The first three seasons of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” take place over almost exactly two years, going from 1983 to 1985. While the younger kids on the show start out in seventh grade, by the time season three ends they should be in high school.
Now a new press release about “Stranger Things 4” tells us that the new episodes will kick off six months after the Battle of Starcourt.
Keep reading for a look at the timeline of major events starting with the pilot episode of “Stranger Things.”
November 6, 1983: Eleven opens the Gate and Will Byers disappears.
The first season of “Stranger Things” kicks off on November 6, 1983. Eleven accidentally opens the Gate and lets the Demogorgon into Hawkins, Indiana, and Will Byers goes missing when he is pulled into the Upside Down.
Over the next week or so, Will’s mom Joyce and his friends frantically search for him. After Will is found, the season one finale jumps forward to mid-December, 1983, and shows Will still struggling with his connection to the Upside Down.
June 28, 1984: The Russian government tests its Gate-opening machine and fails.
The third season of “Stranger Things” starts off with a scene in Russia. This sequence happened in the summer of 1984 — it was a flashback to what was happening before the events in season two.
This machine test fails, but we know the team of scientists continued working on their secret project and moved to Hawkins to set up a new laboratory while all the events of “Stranger Things” season two were taking place.
October 28, 1984: Will visits the Hawkins National Lab for tests as the main events of season two begin.
In the first episode of season two, Halloween is just around the corner in the fall of 1984 and the main kid-characters are in eighth grade. Eleven is secretly living with Hopper, and her long-lost “sister” Kali (008) is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when the second season begins.
About a week or so passes before Eleven saves Hawkins once again by closing the Gate inside Hawkins National Lab.
Then the show jumps ahead a month to the iconic Snow Ball at Hawkins Middles School for the final scene of season two.
Dr. Owens (the man who was running Hawkins National Lab throughout season two) had told Hopper to keep Eleven laying low for a year or so, but we see that commitment starting to falter when the next season starts and only about seven months have passed.
June 28, 1985: Season three begins with antics at the mall and an important power failure.
Season three jumps from the failed Russian test in 1984 to exactly one year later in the summer of 1985.
By now Mike, Will, Lucas, Dustin, and Max have all graduated from middle school and are about to start their freshman year at Hawkins High. (You can see a breakdown of how old the stars of “Stranger Things” are compared to their characters here).
Sometime after Eleven closed the Gate at the Hawkins National Lab, a faction of the Russian government purchased a bunch of land in the area and built a secret underground bunker. As we see in season three, they were able to successfully use their new machine to reopen the Gate and it causes a massive power failure in Hawkins.
Season three becomes a new horror-filled adventure over the course of a few days as Eleven and her friends have to fight the Mind Flayer and once again figure out how to close the Gate. In order to close the Gate this time, Hopper winds up sacrificing himself.
Or so it seems.
October 1985: The closing minutes of ‘Stranger Things 3’ happen as the teens all say their goodbyes.
When the show jumps forwards another three months, to October 1985, Eleven and Joyce are mourning Hopper’s death. But as Insider had guessed back in 2019, Hopper didn’t actually die.
In the final moments of season three, we simply see the Byers and Eleven saying goodbye to Hawkins as they move across the country. The kids promise to make plans to visit, mentioning that Thanksgiving or Christmas might be the next time they see one another.
January 1986: The beginning of ‘Stranger Things 4’ will jump ahead as the kids are all trying to get through freshman year of high school.
The new synopsis released by Netflix says season four (which they stylize as “Stranger Things 4”) jumps ahead in time to 1986.
“It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins,” the synopsis said. “Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier.”
The Battle of Starcourt happened in the third season’s finale, which would have been right around the July 4, 1985.
So a six-month time jump puts us in January 1986, with all the younger “Stranger Things” teenagers still freshman in high school.