Among the various factors that caused Stranger Things to burrow into our collective consciousness like some sort of extradimensional brain worm—the nostalgia, the teen banter, the extradimensional brain worms—the fundamental Midwesterness of it all is hard to overlook. Even when Mike, Eleven, et al. have departed small-town Hawkins, Indiana, it’s usually been for the Big City of Chicago; part of the appeal of the show has always been the contrasts it draws between its bucolic setting and the alien rot often literally lurking underneath.
On the other hand: California! Whoo! California!
That’s the major takeaway from the new teaser Netflix released for the show’s fourth season this morning, which follows the Byers clan (now updated to include Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven, and un-updated to continue to include Will Byers’ tragic bowl cut) as they move out to the sunny West Coast. In a letter she writes back to Finn Wolfhard’s Mike, Eleven claims to be having a great time at her new school, which presumably means “I have not crushed any of the kids bullying me with my terrifying psychic powers. Yet.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be Stranger Things without some violence and horror lurking at the edges of teenage drama, and so the teaser ends on a much more explosive note. Lots of gunfire and adult situations ensue, putting the lie to Eleven’s assertion that she and Mike are going to have “the best spring break ever.”
Netflix has yet to set a formal date for the fourth season of Stranger Things; the nearest we’ve gotten is a confirmation that it’ll arrive some time in 2022. The third season of Stranger Things aired back in Summer 2019; this current hiatus (spurred, presumably, at least in part by the COVID-19 pandemic) represents the longest gap the show has taken to date between its seasons.
Update, 2:11 p.m., 11/6/21: Netflix has released more new information on the show’s fourth season—although the company still won’t get more specific than “Summer 2022" for a release date. They did at least release the episode titles for the season, which range from nerd references (“The Hellfire Club” and “Vecna’s Curse”) to obvious plot references (“Dear Billy” and “Papa” both seem pretty straightforward) to the more obscure.
1. “The Hellfire Club”
2. “Vecna’s Curse”
3. “The Monster and the Superhero”
4. “Dear Billy”
5. “The Nina Project”
6. “The Dive”
7. “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”
9. “The Piggyback”