'Stranger Things' leans into horror vibes with first look photos from long-awaited Season 4

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'Stranger Things' leans into horror vibes with first look photos from long-awaited Season 4

Stranger Things 4 is almost here, and it's going to be a scary ride.

STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS

In a little more than two months, the much-anticipated fourth season of Stranger Things arrives on Netflix. It's been nearly three years since the show's third season has arrived, the kids who used to play D&D in the basement in Hawkins, Indiana are all grown up, and it feels like we've been waiting forever for the story to continue. Now, it's finally almost here. 

Netflix released a series of first look photos for the fourth season Wednesday morning, giving fans fresh looks at everything from Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) making a rope out of sheets to Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Robin (Maya Hawke) infiltrating a mental hospital and more. They don't tell us much about the plot, but they do offer a tantalizing glimpse into what's next for this ever-expanding ensemble, including some Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Check out the photos below:

STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS
STRANGER THINGS 4 First Look PRESS

These photos and the clues they hold aside, we still don't know that much about what to expect from Stranger Things 4. We know that, despite the delay between seasons, just six months have passed in-universe between Stranger Things 4 and Stranger Things 3, which ended with a climactic battle against the Mind Flayer in Starcourt Mall and saw Will (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) move away from Hawkins, leaving Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and friends back in town. We also know that, despite what seemed to happen at the end of the third season, Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is not really dead. 

So, we'll get to see Hopper surviving in captivity in Russia, and presumably some efforts to get him out. We'll also get to see the kids navigating the particular emotional terrors of high school for the first time, and what it's like for the gang to try and fight monsters together when they're separated by geographic distance as much as by their own personal drama. Beyond that, much of the season's story is being kept under wraps, but there will be new supernatural threats to face, and apparently they'll be even scarier than what our heroes have seen in previous seasons. 

“When we pitched it to Netflix all those years ago, we pitched it as the kids are...The Goonies in E.T.,” co-creator Ross Duffer explained on an upcoming episode of the Present Company podcast (via Tudum). “That’s their storyline. And the adults are in Jaws and Close Encounters and then the teens are in Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween. But, this year, we don’t have the kids. We can’t do The Goonies anymore. And so, suddenly, we’re leaning much harder into that horror movie territory that we love. It was fun to make that change.”

Duffer also noted, as he and his brother Matt explained earlier this year, that Stranger Things 4 is "very, very long," the longest season yet in terms of runtime, which helps explain why it's taken a little while to get it made (the pandemic didn't help either). He also noted, without explaining which fans are getting it right, that the show's viewers have often been "startlingly" spot-on about what's coming. 

“I’m constantly impressed with how sharp the fans are, and how quickly they’re able to put something together with very, very little information," Duffer said. 

Stranger Things 4, Volume 1 arrives May 27, while Volume 2 will debut July 1. 

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