Netflix’s latest promo for Stranger Things 4 is the show’s best ever. From a terrifying new monster and a creepy old house, to Upside Down bats and a coming war between worlds, it’s basically a Stefon sketch. The new Stranger Things 4 trailer has everything. But a few moments stand out as the most intriguing, most shocking, and most revealing. The trailer leaves us with many questions about the future of Stranger Things, but it also reveals a lot. These are the five biggest takeaways from Stranger Things 4‘s latest and greatest trailer.
1. Stranger Things 4‘s New Nightmare Monster and a War Between Worlds
Stranger Things 3 had plenty of nods to the ’80s horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. But season four will have Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. Englund is playing the older version of Mr. Creel, a man locked up in a psychiatric ward ever since a horrific event happened at his house. That home is where a creepy grandfather clock still resides. It’s also where a lot of this trailer takes place, showing just how important Creel and his former house will be this season.
This trailer also provides our first look at Englund in the role, and it’s not a pretty one. He’s seen with his eyes scarred and crusted over, a true visage of terror. And yet, this promo points towards an even bigger role for the actor. Englund might also be playing (or at least voicing) the Upside Down’s newest monster. In the Stranger Things 4 trailer, this twisted leader of the dark parallel world promises to defeat the real world for good.
It’s not just that human-shaped monster’s voice that makes us think it’s Englund, though. The trailer opens in a smoldering factory just on the other side of a crack between the two worlds. And it looks just like Freddy’s nightmare realm. Does that mean Hawkins residents will enter the Upside Down via their dreams, or just that Stranger Things is using A Nightmare on Elm Street motif as one of its best ’80s tributes yet? That remains to be seen. But for a show built on love and adoration for that decade’s pop culture, there’s no more fitting star to make the new face of your own nightmare monster than Robert Englund.
2. Max’s New Abilities Flip Her World Upside Down
Despite their best efforts, life has been anything but normal for those who survived The Battle of Starcourt Mall. That seems especially true of the grief-stricken Max. She begins this trailer reading a sad letter at the grave of her deceased brother Billy, who sacrificed himself to save Max and her friends in Stranger Things 3‘s season finale.
But Max’s woes quickly take a back seat to new problems as she becomes the focus of major moments in the trailer. First, she spots the Creel House clock stuck in a wall at her school. Definitely not a good sign for her or her friends. Later in the Stranger Things 4 trailer, Max levitates over Billy’s grave as Steve, Dustin, and Lucas look on in shock. On a show that began with a secret government lab experimenting with super-powered children, we shouldn’t be stunned another child has seemingly unlocked incredible abilities. But the fact it’s Max is worrisome because they might not be her own.
The Mind Flayer embedded part of itself inside Billy’s mind and body. Is it possible some sort of supernatural connection exists between the late Billy and his step-sister? Is he speaking through her, or imbuing his powers into her, from beyond the grave? Or did the Mind Flayer imprint itself inside Max during the chaos of season three?
Whatever or whomever is responsible for Max’s powers, those abilities might be what brings her face-t0-face with the Upside Down’s general. This trailer shows Max pulled into the dark dimension (you can tell her it’s her thanks to her shirt, the same she wears at Billy’s grave), much like Eleven has been pulled into other dimensions in the past. Max flees, but if she’s intrinsically connected to that parallel world there might be no place for her to run. We can’t wait to learn more about Max’s Stranger Things 4 powers and what they might mean for her and the rest of the gang.
3. The Government Needs Eleven and Her Powers Once Again
Eleven exhausted all her powers fighting in Stranger Things season three and her move to sunny California with the Byers family didn’t bring them back. But the government needs her to unlock them again. Paul Reiser’s Dr. Sam Owens is back and he needs Eleven to fight the coming war with the Upside Down.
Unlike the cruel, uncaring Dr. Brenner who used and abused Eleven and her powers, Dr. Owns has credibility. He protected the people of Hawkins in season two. He also helped Hopper adopt Eleven. And this trailer reveals he made the Byers’ move cross country possible.
But clearly, no amount of space will keep them or their friends safe. He needs Eleven and her awesome powers back, and it seems as though he’ll use some old techniques to help unleash them, which he will. We see her with a shaved head (not just in the flashback) throwing soldiers off of her with her abilities as she screams.
Whether or not Dr. Owens’s actions will prove entirely defensible or not, Eleven seems poised for battle once more. And that might be the only thing that saves the people she cares about.
4. A Long Group Journey Through the Upside Down Awaits Us in Stranger Things 4
Will spent almost all of season one hiding inside the Upside Down. Other characters, like Hopper, Joyce, and Nancy, have also traveled into that sinister world of decay and tangled vines through Stranger Things‘ first three seasons. But until this trailer never have so many entered that dimension together and with such bravado. The clan of Hawkins kids will not accidentally stumble into the world of the Demogorgon, either. They will go there willingly and with a plan.
In the Stranger Things 4 trailer, Steve tells Nancy he’ll see her “on the other side” right before a shot of the kids riding their bikes through the Upside Down. This trailer suggests they’ll get there via a portal at Creel House. Why they’re so eager to fight this battle on the monsters’ turf, which now includes giant bats, remains to be seen. But we know what we’ll hear when we get there: shredding. It looks as though the group’s new Dungeon Master, first seen behind an advanced D&D book, also appears in the Upside Down playing the living Demogorgon out of his guitar.
That seems absolutely absurd, but it’s way more fun than a funeral dirge. And that’s exactly what we might hear at some point. That group that enters the Upside Down throughout so much of this trailer is also spotted holding a fallen friend in the real world. Clearly, this war will have casualties.
5. Will Stranger Things 4 Involve Time Travel?
We’ve long suspected Stranger Things 4 will introduce time travel to a series that has previously featured numerous Back to the Future and Terminator Easter eggs. Now with the introduction of a big clock to the story, it’s hard not to think about that classic pop culture trope. And this trailer only furthered our belief Hawkins is about to open a portal through time.
In 1959, a mass murder left Creel House abandoned. Clearly whatever happened then is a major factor in what is happening now. Meanwhile, previous promotional work for the series hinted at the past playing a role in the present. Now, this trailer features a flashback to a younger Eleven when she was first learning how to harness her powers at Hawkins lab. And there’s also a weird connection between Billy and her brother.
Combined with the Upside Down monster general talking about how “the time has come,” the show has left a trail of crumbs pointing to the introduction of time travel to Stranger Things. And that might be the only way to win this war. The best way to stop the Upside Down might be to go back and never open up a door to that world in the first place.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.