Stranger Things Season 4 Will Finally Explain What The Heck Is Going On In Hawkins

After three seasons of missing children, Demogorgan rampages, and mall explosions, the once quiet town of Hawkins, Indiana is on the verge of joining ranks with Gotham and New York City in the MCU — places that everyone should immediately leave, lest they become the collateral damage of some chaotic main character antics gone wrong. Back in the simpler times of "Stranger Things" season 1, the strangest thing to plague the sleepy town was a single missing child. Life was so uneventful that the town police chief could barely be bothered to investigate, assuming the 12-year old had just run off or was hiding out somewhere! Fast forward a couple of years later and that same police chief is being held prisoner in Russia because he knows too much about monster conspiracies, so ... yeah, you could say things have changed.

But the mystery of Hawkins goes even deeper than what we know. Strangeness has been brewing since the very beginning and while the Duffer brothers have dropped plenty of hints, they have yet to reveal the answers we truly crave. But with "Stranger Things" approaching its endgame, we finally have a shot at figuring it all out. As it turns out, the series creators have had the answers locked away for ages, they just needed the time and space to explain it all. In a conversation with Deadline, Ross Duffer explained:

"Back when we did Season 1, Netflix just kept going 'Can you explain all this mythology to us?' So we wrote this giant 20-page document, which talked about everything in terms of what was going on and what exactly the Upside Down was. And then each season we're just sort of peeling back the layers of that onion, so to speak. But this season, we really wanted to really get into it and [revealing] some of those answers. But to do that properly, we needed time, so it just became bigger and bigger."

Prepare for a super-sized season

"Stranger Things" has gotten bigger by the season, in more ways than one. The focus has broadened well beyond just Hawkins, and the upcoming season is being described as a sprawling epic that jumps between various locations. To pack in the final few chapters of this expansive story, the series will also be using supersized episodes for season 4, according to Matt Duffer:

"I don't think we have an episode clocking in under an hour – even in Season 1 there were episodes that were like 35 minutes. You kind of forget that. This season, they're very long, so I think it's almost double the length of any season. So that's one reason it's taken so long. It does have this sort of epic quality to it. It's a different feel, for sure."

The Duffers have been hinting about the "Stranger Things" world having lots of potential to expand in spin-offs, but before branching off to new stories, the saga of our Hawkins crew still has ways to go. According to the Duffers, the upcoming fourth season took "nine scripts, over eight hundred pages, almost two years of filming, thousands of visual effects shots." The season is so big that it's arriving in two parts, half in May and the rest in July — and even after this, a fifth and final season will follow. Surely the residents of Hawkins are hoping that when all is said and done, they can return to their sleepy-town ways but given this show's tendency to get scarier by the season, they shouldn't hold their breath.

"Stranger Things" season 4, Vol. 1 will release on May 27, 2022, followed by Vol. 2 on July 1, 2022.