Stranger Things Season 4 Trailer Breakdown: Darkest Season Yet?


Annia Gimeno Marko, Casual Contributer

As many fans are most likely already aware, the highly anticipated season four of the hit Netflix TV show Stranger Things will make its debut on the platform on Friday, May 27th. Fans have waited three years for its release (the third season having come out in July of 2019), and, as a Stranger Things fan, the level of excitement is through the roof. The Season 4 trailer dropped April 12, with snippets of teaser trailers having been released previously. 



One of the last scenes in the third season ended with Jim Hopper appearing to sacrifice himself in the underground Russian base where a large electrical machine was seen breaking through the previously closed entrance to the Upside Down, a realm of monsters and fears that torments the city of Hawkins. Viewers were left with the impression that it had been destroyed, and the Season 4 trailer begins with the charred remains of the Russian-designed machine, which has caused a burning tear in the Upside Down. A grandfather clock in the midst of a dark room with a strip of moonlight shining down upon it is also shown, something that has appeared in previous teaser clips. However, there is an ominous voice-over of a monster-like creature that we see a quick glimpse of before the Netflix logo flashes across the screen. 

The scene transitions to Max sitting in front of her brother Billy Hargrove’s grave after the Mind Flayer killed him in the season 3 finale. A voice-over of Max speaking to Billy’s grave plays, saying nothing has been the same since he left and that although they (the main characters: Eleven, Will, Mike, Lucas, Max, Steve, Dustin, Robin, etc.) tried to live normal lives and be happy, the attempt was futile. As this plays, we see a clip of Robin, Dustin, and Steve getting out of the car with morose faces. In the previous season, we saw these characters spend most of their time together and form the beloved Scoops Troop alongside Erica, and since they have solved crimes and upheaval in Hawkins, Indiana before, hopefully we will see more of that in this upcoming season. However, they all have serious, sullen faces in this trailer, so it’s clear the events in this season are much more serious. 

While Max is talking about attempting to live “normal lives,” clips of Lucas playing basketball at school appear, and we see Will and Eleven trying to fit in at their new school, Lenora Hills High School. Season 3 leaves off with the Byers (Joyce, Will, Jonathan) family moving out of Hawkins with Eleven due to the trauma that the family experienced in the previous season. At Lenora Hills, Eleven and Will walk down the hallway, but as Eleven waves to some students in the hopes of making friends, she is ignored. It gives the sense that they don’t belong there. However, further on in the trailer, we see Mike and Eleven holding hands at a skating arcade, hinting that the characters who moved away will reconvene in this season.

The next transition shows Max walking alone down a dark hallway of their school that we’ve seen previously (the same hallway where Eleven defeated the Demogorgon in the first season and where she encountered the Upside Down). At the end of the hallway, embedded in the wall with cracks surrounding it, is the same grandfather clock we’ve been seeing. Again, what does this mean?? The only background we have of this clock is a teaser clip called Creel House released last September. In it, a family of four moves into a house that seems to be haunted, as unusual sounds are heard while the family lives there. After a scene with the family at the dinner table and ominous music playing, it cuts to the father standing at the door with the rest of the family lying on the ground unmoving. It’s implied that it is this house with a dark past where the clock presides. Steve, Dustin, Nancy, Lucas, Robin, and Max enter and explore this house years later, and the ending shot of the teaser pictures the clock in an abandoned room of the house surrounded by the Upside Down. Maybe it has a connection to the previous monsters of the Upside Down and is counting down towards a disastrous event set to happen soon, but all we can do at the moment is guess.

The trailer then cuts to a scene with snow-covered railroad tracks with long lines of workers marching down them in what is highly presumed to be a location in Russia, and Hopper’s face flashes across the screen for one second. As seen in a previous teaser, it is believed that Hopper has been taken hostage by the Russian government organization that set up the project to break through to the Upside Down, and it seems our suspicions are confirmed. It’s unknown what they want with him or what they’re forcing him to do, but whatever they’re up to is creating suspense in the anticipation of the show.

Later on, we hear Dr. Sam Owens (who made his appearance in Season 2) saying, presumably to Eleven and the Byers, that he relocated them in the hopes of them being safe. However, as we see, they are anything but that. A clip of Joyce is shown as she receives a large box mailed to her with stamps carrying the Soviet Union flag. The season takes place in 1986, so the Soviet Union is still in control of Russia. So who inside Russia is sending this to her? Hopper? And what is inside that box? Knowing the plotline of the show, we can assume it is nothing good. 

As helicopters descend upon Hawkins, we hear Dr. Owen’s voiceover: “A war is coming.” He goes on to say that the Byers’ friends in Hawkins (the rest of the characters listed previously) are in “the eye of the storm.” Every season of Stranger Things has been ominous and has seen the inhabitants of Hawkins deal with extremely dangerous and potentially hugely destructive events and monsters. But this trailer makes this coming season sound all the more darker and deadlier. What would be the consequences of this “war”? 

