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A stranger, darker 'Stranger Things': The cast on growing up and Season 4

By Camille Santiago Published May 18, 2022 4:44 pm Updated May 18, 2022 4:47 pm

Tears were shed, goodbyes were exchanged, and groups were split. After that cliffhanger finale of Stranger Things, everyone is wondering what's next for the residents of Hawkins.

After filming was suspended due to COVID-19 and almost three years of wait, the sci-fi Netflix show is back for another season with volume one to premiere on May 27, and volume two on July 1. 

“COVID was a weird time when we had to shut down, ‘cause I really didn’t know when we ultimately had to be able to get back to work,” Sadie Sink shared during the virtual press conference hosted by Netflix.

Natalia Dyer, who plays the role of Nancy, recalled the first few days back on set as “different” as many of them were still adjusting to the new normal. But all in all, the cast was happy to be back and “keep going with the story that we are trying to tell.”

Joe Keery (Steve), Maya Hawke (Robin), Sadie Sink (Max), and Gaten Matrazzo (Dustin)

Growing up with peers

Throughout the series, we followed the stories of Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) and her peers at Hawkins, including Max (Sadie Sink), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sink), Dustin (Gaten Matrazzo), Steve (Joe Keery), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Nancy (Dyer), Robin (Maya Hawke), Erica (Priah Ferguson), and Eddie (Joseph Quinn).

When asked what it’s like to grow up in front of the camera, the younger ones in the cast said it’s “wild” and “cool” at the same time.

One of the older cast members, Heaton, said that having someone your age go through the same thing as you do “helps” in the process.

“We all came on the show together around the same age. So just working with your peers and kind of we all gone through this crazy trajectory together throughout every season. Having someone your own age where you’re kinda going through the same thing and understanding it really helps. And the characters, where they have grown as well, has been pretty impactful,” Heaton said.

He even recalled that time when he cried seeing his on-screen brother, Schnapp, on the monitor doing his scene.

“I was watching you on the monitor because we were shooting later, I think I cried watching it,” he revealed.

Priah Ferguson (Erica), Gaten Matrazzo (Dustin), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas)

The most terrifying season yet

In the latest season, we see the gang—now as high schoolers—struggle as they get separated for the first time after that intense battle at the Starcourt Mall.

“It is also a transitional time for us, now that we are dealing with struggling with a regular thing like fitting in in a new social climate, but also we are trying to cope with everything that has gone on in the past six months,” said Matarazzo.

He adds that it's "really cool to see how that unfolds through classic Stranger Things storytelling dialogue" now that the whole town knows about the alternate dimension that is the Upside Down world.

But one thing’s for sure, season 4 is “a lot darker” compared to the previous seasons, with more otherworldly encounters happening.

“I think the parting line is that it is darker, but I think it is also so much bigger in terms of the relationships and the dynamics that I’ve gotten to see in the episodes and there was so many storylines and so many interconnected details and it just feels like the scope is huge,” says Hawke.

Schnapp confirmed this, too, sharing that some parts of season 4 “terrified” him.

“When we do this press [conference], I always say it is so much darker, it is so much bigger and it is just the classic thing we say with Stranger Things, but this season, when I was watching it, I was terrified for some of the parts. So it is definitely darker and scarier.”

Joseph Quinn (Eddie), Noah Schnapp (Will), Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan)

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume I airs on May 24 on Netflix.

Watch the trailer below: