It is Stranger Things Day, which marks the anniversary of Will Byers’ mysterious disappearance (November 6, 1983) on S1 of the popular Netflix series. The streaming giant is marking the occasion with the release of another sneak peek for the S4, and frankly it’s a bit of a disappointment.
Netflix has been releasing teasers for S4 for the past year, and tonally, they have been all over the place. For example, the teaser that appeared in May was classic. Strange things, ominously hinting at the return of Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) and “Daddy” childhood torturer, Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). Brenner was allegedly killed by the Demogorgon in S1, but there have been mentions of its possible survival. We already knew that David Harbor will return as Hopper, along with the rest of the main cast: Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Noah Schnapp, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Caleb McLaughlin and Sadie Sink.
We also know that it will be the first season to take place largely outside of Hawkins, as Eleven and the Byers have moved in, and Hopper appears to be incarcerated by the Russians. Maya Thurman-Hawke returns as Robin, Brett Gelman will return as Murray Bauman, Cara Buono will return as matriarch Wheeler, and we’ll see more of Priah Ferguson, who plays Lucas’s cheeky younger sister Erica. Among the new cast members is Robert Englund from Nightmare on Elm Street fame, which is a little link to classic 80s horror.
Another teaser fell in September during Netlix. Tudum World Fan Event. It was markedly different in tone, generating some important Scooby Doo vibrates with its 1950s-era flashback to a mysterious tragedy at Creed House, followed by a quick cut from the Hawkins gang exploring the now-abandoned house. The final shot featured a grandfather clock ticking, changing to the same clock in the Upside Down. Therefore, Creed House is probably connected in some way with previous seasons.
This new trailer takes a completely different tack, seemingly channeling high school movies from the 1980s. We open with Eleven writing a lighthearted letter to Mike describing his supposedly optimistic new life in California, 185 days after moving there with the Byers. He swears he’s finally adjusted, likes school, and made a lot of friends, all of which is a lie. At least you can see Mike during next spring break. But we know we shouldn’t think they will be “the best spring break ever,” and the glimpses we have of gunmen invading the Byers’ house, car chases and explosions bear that out. Those are interspersed with skating rink scenes from the 1980s and some pretty disastrous haircuts for him. Strange things gang, eleven included.
Honestly, at this point, I still have no idea what this fourth season is about, or even how it will look (or feel). Even the launch of episode titles don’t tell us a lot of new things. The fourth season of Strange things lands on Netflix next summer, so there’s still time for the Duffer brothers to communicate some kind of cohesive vision for S4. But this trailer is not.
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