Cast your mind back to the summer, and you’ll probably remember an intense heatwave and the release of Stranger Things season 3. If you’re one of the 40.7 million Netflix streamers who watched the series over its opening weekend, you’ll have some idea of the phenomenon set in motion.
While the show left on a decisive note and the gang parted ways in an emotional finale, there’s no shortage of fans who want to see the residents of Hawkins, Indiana (some of whom have had other projects in the meantime) reunite. Today, it was announced that the Duffer brothers have struck a multi-year film and series overall deal with Netflix, meaning both a renewal of the series and, given the ‘film’ and ‘overall’ implications of the deal, possible feature-length material.
The @Stranger_Things Twitter yesterday alluded to the announcement, posting a clock and an upside-down smiley. This of course refers to The Upside Down, a supernatural alternate universe that forms the centre of the series and the characters’ disturbing experiences
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) September 29, 2019
Leading on from the cryptic Tweet, the news was officially announced via the series’ YouTube channel. I don’t know how they managed it, but the video with the Stranger Things logo embedded with a number 4 is somehow the eeriest thing I’ve seen all year. The image fragments throughout the video as if running into interference, with a ghostly, photographic negative or X-ray-version of the logo crackling on top.
The screen shortly turns black, and then returns in a wood which resembles the outskirts of Hawkins where we last saw Barb in season 1 (#JusticeForBarb). Light slowly drains out of the logo and the screen turns black once more, as the words “We’re not in Hawkins anymore” appear to the sound of church bells, a la the Westminster Chimes. We’re far from home, and it’s truly haunting.
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, said in a statement:
“The Duffer Brothers have captivated viewers around the world with Stranger Things and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with them to bring their vivid imaginations to other film and series projects our members will love. We can’t wait to see what The Duffer Brothers have in store when they step outside the world of The Upside Down.”
The Duffer brothers responded with equal enthusiasm:
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our relationship with Netflix. Ted Sarandos, Cindy Holland, Brian Wright, and Matt Thunell took a huge chance on us and our show — and forever changed our lives. From our first pitch meeting to the release of Stranger Things 3, the entire team at Netflix has been nothing short of sensational, providing us with the kind of support, guidance, and creative freedom we always dreamed about. We can’t wait to tell many more stories together — beginning, of course, with a return trip to Hawkins!”
This announcement takes us back to the first season more than any subsequent marketing tricks have. It’s good ol’ fashioned horror and I think it would really suit a Halloween release: reeling the series back in to reflect its origins makes it much more compelling to watch. After all, the Duffer brothers have gone to lengths to ensure the authenticity of the series by cramming it full of 80s and 90s sci-fi references, so there’s no doubt the next season will be as thoughtfully executed and gripping as the last.