The drama became an instant hit when it premiered in July 2016, sky-rocketing its young cast to success. Season 1 introduced Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who escaped from a lab in Hawkins, Indiana, and has supernatural abilities. She meets Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and his friends Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), who are searching for their missing pal Will (Noah Schnapp).
Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) attempts to help Will’s mom, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), find her son and investigate a series of inexplicable events plaguing Hawkins. Joe Keery, Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer and Cara Buono also starred in the debut season.
The Emmy-nominated series returned for seasons 2 and 3 in 2017 and 2019, respectively, taking their time to develop the perfect plot for season 4. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer even hinted in August 2020 that they’re prepped to complete the Stranger Things saga.
“We know what the end is, and we know when it is,” Ross told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “[The coronavirus pandemic] has given us time to look ahead, figure out what is best for the show. Starting to fill that out gave us a better idea of how long we need to tell that story.”
When fans last saw Eleven and the gang in season 3, they also met a handful of new characters, including Robin (Maya Hawke), who gets wrapped up in the great Hawkins mysteries — and a messy battle with the Russians. Previous newcomers Max (Sadie Sink) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) became even more involved after being introduced in season 2. While Billy didn’t survive the end of season 3, there have been plenty of hints that he might return.
Season 4 of Stranger Things won’t be the last, but the team has already put thought into how the series will wrap. “Honestly, I think that the Duffer brothers have and they have teased it for me over the past six and a half years. But they keep things very private amongst themselves until it is fully formed,” executive producer and director Shawn Levy exclusively told Us Weekly at the season 4 premiere in May. “Then they bring it to me and then we take the next steps.”
Levy promised “no one is winging it” when it comes to the series’ conclusion. “We don’t want to be one of those shows that outstays its welcome and is flailing while it searches for a way to stick the landing,” he told Us. “We really want to stick the landing. I feel like we have been able to do that every season, and we also want to do it for the series.”
Scroll down to read a recap of season 3 before binge-watching the new episodes: