[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Stranger Things 3. Read at your own risk!]
The third season of Stranger Things could have easily served as a series finale if not for the mid-credits scene, which opened up a new gate of Upside Down intrigue and left us wondering if Hawkins' chief of police is actually history or not. Fortunately, we won't have to wait long for that cliffhanger to resolve itself: Netflix announced on Sept. 30, 2019, that Stranger Things 4 will happen in the future, so the chances are good that we will indeed get the chance to find out the identity of "the American" who's stashed in the Russian cell. Here's everything we know so far about Stranger Things' fourth season.
It will move beyond Hawkins. No surprise based on how Stranger Things 3 ended, but the teaser for the fourth season states bluntly that our heroes are "not in Hawkins anymore."
It could be the last season. Although producer Shawn Levy told Collider that he thinks there's possibly room for another season after Stranger Things 4, the show's co-creators seem to want the next run to be the show's last. In 2017, Ross Duffer told Matt Duffer echoed that sentiment, saying, "I don't know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year." Yet despite the Duffers' claims, the fourth season was not announced as a final season — leaving room for more Stranger Things to come.
Could Hopper return? The most heart-wrenching moment of the Stranger Things 3 finale was when Jim Hopper (David Harbour) sacrificed himself so Joyce (Winona Ryder) could close the gate to the Upside Down and blow up the machine. His letter to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) rubbed extra salt in that wound. Speaking to ET Online, David Harbour said he has "hope" that Hopper is the mysterious American in Russian captivity right now. "He did glance around a little bit, but he seemed to be trapped and the machine exploded. And then you cut to... some town in Russia right? Where there's some American and some prisoner. I don't know, I mean, it seems strange," he said. Of course, Harbour also recognizes that Hopper's apparent fate does offer the character some closure because, finally, "he acts like the person he is meant to be" in that moment.
The mysterious American will be a major factor. Whether or not it's Hopper in the Russian cell, the unnamed American who is in Russian captivity in the Stranger Things 3 finale will become a major part of the next season. Ross Duffer told Entertainment Weekly, "The question of who that American is in that cell and then also what they're doing with the Demogorgon, is a tease. That's obviously going to play a huge role in a potential season four."
The Byers family is moving to a new location. The tail end of Stranger Things 3 saw Joyce selling her house and relocating to another town with Will (Noah Schnapp), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and a newly de-powered Eleven after a particularly gutting goodbye to those they were leaving behind. At least one actor expects fans to see the characters in this new setting next season. As Noah Schnapp told ET Online, "I know that I might have a separate storyline from everyone else, so we might be filming, like, in another place." Matt Duffer confirmed Schnapp's suspicions that we might see some action outside of the original town, telling EW, "It's going to open up a little bit, not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing plotlines into areas outside of Hawkins."
Will the younger kids get jobs, too? We don't know how old the Dungeons & Dragons party will be if and when Stranger Things returns for a fourth season, but there's a chance that Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) could follow the lead of his pal Steve (Joe Keery) and become gainfully employed by the time we see him again. "For so long, I've wanted to see him work at the Arcade — at the Palace Arcade with Keith — and have Keith be his boss," Gaten Matarazzo told ET Online. "They have that rivalry and it's hilarious and I want to work with Matty [Cardarople] more because he's amazing." Matarazzo also said he expects audiences to get more of Dustin's girlfriend Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo) in the new season.
It'll have a different feel than Stranger Things 3. While Ross Duffer said that he and his brother only had the "broad strokes" of a fourth season in mind after Stranger Things 3 hit screens, they do believe it'll have a different vibe than the previous season. "We're pretty excited about where it's potentially going to go," he told EW. "It's going to feel very different than this season. But I think that's the right thing to do and I think it'll be exciting."
Stranger Things Seasons 1-3 are now streaming on Netflix.