The fourth season of Stranger Things is almost here—at least the first seven episodes since the release is split in two. So Netflix released a spooky final trailer, chock full of 1980s horror tropes, on the heels of the revelation last month that the season’s Big Bad will be a Dungeons and Dragons villain named Vecna.
We’ve previously reported that David Harbour is returning as Hopper, along with the rest of the main cast. Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), and Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield) all return.
We also know the fourth season is the first to mostly occur outside of Hawkins since Eleven and the Byerses have moved away, and Hopper is in a Russian prison. Maya Thurman Hawke returns as Robin, Brett Gelman is back as Murray Bauman, Cara Buono returns as the Wheeler matriarch, and we’ll be seeing more of Priah Ferguson, who plays Lucas’ sassy younger sister, Erica. Robert Englund of Nightmare on Elm Street fame is among the new cast members, a nice little nod to classic ’80s horror. Englund plays Victor Creel, the former owner of the spooky Creel House featured in one of the teasers.
S4 is the longest season yet in terms of running time; not one of its nine episodes runs less than an hour. (Prior seasons had the occasional shorter 35- to 45-minute episode, and episodes only rarely ran past one hour.) Because the main characters have been split up, three distinct storylines must be woven together, prompting the Duffer brothers to call S4 their “Game of Thrones season.” The sheer length of the run times prompted the brothers (with the concurrence of Netflix) to release S4 in two installments.
In D&D lore, Vecna was a once-powerful wizard who became a lich after becoming undead. He was eventually destroyed, with only his left hand and left eye surviving his death. Over time, even after being killed, he achieved godhood, but his hand and eye remained missing, becoming powerful relics for those adventurers who would seek to wield them for themselves.
So Vecna should be a formidable foe. The full trailer dropped last month. It was set to Journey’s “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and brought full-blown Lovecraftian horror vibes that made us keen to see what this new season has in store. Among other highlights, we got a spooky house with a mysterious grandfather clock, spontaneous levitation, an eyeless old man, and a brief glimpse of a grotesque humanoid figure sprouting the oozing tentacles that serve as the calling card of the Upside Down.
The new trailer brings more of the same energy, opening on an other-dimensional scene drenched in red hues as a voice declares, “It’s time. Don’t try to be heroes.” This voice is presumably Vecna. Even though they’re told there’s no shame in running, that’s not what our plucky crew is all about, and they’re certainly not going to start now. Even if Eleven lost her telekinetic powers in the S3 finale, and the members live in different parts of the country, they’re still a team. But there’s still time for the geeky humor we’ve come to love as Dustin braves 20 to 1 odds with a roll of the dice in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. (“Never tell me the odds.”)
The first seven episodes of Stranger Things S4 drop on Netflix on May 27, 2022. The final two episodes will become available on July 1, 2022. It’s an odd way to divide the fourth season, but we’ll be watching.
Listing image by YouTube/Netflix