One week ahead of the long-awaited, highly anticipated fourth season of "Stranger Things," Netflix has released the first 8 minutes of Season 4, Episode 1.
The extended preview (which actually runs 8 minutes, 47 seconds) throws us right back into the heart of Hawkins, Indiana, by way of a flashback scene set six years prior to the events of Season 3. The clip promises a fateful, eerie and gripping return to form for the fan-favorite series.
"Stranger Things" Season 4 is nine episodes broken up into two volumes: The first batch — episodes 1-7 — will hit Netflix on May 27, and the remaining two episodes will drop July 1.
Netflix and series creators Matt and Ross Duffer (aka the Duffer brothers) are definitely making up for lost time with the two-part penultimate season. This season differs significantly from previous installments in overall length and episodic runtimes.
The new season is said to be "over 5 hours longer than any previous season," according to a press release. Additionally, the last three episodes clock in at 1 hour and 38 minutes, 1 hour and 25 minutes, and close to 2.5 hours, respectively.
Three of the first four episodes are at least 75 minutes long, per a New York Times profile of the Duffer brothers. For context, the longest episode runtime up until this point — for the Season 3 finale — has been 76 minutes.
The decision to split the season came earlier this year in a stylized announcement from the showrunners, who also revealed that the Netflix tentpole had been renewed for its fifth and final season.
"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for 'Stranger Things.' At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but — as you'll soon see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale," the Duffer brothers said at the time. "Season 4 will be the penultimate season; season 5 will be the last."
In less exciting news, the sci-fi hit suffered an unfortunate blow after images from an official "Stranger Things"-inspired Monopoly board game leaked and began making the rounds online. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Duffer brothers hadn't been consulted about the game and had a "total meltdown" upon learning that critical plot points had been spoiled.
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