stranger things 4

It hasn’t even been a week since Stranger Things season 3 dropped on Netflix, but already the show is breaking streaming records and stirring up buzz about a fourth season. And why wouldn’t it? Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s biggest hits, and in a time when the streaming giant’s competition is starting to ramp up, Stranger Things 4 is a done deal. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer know this, considering the cliffhanger conclusion of Stranger Things 3, as well as their frequent chatter about what they would do with a fourth season. Now, they have offered a little — typically vague — tease about what is in store for Stranger Things 4.

Spoilers for Stranger Things 3 below.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the series creators explained that they plan the broad strokes of each “chapter” in advance, and have already started mapping out season 4. Though the season would likely follow the same template that the past three seasons have followed, the Duffer Brothers said that their current plans already feel “very different” from season 3. Rather than containing the action to one unfortunate small town in Indiana, Matt Duffer said that Stranger Things 4 will “open up a little bit”:

“I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s going to open up a little bit, not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing plotlines into areas outside of Hawkins.”

Stranger Things 3 already gave us a taste of a bigger world outside of Hawkins and the Upside Down. The infiltration of a secret Russian operation into the small Indiana town only opened the door (the gate!) to plots on an international scale. A mid-credits scene set in a Russian military base where an “American” (who may or may not be David Harbour‘s supposedly deceased Jim Hopper) is being kept hostage and inmates are being fed to a Demagorgon may just the beginning of a more expanded Stranger Things setting.

Plus there’s the issue of the gang parting ways at the end of Stranger Things 3. The Byers family and Eleven move out of Hawkins. Eleven has lost her powers, and thus her connection to the Upside Down — or has she? Ross Duffer was typically vague about how Stranger Things 4 would pick up these disparate plot threads, but he promised an exciting and different season:

“We don’t want to write ourselves in a corner so we try to have these early discussions with the writers just to make sure that we’re setting ourselves up to go in the right direction. We don’t know a lot, but we do know a lot of the big broad strokes. At the end of season two, we knew about Billy. We knew that the Russians were going to come in. We didn’t know the mall and stuff, but again, we know these big broad strokes. That’s sort of where we are in season four. We have the big broad strokes. It’s just now about filling in those lines in the details. We’re pretty excited about where it’s potentially going to go. Again, like we said, it’s going to feel very different than this season. But I think that’s the right thing to do and I think it’ll be exciting.”

And don’t worry, the show’s major twists and the cliffhanger with the “American” will definitely be answered in Stranger Things 4, executive producer Shawn Levy promised. “Certainly season three ends with several plot strands that are separate from each other. And should there be a season 4, I think we’ll see them all explored.”

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