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Stranger Things season 4 volumes 1 & 2: How to watch and catch-up

, US contributing editor · ·
Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data; projecting how events might unfold based on past events or how products and services compare against each other.

(Pocket-lint) - Stranger Things are still happening. The fourth season of Netflix's hit sci-fi series is now out, having arrived in two doses with the first seven episodes hitting the streaming platform first, followed by the final two a few weeks later.

You can now watch the whole season for yourself, after the release of the final two feature-length episodes.

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You can watch the new season of Stranger Things or catch up on all the older seasons via Netflix. It is a Netflix Original title, after all.

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While the release of teaser trailers throughout 2021 had made fans hope that the season would arrive early in the year, there was a little bit of a wait. But Stranger Things 4 is now here in its entirety.

The fourth season was released in two parts: The first section, Volume 1, arrived on 27 May 2022; the second lot, Volume 2, appeared on1 July 2022.

Season four's Volume 1 consists of seven episodes. Volume 2 is just two episodes, but they're up to two and a half hours long. In fact, all of the last three episodes are basically as long as a feature-length film.

Apart from the teasers that you can dig into further down this page, Netflix has released official trailers.

Season four's full trailer, which you can see below, shows a series of clips and sequences that hint toward a more action-oriented series. The horror seems to be ramped up a notch too, with a reveal of what looks like the main monster at the end.

The trailer for the final two episodes of Season 4 shows that things are going to get explosive and action-packed as our cast teams up to stave off the threat posed by Vecna.

In a letter to fans, which you can see included in the tweet above, the Duffer Brothers revealed the show's fourth season marks "the beginning of the end" of the series.

"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for 'Stranger Things,'" they wrote. "It proved too large to tell in four (seasons) - but, as you'll soon see for yourselves - we are now hurtling toward our finale. Season four will be the penultimate season; season five will be the last."

The fourth season of Stranger Things sees Matt and Ross Duffer back as writers and directors. The pair are responsible for the previous three seasons of Stranger Things. In addition to the Duffer brothers, all of the main characters from the first three seasons of Stranger Things return.

There are also some new characters arriving this season, here's a rundown:

Here's are the key details that we were able to piece together ahead of season four:

The ending of season three saw David Harbour's Hopper sacrifice himself to close the portal to the Upside Down beneath the town of Hawkins, but a post-credit scene left hope that Hopper is still alive. We see a prison in Russia that contains an unseen person, who Russian guards refer to as "the American", before feeding a different prisoner to a Demogorgon. Everyone hoped that American is Hopper, who entered the Upside Down dimension to avoid dying.

Well, we found out he is the American in question, thanks to a teaser trailer for season four, which is called "From Russia With Love" (embedded above). We can also guess that Hopper's time as a prisoner will be featured heavily in the next season, thanks to the casting of a Russian guard and a Russian smuggler for the new season.

Another teaser for season four, called "Eleven, are you Listening" - also embedded above - showed the return of one of the series' first villains: Mathew Modine's Dr Martin Brenner. He's seen walking into the Rainbow room to a group of children who call him Papa. The teaser seems to be a flashback to Brenner's time raising Eleven in captivity alongside other gifted children. The last time we saw Brenner alive was when he was face to face with the Demogorgon in season one.

That encounter left us assuming he's dead. In the second season, Eleven meets up with Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) - another child with powers who was kept at the Hawkins facility by Brenner - who is out for vengeance. Together, they track down another former employee from the facility who reveals Brenner is alive.

The first three seasons of Stranger Things were set entirely in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, but the upcoming season is set to see the story expand outside of the small-town setting. We know that part of season four will take place in Russia - where Hopper is being held by Russian forces. New casting information also confirms the Russian setting, with Tom Wlaschiha playing a Russian guard named Dmitri and Nikola Duricko playing a smuggler named Yuri.

In addition to the Russian setting, the conclusion of season three saw Joyce Byers (Wynona Ryder) adopt Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and move out of Hawkins with her son Will (Noah Schnapp). We didn't know where until the November 2021 trailer dropped, showing off a Californian setting, further removing the season from Hawkins. "We're not in Hawkins anymore", from the first trailer, was certainly no lie.

Stranger Things loves paying homage to the 80s films that inspire it, and it seems to be doing that again - with the casting of Robert Englund, who was famous for starring in The Nightmare on Elm Street films as the disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger.

Englund will play Victor Creel, a man who's been imprisoned in a mental institution for a violent murder that happened in the 1950s. The late September 2021 trailer, "The Creel House", presents that past - and how it intersects time with our favourite cast members of the present day. This could be a significant part of the setting outside of Hawkins.

The first three seasons of Stranger Things were a year apart. Season one was set in 1983, season two in 1984, and season three in 1985. Following that, it'd make sense for season four to take place in 1986, but based on all the chatter about "the best Spring Break ever" in the California trailer, we get the feeling that the timeline has shifted a little further forward.

This makes sense, of course, as some of the actors - who were children when the series began - are a little older now, which shows on screen. Still, don't expect it to jump too far ahead; the nostalgic 80s vibe is a huge part of the show's success. 

An interesting note about the Stranger Things teasers posted above is the way that they're numbered. You'll notice the description in the YouTube link for the first teaser, From Russia with Love, has 001/004 in the description for the video. The second teaser similarly has 002/004, and so on. 

Check out our other rumour roundups on upcoming shows and movies:

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Rik Henderson.