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The hit Netflix series presumably announced that production has once again restarted, by tweeting a photo of a clapper slating a scene as it was about to be shot, along with the caption, "[M]eanwhile in the upside down..."
In the background of the photo (below), there appears to be some kind of clock, though the hands itself are blurry. Given the blue lighting and tint of the entire image — as well as the caption — it would appear that the clock may be in the Upside Down, aka the alternate parallel dimension featured on the show and the source of all its paranormal horrors.
The clapper itself features the numbers "8.19" and "79," which could be a reference to August 19, 1979, the date Soviet Cosmonauts Vladimir Lyakhov and Valery Ryumin return to Earth, after having spent 175 days in space. Given the introduction and focus on Russian scientists and their attempts to open a gate to the Upside Down in Season 3, as well as a Season 4 teaser from earlier this year that saw Jim Hopper (Black Widow's David Harbour) re-emerging alive in a Russian base in the Kamchatka peninsula following an explosive season finale that left him having been presumed dead, the figures may well be a clue to the upcoming season — as well as the possible return of another fan favorite: Russian scientist and Slurpee enthusiast Alexei. (Though that's probably a long shot, seeing as he was one of the casualties of last season.)
According to Harbour, the new season — and especially its first episode, titled "The Hellfire Club" — will really dig into Hopper's backstory, giving fans some insight into how he became the man he is.
"Now going into the fourth season," the Emmy-nominated actor explained on the L.A. Times Can't Stop Watching podcast earlier this year, "there’ll be a real shift to what he’s going to become — or what he has to become after his character’s 'death.' His 'resurrection' has to be something different."
Harbour went on to add, "We’re going to go into a lot more stuff you don’t know about. It won’t come as a surprise, because it’s been laid in certain ways, but you really don’t understand the depths of it. They’ve been putting me off for years and then they gave me these things. I’m like 'Whoa, yes, we’re finally going to get into this stuff that we’ve been talking about since day one of the first season.' This stuff is meaty, rich stuff that I’ve always known about him and been dying to talk about, but we haven’t revealed it yet."
Since then, Harbour also revealed that Season 4 will not be the end of the hit show, with the show possibly returning for a fifth season, which series creators the Duffer brothers later confirmed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"Season four won't be the end," said Ross Duffer. "We know what the end is, and we know when it is. [The pandemic] has given us time to look ahead, figure out what is best for the show. Starting to fill that out gave us a better idea of how long we need to tell that story."
Duffer also added that the shutdown allowed the show's writers to finish writing the whole season — which appears to be comprised of eight episodes, as seen in a photo included in a tweet from the show's writers' room revealing a pile of scripts, with the caption "Stranger Things 4: the complete season" (below) — thus giving them room to make changes if needed.
"We've had a lot more time to work on the scripts," said Duffer. "For the first time, we have all the scripts written and we're able to look at it as a whole piece and make adjustments."
Harbour won't be the only familiar face returning for Season 4. Joining him will be castmates Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice), Millie Bobby Brown (Enola Holmes), Finn Wolfhard (It: Chapter 2), Gaten Matarazzo (Prank Encounters), Caleb McLaughlin (Concrete Cowboy), Joe Keery (Spree), Natalia Dyer (Velvet Buzzsaw), Noah Schnapp (Hubie Halloween), and the newly promoted series regular Brett Gelman (Mr. Mercedes), among others.
No release date has been set yet for Season 4, but fans still itching to return to Hawkins can check out upcoming issues of the Stranger Things comics, including a Halloween prequel one-shot coming out later this month, and a new Dustin-centric miniseries titled Stranger Things: Science Camp.