Whatever’s happening underground at Hawkins, it definitely looks sinister… but then again, didn’t it always? Netflix is seemingly hinting that new evils are brewing for Stranger Things 4, and they’re unfolding mostly out of sight, inside the secret government lab that formerly served as Eleven’s supernaturally cold childhood home.
In the cryptic new clip below, Hawkins National Laboratory is on temporary lockdown and having technical difficulties — but remarkably, something’s still going on down there, and its systems still appear functional. That’s a pretty amazing feat in itself, considering the havoc that unfolded in the lab after its portal opened during the show’s first season, effectively turning its dark hallways into Ground Zero in the battle against The Upside Down.
The mesmerizing footage slowly follows a strange series of static, closed-circuit surveillance clips taken from different places inside the lab — and the imagery gets more and more unsettling with every shot.
Toppled chess pieces, a bloodied 8-ball, a gory splatter scene taken straight from the pages of the pulpiest horror novel — across seven flickering screens, what starts as placid and sterile lab "footage" grows more and more disturbing in each passing frame. What could it all mean? Only Netflix knows, but for now, we’re left with tantalizing coy hints: “Due to technical difficulties, Hawkins National Laboratory will be closed until further notice,” the facility confesses in the accompanying text. “We will be back in service tomorrow at 9:00AM ET.”
That’s a pretty specific time stamp, so our eyes are definitely peeled to see if any answers are on the near horizon. But without any people in view, and with only these few cryptic hints to go on, we’re probably not meant to read too much into story teases just yet…though that’s not gonna stop us, and everyone else, from theorizing to the high heavens about what's lurking deep in the Stanger Things basement.
On first glance, there doesn’t seem to be an overt connection between Hawkins Lab and the secret Soviet facility that Starcourt Industries had hidden underneath the bustling mall that served as the set-piece hub during the series’ third season. But whether it’s Chief Hopper’s (David Harbour) warped-out disappearance from Starcourt, or Bob Newby’s (Sean Astin) grisly Season 2 demise deep in the Demogorgon-infested bowels of Hawkins, Stranger Things has primed fans from the start to expect nothing but ill tidings anytime the action ventures into sub-basements and fluorescent hallways.
One thing's for certain: Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has spent a lot of time in the lab, and she knows more about underground life at Hawkins than anyone else…at least, anyone else who’s survived. Could her psychically-connected past be the key to unraveling the mysteries that apparently still stir beneath small-town Indiana’s peaceful veneer?
With Hawkins Lab stuttering back to life just at the moment when Hopper’s M.I.A. whereabouts suggest there’re still unexplained dark forces lurking beyond all the vanquished Mind Flayers and Demogorgons, Stranger Things 4 is sitting atop a pile of fresh secrets. But thanks to this teaser, which hatches far more questions than it answers, at least we have some brand-new fan theory material — the better to tide us over until Netflix reveals a premiere date for the next hugely-anticipated batch of episodes.
Netflix has also dropped a tantalizing teaser asking if Eleven is still listening for... something? It seems the Stranger Things 4 buzz campaign is finally kicking off. Here's hoping a release date follows suit.