12 Stranger Things Clues We Discovered In The First Season 4 Trailer

More than two years have passed since Netflix released a new season of Stranger Things, and the wait has been especially painful in light of all the cliffhangers that wrapped Season 3. What's Hopper's situation? Will Eleven get her powers back? Would the Byers family ever come back to Hawkins? Is there still mystery in Hawkins? What will everybody who has been left behind do? Well, the answers to most of those questions probably won't come until the day Season 4 releases, but thanks to the first Season 4 trailer, we have some clues about what's in store.

Admittedly, the trailer teases more than it outright reveals, running for only 30 seconds, and more than half of it is comprised of footage from the first three seasons. Still, there's enough packed into those final ten seconds to break down into some clues – and yes, reveals – to ponder until Season 4 finally releases on Netflix.

stranger things season 4 teaser screenshot 2022

Season 4 Coming In 2022

The biggest and least ambiguous reveal to come out of the new footage is confirmation that Stranger Things will be back for Season 4 in 2022. The delay into next year isn't altogether surprising considering all the production delays over the past year, but still undoubtedly disappointing for those who were hoping that it could still make it into 2021. Now, it may be best to just hope that "2022" means closer to January than December next year!

stranger things season 4 teaser screenshot eleven bangs captured

Eleven Is Captured (And Has Bangs!)

After three seasons of more or less successfully evading the people hunting her, Eleven will evidently be captured. The men who have her are all suited up like government agents who have appeared in Stranger Things before, and the fact that they're able to hold her at all may indicate that she still doesn't have her powers. The background looks like this scene was one of those filmed in New Mexico, rather than Atlanta doubling as Hawkins like usual. Also, El has bangs! Joyce's influence, perhaps?

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The Groups Combine

Earlier seasons of Stranger Things had the young people pretty much split into the party of kids and the trio of high schoolers, although the characters began to mingle more as the seasons passed. The new footage shows Nancy, Steve, and Robin seemingly investigating a mystery along with Lucas, Dustin, and Max. I'm guessing the dusty building is in Hawkins, since these were all characters who stayed behind when the Byers family (including Eleven) left, but now that the "kids" are older, the groups may become more of one.

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Mike Is Nowhere To Be Found

Somebody is missing from that one larger group! Mike is nowhere to be found in any of the scenes featuring any of the characters who stayed behind in Hawkins, but he's also seemingly not with Eleven when she's captured, and I think it's very safe to say that he's not chilling out with Hopper in Russia. While he would normally seem like a surefire character to be in the thick of an investigation into a mystery, he's apparently missing this particular adventure.

stranger things season 4 teaser screenshot hopper flamethrower

Hopper Escapes (And Has A Flamethrower!)

The very first footage that Netflix released for Stranger Things Season 4 confirmed that Hopper survived his apparent death in the Season 3 finale and was captured by the Soviets. And in that footage, he had been put to work in the snow. In the new content, Hopper is sporting a coat different from the one in the previous teaser, carrying what seems to be a flamethrower, and looking like a rogue man on a mission rather than a supervised prisoner. It seems safe to say that Hopper escapes his captors, but that's still only the beginning of his problems.

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The Kids Are In High School

A new character is previewed in the footage, and she has to be Chrissy, who was announced back in June as Hawkins High's lead cheerleader and the most popular girl in school, but hiding a dark secret beneath her perfect exterior. That's admittedly not a whole lot to go on, but the shot of the cheerleaders also seemingly confirms that Season 4 will be taking place during the school year, like Seasons 1 and 2, rather than another summer adventure like Season 3.

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Steve Gets Wet

In a particularly perplexing and quick shot, the trailer shows Steve underwater with a flashlight. The flashlight is wrapped in a plastic bag, and Steve himself is shirtless, which suggests that Steve deliberately went into the water to do something or look for something, not that he fell in. What he's doing is a complete mystery, but the underwater terrain and growth at least indicate that he's not in a swimming pool. The water also looks pretty clear for any kind of pond or lake that would be in Indiana, so I find myself wondering if he could be in some kind of aquarium.

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Dungeons & Dragons Is Back

The party took a break from regular Dungeons & Dragons sessions in Season 3 while they had more pubescent things on their minds, but the game will clearly be back in Season 4, potentially with more monster names to apply to whatever might come out of the Upside Down this time around. It should be interesting to see who will be playing this season. Will moved away, and the rest of the group could potentially find more people of a like mind in high school to join up. Either way, the game is back!

stranger things season 4 teaser screenshot eleven shaved head hawkins lab

Eleven Flashbacks... Or Much Worse

The only other new footage of Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven other than her capture shows her sporting a familiar look: shaved head and scared expression. The look combined with a previous teaser featuring Dr. Brenner may mean that Stranger Things is delivering some good old-fashioned Eleven flashbacks. That said, considering how much Brown has grown over the years and probably can't believably play Season 1 El anymore, I find myself wondering if something worse has happened to poor Eleven. Did her capture (shown in the previous scene) result in her being taken back to a lab and her head shaved again, perhaps to try and spark her powers back?

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A New Party In Hawkins?

The image of four kids on bikes with lights shining off of the front as the "party" has become iconic to Stranger Things, but the four who appear lined up in the trailer aren't the usual assortment of Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Will. Instead, the party of riders consists of Max, Dustin, Lucas, and Erica. This again raises the question of where Mike is, since he should still be local, as well as how incorporated Erica will be into the action.

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The Byers Family Is MIA From The Footage

There are several flashes in the new footage that are hard to decipher at all, including the shot of somebody on the scene of a burning car wreck. While I definitely wonder who that is and what's happening, all the mystery really makes me want to know what's happening with the Byers. All three of them are missing, unless that silhouette is Will or Jonathan with a new haircut. All three of them being missing together makes sense since they all left together, but Eleven left with them, and she turned up.

stranger things season 4 teaser screenshot grandfather clock

A Clock Will Appear (A.K.A. There's A Lot We Don't Know)

At the end of the day, we can't do a whole lot more than educated speculation about what's going to happen in Stranger Things Season 4. And some bits of the trailer – like this very cool but also inexplicable clock – just don't make any sense without any context. If anything, I feel like the clock looks like it belongs in the house on Neibolt Street over in Finn Wolfhard's other high-profile horror project, and I'm guessing it's in the dusty building the Hawkins group is investigating elsewhere in the trailer, but that's about it.

For now, we can just hope that Stranger Things will continue to release trailers and little details about Season 4. I for one am crossing my fingers that the show will be back relatively early in 2022. Seasons are usually timed to a holiday, with the first taking place close to Christmas, the second taking place around Halloween, and the third on the 4th of July.

Call me crazy, but I'd be thrilled to celebrate New Year's by sitting down to binge-watch Season 4 as soon as the ball drops on January 1, 2022, but that might be a little too optimistic. For now, fans can just watch and rewatch the first three seasons streaming on Netflix now, and check out our fall TV premiere schedule for some viewing options as the wait for more Stranger Things continues.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).