*WARNING: This article may contain spoilers*
Stranger Things fans were left picking up mountains of tissues following hours of weeping when Jim Hopper (played by David Harbour) seemingly died at the end of season 3.
In the closing moments of the utter mayhem that went down in 'The Battle of Starcourt Mall' (think hungry human-absorbing monsters, dying siblings and a hell of a lot of blood) Joyce (Winona Ryder) finally agreed to go on a date with Hopper.
Well, that was until ‘Hop’ got caught up in a fight with ‘the Russians’ and his love interest was forced to close the gate to the Upside Down and ultimately kill the chief of police.
At least, that’s what we thought had happened.
Now, there’s a new Stranger Things trailer in our midst that suggests a surprise is in store for viewers.
Here’s everything you need to know about Stranger Things Season 4:
What happened at the end of 'Stranger Things' season 3?
The end of season 3 was heart-breaking to say the least with not one but two leading characters – Hopper and Billy (Dacre Montgomery) – dying in the closing scenes.
To recap, at the end of the season the cast fight the Mind Flayer after weeks of terrorising Hawkins with its ‘army’ of possessed residents and weird imploding rats.
While the ‘kids’ battle it out in the Starcourt Mall (and Eleven tries to kill Billy), Hopper and Joyce steal the uniforms of Russian guards in the base and attempt to close the gate to the Upside Down.
Forcing Billy to remember who he is and his love for his mother (he’s been possessed), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) finally breaks free from the lifeguard’s grip before he sacrifices himself by standing in between the monster and the teenager.
The loveable Hopper also sacrifices himself by allowing Joyce to turn the keys to close the gate while he’s trapped inside the room with a huge big laser.
Fast forward three months and the Byers family and Eleven – who now lives with the trio - are leaving Hawkins for good.
In a recent interview with ELLE, Brown admitted that she was less than impressed with the season’s finale.
‘I was p*ssed. I read the script and I was like, “What, how is this even possible? Why are they moving away?” They were like “Didn’t you read episode 3?” And I was like, “Oh yeah.” … Because Joyce said she wanted to move away from Hawkins. I don’t know, I just felt really against it.’
The actress also revealed that she and her co-stars shed real tears when they filmed the finale scene of Eleven and Will leaving Hawkins.
‘We all started crying and then they rolled camera and said action,’ she explained. ‘And that was it. We all started saying goodbye to each other. We felt too real.’
ICYMI, a video has been released of season 3 bloopers...
In what's being called Stranger Things Day online, a compilation of backstage mishaps and moments from season three have been release by Netflix.
Prepare to watch David Harbour unable to keep a straight face over one line in particularly plus a whole load of behind-the-scenes dancing by Millie Bobby Brown and co. too.
When will 'Stranger Things' season 4 be released?
It was previously unknown when the fourth season would be released, with some believing it would be based on one of Will Byers’ (Noah Schnapps) drawings in season 3.
The drawing shows a man in a prisoner's uniform, which fans on Reddit speculate could be Hopper. The number on the prisoner’s clothing is 403, which is also the number of the room in the hospital where Nancy (Natalie Dyer) visited Mrs Driscoll.
As a result, several fans believed the cryptic number suggests the series would be out on April 3.
Harbour recently hinted to a release date during a recent Instagram Live Q&A that the fourth season was set to premiere in 2021.
However, since production was shut down over due to Covid-19 safety concerns, the show's release date was pushed back.
‘[Season 4 was] supposed to come out early next year, I think, although I don't have authority on this,’ Harbour explained in an IG livestream. The actor actor continued, adding ‘due to all the delays, this release window is likely to be pushed back’. Netflix is yet to confirm a delayed release date.
In the meantime, the Stranger Things writers’ Twitter account has been teasing fans about the release date for the show.
On September 30, the Stranger Things team revealed the cast and crew had begun filming again. A post from the Stranger Things official social media accounts shows the gang are back 'in the Upside Down'.
Is there a title for the first Stranger Things 4 episode?
Why, yes there is!
On November 6, the programme’s writers revealed the title of the upcoming season's first episode will be: ‘Chapter One: The Hellfire Club.’
The tweet that accompanied the announcement reads: ‘Looking for new members…are you in?’
looking for new members... are you in? pic.twitter.com/P1xAWNUPss— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) November 7, 2019
Is Eleven going to be a Mind Flayer?
Remember when the Mind Flayer infected Eleven’s leg at the episode of Season 3 and the teen had to cut it out in a pretty gory but weirdly spot-bursting-esque satisfying way?
Well, apparently fans now think Eleven might turn evil in the next season as a result.
In an interview with ELLE, Brown has now opened up about the possibility of turning to the ‘dark side’ in Season 4.
Speaking about the fan theory, the teenager said: ‘I kind of like it! I’m into it. I wasn’t playing it like that. We don’t know what happens in season 4. I definitely don’t.’
The actress said she was trying to convey Eleven’s pain in the scene as much added that she was just trying to get Eleven’s pain in that scene across as much as possible.
‘In scenes after the Mind Flayer grabbed me, I wasn’t playing it as I was infected,’ she said. ‘I was definitely playing it as normal as possible. And maybe that’s the reason they didn’t tell me. To make it as real as possible.’
