Despite initial hopes that Stranger Things season four might have been working towards a Halloween or a Thanksgiving release date, we've known for quite some time that the supernatural series is going to be delayed.
Pictures from the set (after a lengthy suspension, for obvious reasons) and cast interviews have been keeping fans going, offering glimpses at the gang in action and titbits of information relating to what could be in store.
Promising that the season is going to be "really big", she also admitted: "I can't say a lot, except that it's going to be a while before it comes out, [but] it will definitely be worth it."
On the face of it, this was quite disappointing news for fans who had been holding out for new episodes (and answers to the questions left behind by that season three finale). Let's be real, we're all looking for the next comfort binge or distraction, and another visit to Hawkins and the neon lights of the Starcourt Mall would be most welcome right about now.
But if you dig a little deeper, there could actually be a silver lining to the show's delay. Bear with us.
Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy – who is also working on bringing the brand-new Netflix Original Dash & Lily to our screens – has very much confirmed that the release date is still to be decided. However, the shutdown of production and inevitable delays in shooting are actually working in season four's favour, according to him.
"I'll just say the pandemic definitely massively delayed shooting and therefore the launch of our current season four," he told Collider during a recent interview.
"But it impacted very positively by allowing the Duffer brothers, for the first time ever, to write the entire season before we shoot it and to have time to rewrite in a way that they rarely had before so the quality of these screenplays are exceptional, maybe better than ever."
Picture us intrigued.
It's more than fair to say that the Duffer brothers have done a sterling job when it comes to writing the twists and turns seen in Stranger Things thus far, breaking records for the streaming platform and creating one of the 21st century's biggest original shows.
So any hint at them upping their game for the impending fourth run is only going to raise that bar even further into that Mind Flayer-dominated sky. And we can't wait.
This was a sentiment shared by Natalia Dyer in that aforementioned interview with Vogue.
"Honestly, the scripts are great," she said. "I'm very excited. I'm excited for Nancy. Every time we end a season, we all think, 'Where is this going to go? Where can this possibly go?' Then we get the scripts for the next season and we're, like, 'Oh my god, wow, like, wow!'"
All this confirms something that Natalia had actually theorised, earlier in the year.
During an interview with Hollywood Reporter back in July, she had described the scheduling delays as being a "blessing" for the writers.
"Normally, we get the first few scripts, and then they have to keep writing due to the schedule of it. And it takes a while to craft a script. So, normally, there's a kind of 'writing as we're going,' but it seems they've had enough time," she told the publication. "I think it's maybe been a blessing for the writers, in some way, because they had the time to just sit down, think and create."
It appears that this additional creative time has also allowed for an extra episode to be added, stretching the season four story out even further. It had previously been reported that season four would feature eight episodes, following the same pattern as season one and season three, but now there's a ninth in the mix.
You know what that means? Even MORE Stranger Things.
With plenty of fan theories to pick apart and mull over until that day comes, at least we can be rest assured that a pretty epic new season is on the horizon – even if we do have to wait an age to watch it.
Stranger Things seasons 1-3 are now streaming on Netflix.
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