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The fourth season of Stranger Things is still a week away, but you can whet your appetite for '80s nostalgia with the first eight minutes from the premiere, which opens in September 1979 and brings back Matthew Modine as Dr. Brenner (one of the lead scientists at Hawkins Laboratories who helped Elven hone her abilities). A de-aged Millie Bobby Brown also makes an appearance, but we won't be spoiling any of the specifics beyond that because it's pretty chilling stuff.
Netflix released the footage along with an official breakdown of how the two-part season shakes out from an episode count perspective.
Arriving on the streaming platform next Friday (May 27), Vol. 1 consists of the first seven episodes, while Vol. 2 (out July 1) contains the final two installments. Now, that may sound rather anticlimactic, but remember: multiple episodes have been confirmed to run longer than the most recent feature-length movies directed by series executive producer Shawn Levy (Free Guy, The Adam Project).
The second "half" is essentially two movies placed back-to-back. Episode 9 in particular spans 2 hours and 30 minutes (via Fandom), a minute longer than Avengers: Infinity War. When all is said and done, Season 4 will run five hours longer than the previous three outings. "Episode 7 and 9 are very, very long episodes," co-creator Ross Duffer teased to Collider. His brother and fellow creator, Matt Duffer, added: "Oh, yeah. Those are full-blown movies."
Watch the first eight minutes below:
“Halfway through writing Season 1 Netflix said, ‘Can you just explain the mythology to us?’” Matt explained to NME. “So we sat down with our writers and wrote this 25-page document and ever since we’ve been peeling back the layers of that. Because those answers lie in the past, some of them really go back to when Eleven was in Hawkins Lab and her storyline, so we really wanted to go back there and explore that.”
Tackling a number of different storylines in Hawkins, California, and Soviet Russia, Stranger Things 4 promises to be the most ambitious and darkest chapter in the saga thus far. You can thank the larger narrative scope (and the COVID-19 pandemic, of course) for why it took the show almost two years to return.
Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Jim Hopper), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Priah Ferguson (Erica Sinclair), Brett Gelman (Murray), and Cara Buono (Karen Wheeler) reprise their established characters from the first three seasons.
Newcomers to the beloved franchise include: Jamie Campbell Bower (Peter Ballard), Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson), Eduardo Franco (Argyle), Sherman Augustus (Lt. Colonel Sullivan), Mason Dye (Jason Carver), Nikola Djuricko (Yuri), Tom Wlaschiha (Dmitri), Myles Truitt (Patrick), Regina Ting Chen (Ms. Kelly), Grace Van Dien (Chrissy),Logan Riley Bruner (Fred Benson), Logan Allen (Jake), Elodie Grace Orkin (Angela), John Reynolds (Officer Callahan), Rob Morgan (Chief Powell), Amybeth McNulty (Vickie), and Robert Englund (Victor Creel).
The Duffers serve as executive producers alongside Levy, Dan Cohen, Iain Paterson, and Curtis Gwinn. Stranger Things will come to an end after a fifth season, which has already been outlined by the Duffers. Whatever they tackle next could be a very different animal.
“I think their style is going to continue to evolve,” M. Night Shyamalan, who gave the siblings their first big writing break on Wayward Pines, told The New York Times. “I think they became super successful by doing this story,” he added, “but it wouldn’t shock me if we see something after this that doesn’t sound like this.”
Looking for more sci-fi and fantasy? Head over to Peacock for films like Firestarter, Constantine, Twilight, Creepshow, Resident Evil, Independence Day, and more!