Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 3!
When will Stranger Things season 4 be released on Netflix? We have a theory based on a particular scene at the end of the season 3 finale.
Stranger Things season 3 just dropped on Netflix but viewers are already looking towards the future of the series. A renewal has yet to be announced but it's a safe bet that Netflix will give season 4 the green light. The Duffer Brothers always intended for the series to consist of at least four seasons. When Stranger Things does return, it will undoubtedly be a lot different. Since the Byers family and Eleven moved from Hawkins, a new setting could come into focus for the fourth season.
The move will complicate matters for the relationships of the characters but it could provide insight into the setting of season 4, and therefore, the premiere date. When El (Millie Bobby Brown) was helping pack up the Byers house before the big move, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) reassured her that they will see each other again soon. He mentioned that she and Will (Noah Schnapp) could come back to Hawkins for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The kids would be off of school for a holiday break giving them time to reunite with their friends. If that's the case, the next season could coincide with the holidays and premiere in November 2020, specifically around Thanksgiving.
It's difficult to predict exactly when Stranger Things season 4 could arrive based on the timeline previously used within the franchise. There was a 15-month gap between season 1 and 2. The time between season 2 and 3 was much longer, coming in at 21 months. This was likely due to the fact that they wanted season 3 to air in July to coincide with the holiday. If Stranger Things season 4 did premiere in November 2020, it would be 16 months after season 3's premiere. That leaves the cast and crew plenty of time to get the season done for the 2020 holiday season based on the time frames from past years. Season 2 and 3 were both linked to the holidays they were released around, Halloween and the 4th of July respectively, it makes sense for season 4 to do the same.
The first season of Stranger Things took place in November and it would make sense if they cycle back to that time of year. Joyce (Winona Ryder) moved far enough away that the kids felt the need to plan their visits well in advance. It's unlikely that consecutive seasons would focus on the summer so a holiday break would be the only reasonable explanation for Will and El to make it back to Hawkins.
The Duffers already have plans for Stranger Things season 4 but they must await the renewal confirmation from Netflix to officially get back to work. Of course, there could always be delays in production or filming stages as nothing is set in stone. Mike's line about the holiday season seemed to have been included as some type of tease but for now, viewers will have to wait and see if Netflix sends us an early Christmas present in 2020.