Yesterday, Stranger Things surprised fans on social media with a picture from the set that confirmed season 4’s production has finally returned from its COVID-imposed hiatus. The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic caused many anticipated productions to shut-down at the beginning of the year, with some slowly returning to socially distanced sets in the recent months. Stranger Things, which films in Atlanta, was one notable production yet to announce a return to set, until yesterday’s unexpected announcement.
meanwhile in the upside down… pic.twitter.com/BtPlMjy0pS
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) October 1, 2020
2020 kicked off with a February teaser trailer from Netflix’s sci-fi hit that brought audiences to Russia to reveal that Sheriff Jim Hopper had survived the events of season 3’s finale. In March, a month after the teaser, the Stranger Things cast and crew descended on Atlanta to begin work on the show’s fourth season. March 3 saw the cast’s first table read but, just 10 days later, production came to an abrupt halt on March 13 due to the pandemic.
The unexpected hiatus left the show’s creative team with an unprecedented amount of time to dedicate to the story. The writers spent their quarantine completing the entirety of the fourth season’s scripts, adding a ninth episode to the line-up, via Twitter. Matt and Ross Duffer (Stranger Things, Wayward Pines), the show’s creators, used their time to gain clarity on the series’ overarching story, telling The Hollywood Reporter that “[the pandemic] has given us time to look ahead, figure out what is best for the show.” In that same interview, the Duffer brothers implied that season 4 won’t be the show’s last, stating “we know what the end is, and we know when it is” (The Hollywood Reporter).
— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) June 18, 2020
The cast has kept equally busy during their unexpected time away from their fictional home of Hawkins, Indiana. In New Jersey, Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things, Les Misérables: The Broadway Musical) took on a summer job as a food runner with his family. David Harbour (Stranger Things, Hellboy) tied the knot with musician Lily Allen in a small Las Vegas ceremony, officiated by Elvis. Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Enola Homes) and Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things) saw the releases of their films Enola Holmes and Yes, God, Yes, respectively.
View this post on Instagram
In a wedding officiated by the king himself, the people’s princess wed her devoted, low born, but kind credit card holder in a beautiful ceremony lit by the ashen skies courtesy of a burning state miles away in the midst of a global pandemic. Refreshments were served at a small reception following.
Presumably both cast and crew are now reunited in Atlanta, however the photo shared by the show’s official Instagram is the only behind-the-scenes insight fans have been granted thus far. The cast has been a united front with Matarazzo, Brown, Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things) and Cara Buono (Stranger Things, Mad Men) all re-posting the same photo and caption “meanwhile, in the upside down”, via Instagram. Mike Wheeler actor, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, IT), reposted the photo to his Instagram as well, playfully moving the word “meanwhile” to the end, toying with the fans looking for further information.
However small it may seem, a simple photo of a clapboard and a grandfather clock provided more than enough fodder to awaken theories from the dormant Stranger Things fanbase. According to Screen Rant, when season four was first announced in 2019, the emojis of a clock and upside-down smiley face were used on the show’s social media. “In addition to this, the show’s Instagram and Twitter accounts were changed their profile pictures and bios,” Screen Rant continued “both accounts displayed the image of a clock that’s seconds away from striking 12 and the aforementioned emojis.” This continued association between a clock and the Upside Down, one that has once again emerged in this teaser from the set, implies a manipulation of time may become a part of season 4’s plot.
— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) October 2, 2020
Stranger Writers, the official Twitter account for the Stranger Things‘ writer’s room, dropped additional photos not seen on the accounts of the other cast and crew. The first tweet is a framed photo of Matarazzo’s character, Dustin Henderson, likely from the set of of the Henderson household. The second tweet the writer’s shared also appeared to be from the show’s set, but leads to a bit more speculation in terms of plot. A hand-drawn flyer for a Tigers pep rally can be seen taped to, what appears to be, a gym wall, via Twitter. This is notable because Eleven and her friends have attended Hawkins’ Middle School throughout the course of the show’s first three seasons, who’s mascot is the cubs. A tigers flyer may imply that this core friend group has now reached the fall of their first high school year, as Hawkins’ High School’s mascot is the tigers.
— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) October 1, 2020
Originally, season four of Stranger Things was slated to air at the end of 2020, but Screen Rant estimates the COVID delays will push the release back to late 2021 or even early 2022. Yesterday’s confirmation from the show’s social media accounts gave viewers hope, because stranger things are once again under way in Atlanta.
Image Credit: Raymond Flotat