'Those theories freak me out a bit. Because I’m like, "Oh god, that could genuinely be true",' she continued. 'And what if she is the villain? That would be so cool. Wouldn’t that be cool? I’d love to be the villain, but then I also wouldn’t because Eleven is perfect. It would suck.'
Who will be in the cast of Stranger Things Season 4?
It's presumed that the usual cast will reunite for the fourth season, minus Montgomery who is well and truly dead.
However, now that Eleven has moved away with, Will Joyce and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), who knows if her relationship with Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) will last.
On February 14, the show also gifted fans update on production that confirmed the return of Hopper.
Netflix released a video of the Stranger Things 4 table read which features actors Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Natalia Dyer, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Caleb McLaughlin, Maya Hawke, and David Harbour.
We're so pleased Robin (Hawke) appears in the next series because, let's face it, we haven't had enough of the American star's hair inspiration and Breton T-shirt-wearing style yet.
Is there a trailer for Stranger Things Season 4?
At the very end of season 3, fans will remember that in the post-credit scenes the Russians referred to a prisoner named ‘The American’, which led many of us to believe that – somehow – Hopper was still alive.
On September 30, Stranger Things released a trailer for its upcoming fourth series during which the makers of the series show a glimpse of what appears to be Hopper and Eleven’s house in the woods in the Upside Down.
In the 45-second clip – which has been viewed over eight million times - the house’s outside light shines, flickers and then goes out before the words ‘We’re not in Hawkins anymore’ appear across the screen.
The speculation that Hopper is alive (and dubiously well) in the Upside Down was further fuelled when Harbour posted a picture of his character hugging Eleven with the suspicious caption ‘and the universe will turn in on itself and implode'.
The actor later changed his display photo to an upside-down version of the fan art.
A new teaser, which was released on Valentine’s Day this year, featured his character and came with the following statement from the show’s creators:
We're excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway—and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper! Although it's not all good news for our "American;" he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human…and other. Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything…
Season 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and most frightening season yet, and we cannot wait for everyone to see more. In the meantime—pray for the American.
From Russia with love, The Duffer Brothers.
We rest our case.
What has Natalia Dyer said about Season 3?
Dyer recently opened up to ELLE.com about her character in the upcoming season.
‘I see her as this person in pursuit of information and justice and I can’t see her putting that investigative nose down,’ the actress said. ‘I loved seeing the sensitive side of Nancy and the badass side of Nancy. I hope she’s still going strong and her instincts and her passion remains intact.’
On what she’d like to see resolved next season, she added: ‘Obviously what happens to Hopper, but also the Byers move away—what’s that going to be like, especially since everyone is in a relationship?
‘I feel like long-distance is hard nowadays, so imagine long-distance relationships back then.’
Musing about a possible reconciliation with her character’s ex boyfriend Steve she said: ‘I’d love to see if her and Steve would ever get back together, or at least if they get closure. Will their chapter ever close? I'm very curious. Also, I want her to get a female friend. RIP Barb.’
Are there any fan theories for Season 4?
While it’s now been confirmed that Hopper is returning to the show, some fans are also convinced Dr Brenner (Matthew Modine) could come back to Hawkins.
However, there are some that have suggested a fan theory with regards to the tragic deaths that have so far occurred in the TV show and who might be doomed in the upcoming series.
According to the Express, a Redditor user PeriastronX wrote on the platform: If they introduce a new character with “B” at the beginning at their name, they probably will die.’
The user reportedly added that Barb (Shannon Purser), Bob (Sean Astin) and Billy (Dacre Montgomery) have all suffered pretty tragic endings by the Upside Down monster.
Another user added: ‘And Bruce, Benny, and Brenner (if Brenner is alive).’
If you don’t remember, Bruce (Jake Busey) was the horrid reporter who bullied Nancy (Natalia Dyer) The Hawkins Post and later became possessed by the Mind Flayer. Benny (Chris Sullivan) was the first Hawkins dweller to meet Eleven (Bobby Brown)and make her a plat of chips, while Connie Frazier (Catherine Dyer) shot Benny while her fellow agents went after Eleven.
So, that makes a total of six Hawkins characters with the name starting with the letter ‘B’ who meet their unfortunate endings.
Will Season 4 be the final season of the show?
‘We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,’ Ross Duffer said in an interview with Vulture in 2017.
‘I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year,’ added his brother Matt.
So, from the sounds of things season four could signal the ending for the Hawkins gang.
That said, executive producer Shawn Levy suggested there could be more to come.
‘There’s very much the possibility of a season beyond that one, that’s currently undecided,’ he told Collider a year later.
‘And what I would just say is part of the chaos and fun of this particular show is that while the Duffers and the writer’s room and we producers outline the entire season, the Duffers really use the writing process to revisit, reassess, and question all of their prior assumptions.’
How popular was 'Stranger Things' season 3?
Stranger Things season 3 has become Netflix's most-watched original series ever, the streaming serviced announced on Wednesday October 16 in its quarterly earnings report.
According to Netflix, the sci-fi drama had more than 64 million views in the four weeks after the season’s premiere on July 4.
Less than a week after the season’s release, Netflix stated that 40.7 million member accounts worldwide had viewed the series, which is the fastest a Netflix original had ever amassed such a big audience. What’s more surprising is that more than 18 million member households had finished the eight-episode season in just a few days.
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