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Season 4 of Stranger Things is still a ways off, but at least we now know the hit series will officially make its long-awaited Netflix return in the summer of 2022. In the meantime, we can occupy ourselves by trying to decode the nine episode titles unveiled today in honor of Stranger Things Day. This is pretty big stuff, given that we've only known the name assigned to the season premiere ("The Hellfire Club") for two years now. Viewers are ravenous for more content and the show is finally starting to deliver after a hiatus made even longer by the COVID-19 health crisis.
Episode 2, for instance, seems to incorporate another bit of Dungeons & Dragons lore into the hit series with a reference to Vecna, an evil spell-caster and deity famous for penning a grimoire known as the Book of Vile Darkness. Does this mean we'll be getting a brand-new entity to join the ranks of the Demogorgon and Mind Flayer? Seems like it!
Other episode titles are a little more straightforward, teasing some sort of tragedy at Hawkins Lab (“The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”); the possible return of Eleven's father, played by Matthew Modine ("Papa"); and an ode to Max's late stepbrother, who sacrificed himself at the end of Season 3 ("Dear Billy").
All the Season 4 titles are as follows:
- “The Hellfire Club”
- “Vecna’s Curse”
- “The Monster and the Superhero”
- “Dear Billy”
- “The Nina Project”
- “The Dive”
- “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”
- “The Piggyback”
Set over the spring of 1986, the upcoming season finds our heroes scattered all over the place: Eleven and the Byers are now living out in sunny California, Hopper's fighting for his life in the snowy USSR, and the rest of the gang are still in Hawkins. The latest collection of footage (also released today) gives us our best look yet at the young heroes who are truly growing up before our very eyes.
With so many disparate storylines to juggle this time around, it took Netflix a little longer to film the new episodes, especially since production had to shut down for over six months due to the global health crisis. In fact, photography on Season 4 wrapped less than two months ago.
"As much as it pains our viewers that it will have been so long, trust me, it pains Matt, Ross, and I more," executive producer Shawn Levy explained over the summer, referring to creators Matt and Ross Duffer. "It is a kind of perfect storm combination of COVID shutdown, slower pace of filming in COVID protocols and health protocols, which are necessary, and coincidentally we chose Season 4 to be by far — and I mean, by far, far, far — the most ambitious of the seasons."
Stranger Thing 4 arrives on Netflix next summer.