The next transition sees Eleven telling Dr. Owens that she doesn’t have her powers. This is something that we saw in the season finale after a part of the Mindflayer enters Eleven’s body and she loses her telekinetic powers. However, Dr. Owens says that they cannot win this war without her. As he says this, we see Eleven (possibly captured?) being driven away in a van labeled “Prison Transport Keep Back” with Eleven looking sadly out the back window at Mike as the van takes her away. We also see men in black suits standing in front of a County Line Cafe as if waiting for someone or waiting to take someone away.

As dark skies with bright flashes zip through the trailer, we are met once again with the dark, haunted, Creel House surrounded by bats and the same red lightning that we’ve seen (especially in Season 2 when Will was possessed by the Midflayer and saw it in Upside Down visions). A clip of Nancy and Jonathan saying “see you on the other side” plays, possibly referring to the Upside Down.

It then transitions back to the snow-covered Russian base where Hopper is strapped down to a chair, bloodied and beaten, as a gas mask is put over his head. This gives the impression that Hopper is being used for dangerous experiments and that the Russians in the base could be developing more destructive weapons. The next scene sees Hopper and other prisoners standing in an arena holding spear-like weapons in front of a closed gate. As this gate opens, a huge demogorgon leaps out at them (demodog). This incites flashbacks to the end credits scene of Season 3, where presumably Russian generals have kept one of the demodogs from the previous season and could be using it as a weapon in this new season. Could they also be breeding more demogorgons? It is unclear but the prospects don’t look good.

A Dungeons and Dragons master is also shown, but his role in the new season hasn’t been explicitly stated. The new monster-like creature that spoke and flashed across the screen at the beginning of the trailer has been revealed to have a name: Vecna. This is a monster master that appears in the game Dungeons and Dragons, just like the demogorgon also appears in the game. So is this Dungeons and Dragons master an addition to the show that will help the characters or not? In terms of Vecna, it was revealed by someone online that hidden inside the trailer, in different timestamps, the words “Hi I am Hell Master” are spelled out. This is implied to refer to Vecna and has significantly ominous implications for the characters.

Another hugely important scene that appears in the trailer is Eleven as a young child when she was forced to be experimented on in the lab. A previous teaser clip shows Dr. Brenner (who is called Papa by the young kids experimented on), the horrible monster of a person who experimented on her and was the complete opposite of a father figure to Eleven or any of the kids tortured in the lab. The clip sees Papa tell the kids he has something special in store for them as they all reply in unison. Heavy breathing is heard from a locked windowless door with the “11” printed on it as Papa asks, “Eleven, are you listening?” The trailer shows Eleven in her lab clothing covered in blood and not being able to control her powers as she blasts people away from her while in the lab. It is highlighting the torture she went through as a young child and how the experiments affected her. Now that Eleven doesn’t have her powers, some theories are that Dr. Brenner will possibly return in this season and will be out to find Eleven and kidnap her to find out what happened to her powers. Another theory states Dr. Brenner could be working with the Russians, who are trying to get into the Upside Down and know that the only person who can open and close it is Eleven, so they would be after her powers. This would tie into the reason why Dr. Owens moved Eleven out of Hawkins with the Byers in order to protect her from people that would capture her.

In the last moments of the trailer, clips start flashing at a much quicker pace. We see Max levitating over Billy’s grave. Does she get powers? Does this have anything to do with Billy? Is something else possessing her? As we saw Max previously finding the clock in the walls of the school by herself, she might have her own plotline in this season with much more serious outcomes. A view of someone looking into the Upside Down where the closed crack has broken up incites the possibilities of dangerous consequences. Explosions, monsters, screaming faces barrel through, with a red lightning outline. We see Joyce and Murray flying and nearly crashing a plane through a snow-covered landscape, heavily hinting that they will save Hopper. 

Going back to Max, we see her in a completely red landscape, in what looks like a dead, slimy marsh, with the ground covered in what appears to be some sort of dark liquid substance. The sky is dark red, and it gives the impression that Max could be in the Upside Down or some other monster realm. She is running away from something towards a hole at the end of this marsh where three other people are standing but trips and falls as something is thrown at her. As she runs, we see the clawed hand/arm of the new monster (Vecna), showing that there is maybe some connection between it and Max since Max is the only one trapped there with it and running away from it in the scene. 

The creature says in a deep voice, “It’s Time,” and yet another clip of the Creel House with bats swarming around, it appears. And finally, in the very last moment, we see the fully fleshed-out body of the creature descending onto the screen. As it says “You have lost” (referring to the war?), we see its skull-like head and many slimy tentacle-like limbs covering its body as it is illuminated by red and dark blue lighting (characteristic of Stranger Things). 

It is clear that the three years spent waiting for this season have been worth it, and the bar for expectations has been set to the sky. This new season will be darker, more suspenseful, action-packed, and ominous, and it will hold far greater potential consequences for all characters and inhabitants of Hawkins. There are countless plotlines to look forward to and a culmination of events like no other.