Stranger Things is a hit Netflix series that captured the audience’s hearts from the moment it premiered in 2016. Since then, we have had three seasons of pure fun led by Eleven, Mike, and the crew, and now, we’ve finally got a reveal of the date when Season 4 will be released. We also know the timeline will get a certain jump – so, when does Stranger Things take place?
Season 1 spans over one week in 1983 (plus a few days a month later). Season 2 then jumps about a year into 1984, whereas Season 3 happens in the summer of 1985. As it turns out, Season 4 will jump into 1986, six months after the last scenes of Season 3.
Also, we learn that Season 4 will be split into two halves, while Season 5 after that will finish the series altogether. Keep reading if you want a detailed explanation of the Stranger Things timeline, time jumps, and order of events.
Events Before Stranger Things Season 1
So, the show’s Season 1 begins on November 6, 1983. However, throughout the series, we get flashbacks or conversations about events preceding the events from the show. We learn that Hawkins – the town where Stranger Things takes place – was founded somewhere in the mid-to-late 1800s.
It’s a quiet, peaceful town. In Season 1: Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street, we learn that the last person reported missing in Hawkins disappeared in 1923 – 60 years before Will Byers went missing in 1983.
The MKUltra Project and its experiments began in 1953, while in 1971, Terry Ives participated in the experiments, not knowing she was pregnant at the time. She gave birth to Eleven – formerly named Jane – who was instantly taken by Dr. Martin Brenner, the leading scientist conducting the experiments.
It’s the same year when the rest of our beloved team was born (Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Will).
Somewhere in the early 1980s (before 1983), Eleven shows that the experiments worked. She can destroy a Coke can with her mind, transmit sounds from another room to speakers, and even kill two guards with her powers (we see it as a flashback in Season 1: Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly.”
That’s when we approach the regular Season 1 timeline.
Stranger Things Season 1 Timeline
On Sunday, November 6, Will Byers goes missing – the first missing person case in Hawkins after 60 years. Eleven was put inside a sensory deprivation tank to make contact with the “monster,” which inadvertently opens the gate to the Upside Down and lets the monster enter Hawkins. We learn later that it’s a Demogorgon who escaped the labs – and so did Eleven.
We also learn later that Will was abducted by the monster and taken into the Upside Down after the experiment at Hawkins National Lab went wrong. A day later, the group finds Eleven, and Mike hides her in his basement.
Throughout the next week, many events transpire, including Will’s mother, Joyce, finding a way to communicate with Will through Christmas lights, Nancy entering the Upside Down in search of Will, Eleven, and Hopper following her there to rescue him, etc.
The last scenes we see are Eleven arriving back at Mike’s house, but upon realizing there are agents looking for her, she runs into the woods and hides there.
Stranger Things Season 2 Timeline
A month later, on December 12, 1983, Mike started trying to contact Eleven with his radio. He did so for almost a year after that. In the meantime, we get to see what happened to Eleven after she escaped into the woods.
She was out in the cold, living by herself, knocking out hunters to steal their coats. Hopper starts leaving food out for her after becoming suspicious and eventually gets Eleven to live with him after spending almost a month in the woods alone. However, Hop keeps El from contacting her friends just to keep everybody safe.
It lasted for about a year, which is where we kick things off in Season 2 – around October 29, 1984, prepping for Halloween. Before that, we see a flashback to June 28, 1984, where we see the Russians trying to open the Gate to The Upside Down but fail to do so.
We learn that October 30 is the 352nd day that Mike tried contacting El via radio. It’s also a day where Will feels his connection with The Upside Down growing immensely.
Throughout the next month and a half, many things happened; Dustin found a weird, small creature, named him D’Artagnan, and took him in as a pet. Meanwhile, Eleven broke loose of Hopper and found people from her past, exploring her powers and existence in general.
It all ends on December 15th, 1984, after Eleven summons the strength to close the Gate. She legally becomes Jane Hopper, Hop’s daughter, and attends the Snow Ball school dance with the other members of the group. While they dance, the Mind Flayer, still alive in The Upside Down, looms over the school.
Stranger Things Season 3 Timeline
Season 3 takes us six months ahead, to the summer of 1985. Starcourt Mall is opening in Hawkins, which we later learn hides an underground Soviet experimental facility, yet again looking to perfect the Key and open the Gate. A similar facility exists in Russia, which will prove important by the end of the season.
On June 28, 1985, we see Hop being a dad, separating El and Mike after seeing them kiss. A day later, Dustin comes back from a month of being at Camp Know Where, where he claims he found a girlfriend. The group doesn’t believe him, so they set up Cerebro to try and contact her. However, instead of reaching Suzie, his girlfriend, Dustin intercepts a Soviet transmission.
Throughout the next week, the kids, Joyce, Hopper, and others work to close the Soviet facility and finally end the experiments in Hawkins. The entire thing ends with the Mind Flayer being killed by an explosion that seemingly disintegrated Hopper, too.
In October 1985, we learn that Eleven began living with the Byers family, who are packing up and moving out of Hawkins.
The post-credit scene lets us know about the facility in Russia that feeds prisoners to a Demogorgon. They also hold the “American” as a prisoner, and though we don’t learn about his identity, it’s clear that Hopper is there, getting sucked to the other side after the machine exploded and made us think he died.
We didn’t get the exact date when this scene happened, either, but we know it’s after the events transpiring in Starcourt Mall and the Soviet Lab. It’s heartbreaking that Eleven, Joyce, and others mourn Hopper, not knowing he’s actually still alive.
Stranger Things Season 4 Timeline
Season 4 isn’t out yet but will be very soon, with the first batch of episodes announced for May 27, 2022. While we can’t speak of the entire timeline of the season just yet, we know certain plot points. The plot will begin in 1985, around springtime, which means we’ll see a six-month jump between the seasons.
The group will deal with being separated for the first time, and, as a new threat emerges, they need to deal with new difficulties of being in high school. In the meantime, we get confirmation that Hopper is indeed in a Russian facility. However, the details of him getting there aren’t disclosed just yet.
Some additional rumors and leaks revolving around the plot have surfaced lately. Still, none have been officially confirmed, so I’ll stick to what we know for certain, and that’s the official synopsis released by the creators, the Duffer Brothers. Here’s what the synopsis for Season 4 said:
“We’re excited to officially announce that production for Stranger Things 4 is now underway—and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper! Although it’s not all good news for our “American”; [Hopper] is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, Russia, where he will face dangers both human… and other. Meanwhile, back in the States, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long-buried, something that connects everything…”
“It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. 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. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.”
There you have it – the season’s plot is taking place around the spring of 1985, and if we look at the previous seasons, it will likely span over a small amount of time – from one week to a few months. I can’t wait to watch the show, especially now that we know that Season 5 will happen, too, and be the last season of Stranger Things.