Stranger Things season 4 is reportedly going to be eight episodes long, with filming starting in January 2020 and ending the following August. The hit TV series was created by Matt and Ross Duffer and premiered on Netflix in 2016. It has only increased in popularity since then, with season 3 (which dropped this summer) becoming its most-watched installment yet.
By the end of the third season, life had changed dramatically for the residents of the show's small-town setting. Sheriff Jim Hopper is presumed dead for the time being and Joyce Byers has moved away from Hawkins, Indiana, along with her sons Jonathan and Will, and Hopper's adopted daughter Eleven. The announcement video for Stranger Things season 4 confirmed the series will be shifting away from Hawkins in the episodes to come, teasing "We're Not in Hawkins Anymore".
According to TVLine, Stranger Things season 4 will likely consist of eight episodes, just like seasons 1 and 3. Season 2 is still the longest at nine episodes, but the Duffers have expressed a desire to avoid going longer than that, and maintain the show's cinematic sense of pacing. TVLine is also confirming season 4 will begin filming next January and carry on through to August 2020, which rules out the possibility of a summer premiere that year.
With a 20201 release date now looking likely for season 4, that leaves Stranger Things fans with plenty of time to mull over the show's future. Season 3 ended with a mid-credits scene that blatantly hinted at Hopper having survived the battle at Starcourt Mall and now being kept prisoner in a Russian facility, but the Duffers are refusing to confirm or deny Hopper's fate for the time being. However, they and their writing team have mentioned some of the 1980s and '90s films that will inform season 4's storyline, including titles likes The Fisher King and Bill and Ted's Bogus Adventure (a movie that, perhaps not so coincidentally, involves time-travel).
No doubt, many fans are glad to hear Stranger Things season 4 will be changing things up by moving the action (at least partly) away from Hawkins. Season 3 was well-received overall, but also criticized for playing it safe and doubling-down on everything the show's fanbase loved about season 2, save for its polarizing seventh episode, "The Lost Sister". If the series is going to have a future beyond season 4 (something that isn't guaranteed yet), it would do well to branch out narratively and take more risks, even knowing (like "The Lost Sister") some of them may not pan out as hoped. Otherwise, the show's nostalgic appeal could start to wear off.
Stranger Things season 4 does not have an official premiere date yet.