TVLine reports that the teens include a stoner character, a jock, and a metalhead. There is no news on what role or characteristics the adult will have. But since Season 4 may be set far away from Hawkins, he could be Russian.
We saw those characters play out with Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson and Eduardo Franco as Argyle who had major roles in the plot.
Speaking of Russia, we are not sure if Chief Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, will return. Also, we do not know if the series will reveal how the Russians were able to detain a Demogorgon.
Stranger Things Spinoffs Are In The Works
With either Stranger Things season 4 or maybe season 5 slated to be Stranger Things finale, Netflix is planning ahead to keep that money train rolling. Word is that the streaming giant is already working on two new Stranger Things spinoff series.
One of the shows would focus on the criminal family of Eleven. The show introduced them back in season 2. The other would be focused entirely on Joyce Byers and Sheriff Jim Hopper. What exactly Joyce and Jim will be doing in their series is currently unknown. Maybe we’ll see them exploring the 90s? We can’t stay in the 80s forever.
Winona Ryder Went To Court
Johnny Depp is currently in court defending himself against allegations of abuse from his now ex-wife Amber Heard, while at the same time leveling similar charges against her. What does this have to do with Stranger Things star Winona Ryder? She’s being dragged into court along with them.
Now, 48-years-old Winona Ryder used to be engaged to Johnny Depp. They’ve been broken up a long time, but apparently, she’s coming to his defense. Hollywood Life says she’s filed an official declaration in the Fairfax, Virginia Circuit Court to defend Johnny.
Winona’s statement reads:
“He was never, never violent towards me… He was never, never abusive at all towards me. He has never been violent or abusive towards anybody I have seen. I truly and honestly only know him as a really good man- an incredibly loving, extremely caring guy who was so very protective of me and the people that he loves, and I felt so very, very safe with him. I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do.”
As for whether Ryder will be called in to testify and how this will affect her acting career or her work on Stranger Things remains to be seen. In the past, there were rumblings that Hollywood was blackballing Johnny Depp over Amber Heard’s accusations. If true, taking Depp’s side could lead to a similar cold shoulder for Winona Ryder.
For more detail on this crazy, crazy legal mess head over to our Amber Heard vs. Johnny Depp Breakdown, if that’s your sort of thing.