'Stranger Things' Cast Says Everyone Is in 'Real Danger' in 'Massive' Season 4 (Exclusive)

Maya Hawke, Natalia Dyer, Sadie Sink and the rest of the cast talk to ET about what's in store for the new season.

After a three-year hiatus, Stranger Things is back with season 4, a much darker installment of the franchise that will be released in two batches on Netflix, with the first seven episodes streaming on May 27 followed by the last two on July 1. While speaking to ET’s Will Marfuggi, the cast opened up about playing more mature characters and an increasingly danger-filled journey that spans Hawkins, Indiana, the Upside Down and beyond. 

Picking up six months after the events of season 3, which ended with an epic showdown at the Starcourt mall, the new episodes will see the core group of friends struggling in the aftermath. Not only have they been separated, with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) now living in California, but they’re growing up and dealing with unexpected changes as they navigate the complexities of high school. 

Jonathan, in particular, is questioning “a lot about who he is and which path he should go down,” Heaton says. “There’s a lot of fear about what he should do.” Meanwhile, Will and Eleven are really “struggling to [settle] into high school,” Schnapp says, adding that on top of all of that is the fear that he’s losing touch with Mike, who “may not feel like his best friend anymore.”  


Back in Hawkins, Indiana, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink), Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) are all realizing that things haven’t gone any easier -- and, in fact, the dynamics among them have shifted drastically. 

Will, along with everyone else back home, is “definitely in an uncomfortable situation,” Schnapp says, noting these guys are no longer “little friends in the basement.” They’re growing up, dealing with more grownup issues. 

Indicative of that is Lucas, who “is going through a moment that a lot of kids go through at a young age when they’re teenagers, especially in high school,” McLaughlin says. “[It’s] a very vulnerable age… And I feel like Lucas, right now, he’s just trying to figure out who he is.”

On top of that, is the separation between Max and Lucas, which is taking a toll on him. “He’s trying to find that replacement,” the actor says. And as a result, “he goes out and steps outside of the box.” 

Of course, all that is complicated by the fact that there’s a new, even more horrifying supernatural threat emerging from the Upside Down while Eleven’s past, as seen in the first eight minutes, comes back to haunt her. 


And the bigger the threat gets, the more intense the fight to take them down. “This season, for us, we’re fighting with guns and swords and things that aren’t what I’m used to,” Schnapp says, noting just how “crazy” things get. 

“There’s a lot of supernatural, crazy elements going on,” Hawke says. But none of that takes away from “their relationships, their actual lives and feelings and emotions.” Everything they’re going through is tethered or grounded in their reality. 

The supersized season, which is five hours longer than the previous three and features several episodes that run over 90 minutes in length, is certainly the series’ biggest yet. “This is, by far, the biggest [season] we’ve had yet,” Matarazzo says, gobsmacked by just “how massive it is.” 

“Just having these very different locations to follow throughout the season, it’s never something we’ve done before,” Sink says, referring to the fact that there are storylines in California and Indiana as well as Russia, where Jim Hopper (David Harbour) has been revealed to still be alive. 


“Like, ‘We’re not in Hawkins anymore,’” Harbour quips, with Brett Gelman, who returns as conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman, adding, “Spreading that flavor throughout the world was very much the aim of this season.” 

“At the expansion and location, I think, is an extension of emotional and relationship expansion as well,” he adds. “Everything grows in all ways in season 4.” 

Echoing that sentiment is Sink, who feels that the early episodes will certainly feel different thanks to “the distance between everyone,” she says. “I think it makes it all the more exciting.” 

In addition to new locations, there are also a number of new faces. But the most notable among them is Nightmare on Elm Street star Robert Englund. 


Famous for playing Freddy Krueger in the horror franchise, his presence is a stark reminder how much of a nightmare Stranger Things is this time around, with the series referencing not only that popular slasher franchise, but also films like Hellraiser and The Silence of the Lambs

Because of that, “there are characters who are in real, real danger,” Dyer says, noting how unexpected it was to see everyone experience their own twists and turns. “Like, we haven’t been in as high stakes or potential danger before. That was surprising and scary.” 

“And [that’s] applicable to every storyline,” adds newcomer Joseph Quinn, who plays older high school student Eddie Munson. “It’s not just that one storyline is kind of the main artery. Every single storyline is kind of filled with peril and danger.”

The first seven episodes of Stranger Things season 4 premieres May 27 on Netflix.