It’s been almost three years since we last saw the Stranger Things gang on our screens, so if you’re dying to see the new season, you’re totally not alone. But until Season 4 drops on May 27, we’ll have to wait patiently with the rest of the world. What can we expect? There were no spoilers at the recent APEC press conference with the Stranger Things gang, but we did get some insights on what to look forward to.
Where did we leave them?
Though it’s been three years since Season 3, in reel time, it’s only been six months since we saw the gang walking away from the ashes of the Battle of Starcourt. They’re now separated for the first time, navigating the complexities of high school, and grappling with a new, horrifying threat.
“It’s a very transitional time for us and not only we’re struggling with dealing with regular things like fitting in… but also trying to cope with everything that has gone on in the past six months,” says Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson). Matarazzo shares that the dynamics of Season 4 are also different because this time, the whole town knows that something is up. After all, the mall did burn down.
“Obviously, [the tragedy took] a toll on a lot of people, especially on those who know what really happened,” he continues. “And I think it affects some characters more than most considering who they lose and what they lose. But yeah, it’s really cool to see how that unfolds.”
The darkest season ever
“So it’s a lot darker,” said Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers. After watching the first two episodes, he says he was shocked at how “crazy and scary” it was. He added: “Every season when we do this press, I always say, ‘it’s so much darker; it’s so much bigger.’ …But this season, like when I was watching it, I was I mean, I was terrified. So it is definitely darker and scarier.”
A larger story with more heart
Stranger Things was already a big, ambitious show from the get-go, but for Season 4, it becomes even bigger in terms of the characters’ relationships and dynamics. “There’s just so many storylines and so many interconnected details and it’s it just feels like the scope is huge,” says Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley).
The pros and cons of growing up on screen
We’ve seen the gang grow up in front of our eyes, but what was that experience like for the cast?
“It really is wild I think, especially for the boys,” says Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield). “Like [they were] just so little. And so good at such a young age. It’s amazing, really, to watch that.”
Matarazzo thinks watching the show is a cool experience as “it’s crazy seeing the whole gang grow up.” However, there are some pitfalls to growing up in the spotlight. “What I don’t like is seeing just regular videos and interviews of us at that age, because that’s just a plethora of cringe,” he laughs.
A real family
Growing up together has really bonded the cast, but the familial connection is especially real for Schnapp and Charlie Heaton, who plays Schnapp’s on-screen brother Jonathan Byers. “He’s a great brotherly figure to have and I look up to him off-set as well,” says Schnapp.
“I always think back to that first scene where we’re listening to [music],” says Heaton. “Because [Noah was] tiny. And having seen him grow up, there is that [protective instinct].” The kids have certainly matured as actors, as Heaton reveals. He confesses that while watching Schnapp film a scene, he was so moved that he cried. “[Noah is] amazing to work with,” Heaton says.
Will Steve finally find love?
Season 3 was monumental for bad-boy-turned-teen-father-figure Steve Harrington. And there’s one question that all Steve fans are asking: Will he finally catch a break and find love?
“Well, I guess really, there’s not too much I can say about that,” says Joe Keery, who plays Steve. “But I think the whole arc of the character thus far is kind of a teenager sort of slowly developing into a young man. And that was that that part obviously continues in this season. I guess it’s really difficult for me to say [more about his love life]. I
wish I could… but I can’t wait for everyone to find out.”
Because the characters are much more mature than they were in the first season, we can expect that their relationships and dynamics will be drastically different this season. This is true for Robin, who becomes more incorporated into the clique this season, as well as Erica Sinclair (played by Priah Ferguson), who evolves from simply being Lucas’ little sister to having a crucial role in the team.
“Everyone changes a lot,” says Hawke. “And I think this season is really starting to bring it in because we’re at the beginning of the end. [So everyone is] really changing and becoming the person that they’re going to be.”
When is Season 4 of Stranger Things premiering?
We’ve still got more questions than answers, but it won’t be long before we can start getting to the bottom of the Upside Down. Volume 1 of Stranger Things Season 4 premieres on Netflix on May 27, while Volume 2 will premiere on July 1.
What are you looking forward to seeing when Stranger Things comes back? Tell us about it in the comments below.