Stranger Things is running up that hill to the second half of its fourth season. With Vol. 1 of Netflix’s blockbusters series still burning up streaming charts since its May 27 premiere, fans are steeling themselves for an epic showdown between the Hawkins Hellfire Club and the Upside Down’s resident master of evil, Vecna. And a just-released trailer for Vol. 2 — coming July 1 — warns viewers to expect some casualties of this looming war. (Watch the trailer above.)
Leave it to a doctor to deliver an honest diagnosis. Early on in the two-minute teaser, Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), clearly lays out the stakes for his star pupil, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). “I’m not going to lie to you: your friends are not prepared for this fight,” he says, gravely. “Hawkins will fall.”
But that’s not going to stop the young superhero from being there if and when the fall happens — especially now that her previously-obscured memories of Vecna’s origins are fully restored. “My friends need me,” she responds.
Ain’t that the truth. At the end of Vol. 1, Eleven’s friends were scattered between Indiana and the West Coast as Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) are trying to find a way to free her, while Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Steve (Joe Keery) and Robin (Maya Hawke) are holding down the fort in Hawkins.
A reunion is presumably in the works as Vecna’s master plan unfolds, although even their combined forces may not be enough. “It might not work out for us this time,” Robin tells Steve, who now has even more reason to try and romantically reconnect with his ex, Nancy. Meanwhile, over in the Russian tundra, the dynamic duo of Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Murray (Brett Gelman) are in the middle of Operation Rescue Hopper, with David Harbour’s ex-police chief battling Soviet soldiers and a demonic Demogorgon.