“There’s chatter that Season 4 may actually consist of nine episodes, one more than initially planned. That would make Stranger Things 4 one the Netflix drama’s meatiest seasons ever (tied with its sophomore run). I’m also hearing that a fan-favorite character may have his/her origin story told in one (or more) of those nine episodes.”
As he noted, Seasons 1 and 3 consisted of eight episodes, and 2 had nine. The extra episode in S2 allowed for the installment “The Lost Sister” which introduced Eleven’s sister Kali. Very few viewers liked the episode, but in a sense, it was a bonus, so it’s hard to complain about that.
There remains some question as to whether or not S4 will be the last. Obviously, Netflix would probably keep this cash cow running for as long as possible, but the creators, the Duffer Brothers, have always been clear that this was a finite story with a definite end. And the kids aren’t getting any younger. (Caleb McLaughlin who plays Lucas is 18! The youngest among them, Noah Schnapp/Will is 15.)
Now comes the question of the “origin story.” This kind of has to be about Hopper. ‘Stranger Things’ basically is the origin story for the kids. And Eleven’s past has been pretty well-defined. Joyce is essentially what she seems. She grew up in Hawkins and doesn’t appear to have ever left. But we know that Hopper, who also grew up in Hawkins, married and had a daughter, Sarah. After Sarah’s death, he got divorced and moved to “the big city” where he acted as a policeman.
That part of his past has only been alluded to vaguely, but the show’s creators have hinted there is some story to tell there, and that may come in S4.
At this point, it appears that Hopper is dead, but fans aren’t buying that. In the post-credits scene of S3, in a Russian gulag in Siberia, it is mentioned that there is a prisoner there, referred to as “The American,” which many hope is Hopper. The Russians also have a Demogorgon!
It was previously announced that filming of Season 4 would begin in January, but I don’t think it has, because Gaten Matarazzo just had major surgery last week. (He was born with a condition called cleidocranial dysplasia which affects his teeth and bones. This condition was written into ‘Stranger Things’ and given to his character, Dustin.) Filming was scheduled to run until August, which is an incredibly long period of time.
Check back for updates on ‘Stranger Things’ as we learn new details.