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The big picture: Netflix recently shared a collection of photos from the upcoming season of Stranger Things depicting a decidedly more mature cast and a darker overall feel. It sets the stage for an interesting pivot as the series prepares for its final season in the near future.
When Stranger Things premiered on Netflix nearly six years ago, most of the core cast members were still kids. Fittingly, the show had more of a Goosebumps horror feel. "They're not kids anymore — they really are full-blown teenagers," co-creator Matt Duffer told Netflix Queue in a recent interview.
This presented the Duffer brothers with a unique opportunity to lean even heavier into the horror genre. "We figured they should be in their own [version] of A Nightmare on Elm Street basically."
It's a fitting comparison considering Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, has a recurring role in Stranger Things 4.
The idea is also interesting from an Easter egg standpoint. We already know Ghostbusters lives in the Stranger Things universe, so why couldn't A Nightmare on Elm Street also exist? The real-world timing works as the first couple of movies in the series were out by the time season four's spring 1986 setting happens. With Englund as a cast member, it'd be neat to see a reference to his iconic character, even if only subtly.
Stranger Things 4 is being split into two volumes. The first is set to arrive on May 27, followed by volume two five weeks later on July 1. In the meantime, you can catch up on - or revisit - past seasons on Netflix and check out the four trailers for season four over on YouTube.