Entertainment

Stranger Things 4: 4 Big Things To Expect

Every ending has its new beginning, indeed

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Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to reflect new information.


Writing this specific article makes me remember my early days in GadgetMatch where I wrote two special articles about Stranger Things 3 — especially because I’m the biggest fan of the team (been a fan since Season 1).

After almost three years of (patiently) waiting, we’ll finally be able to watch Stranger Things 4 on our screens again!

Vol.1 Special Screening in Cinema 11

Seven days before the actual release of Stranger Things 4: Volume 1, Netflix Philippines invited us for a special screening of its first episode — right at Power Planet Mall’s last cinema booth, Cinema 11 (y’know, Eleven 🥁).

Wear anything “retro”, they say

The littlest set details outside the cinema made me cherish the good ol’ days of the First Season of Stranger Things from 2016. From those bright neon lights, a retro-styled photobooth, an ST4-branded popcorn box, and a soda cup. Even the “swag set” full of ST4 goodies that imitated the look of the spooky creel house, This also reminded me of how the series (as well as the fanbase) expanded entirely until it became a hit globally.

A single photobooth access plus a single swag set for that single Stranger Things fan, please

Although I went there all by myself, I still enjoyed every bit of the screening. To best describe everything, here’s my Instagram Reel roundup of it:

Vol.2 Special Screening at Glorietta 4

While the first special screening was held at Cinema 11, this time it was at Glorietta 4’s Activity Center — and it’s something any Stranger Things fan wouldn’t want to miss.

Other than the Upside Down “4” logo of the mall itself, what’s special is what you’ll find inside.

Going straight to Glorietta 4’s Activity Center shows you a perfect glimpse of Vecna’s Mind Lair. From the walls to the floors, you can tell that it was a spot-on portrayal of the lair. Kudos to the creative team behind this nerve-wracking installment.

And the star of the show is none other than Vecna himself. While it may be creepy for most (especially to non-fans), for me it was an astonishing feat of art installation right at the heart of Glorietta 4.

Vecna-ception? Well, you’re not wrong. The real Vecna showed up in front of us and did the same iconic scene with Max from one of Stranger Things’ most memorable episodes — Vol.1 Chapter 4: Dear Billy.

Fans and influencers alike flaunted their full-blown Stranger Things-inspired outfits which clearly show that the Netflix series has a huge following in the Philippines.

While I didn’t take any selfies with Vecna, the photo of my foot stepping on one of Vecna’s “mind veins” is enough for me to say “I was at Vecna’s Mind Lair and I survived even if I have a lot of sufferings” 🤣

You can watch a virtual tour of Vecna’s Mind Lair by watching my Instagram Reel:

 

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A post shared by @vincenzlee

The Vecna mind projection will be available for the public to see at Glorietta 4 until 2nd of July — just a day after the premiere of Stranger Things 4 Vol.2.

4 big things to expect

After watching the first episode of Stranger Things 4: Volume 1 for about an hour and fifteen minutes, there are four things I think we should expect in the series.

1. Out with the old, in with the new?

After the devastating phenomenon that happened in Hawkins last season, several characters have moved into a new town. The Byers, together with El(even) in mind. That also means Will and El have to deal with a new set of people in a seemingly unfamiliar environment.

Other characters have remained in the OG town, though. From the Wheelers, SinclairsDustin, Joe, Robin, and even Max, they have continued with their lives despite being stuck in the same ol’ town. And oh, as the gang turned from kids to teens, do expect some dramatic changes in the way they act — especially after what happened.

P.S: There’s a new school club, too, that’s hilariously fun and cool despite its degrading image to the eyes of many.

2. Familiar and unfamiliar faces

Other than the remaining original cast from Season 1, a new season also means expecting new characters on the block. Apart from new schoolmates, there are also people that might help the initial set of kiddos who have saved Will from the darker underworld a.k.a the Upside Down.

The first few minutes of the episode was also revealed through Stranger Things’ YouTube channel showing how the Hawkins Laboratory had more than 11 Eleven-like superchildren that are being tested and experimented — until everything fell apart because of one superchild that ruined how things work inside the lab.

3. Jim isn’t dead

Jim Hopper’s sudden disappearance after the closing of the Upside Down had a lot of fans shaking their heads. Most (including myself) have speculated that he already died. Well, we can’t afford losing one more main character after the death of Bob from Season 2. Plus, Billy and Alexei just last season.

Fortunately, Jim, in his new haircut, appeared on the official trailer of Stranger Things 4. And just as shown in the first episode of the first volume, his presence can be felt — just from another side of the planet.

4. Another monster to kill

The Demogorgon and Mind Flayer are two of the most wicked supervillains ever existed. Whether that may be in the history of Hawkins or just in the eyes of people.

But the two evil creatures aren’t the end of the gang’s fate. A new town means there’s a new monster, too — namely, Vecna.

As shown at the end of the official trailer, the new horrendous creature is in human form. It can manipulate the mind of the affected individual — even the dimension where s/he’s at. While I won’t be specific about what happened, it sure is a powerful, demonic creature. It can truly make someone disturbingly psychotic and literally broken inside and out.

Biggest season ever with super-sized episodes

After watching the first episode of the first volume, I can say it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. First it was thrilling, then it became a full-on comedy show. Next thing you know, you’re already mindf*cked with what’s happening. I always say this but still, hands-down to the team behind Stranger Things for making the fourth season more exciting to watch (despite being borderline creepy and horrifying).

Image by GadgetMatch

The First Volume of Stranger Things Season 4 was released by Netflix on May 27, 2022 (Friday) with seven episodes. Most episodes are reported to be as long as a full-length film.

On the other hand, Volume 2 with a whopping total of two episodes will be released after two months: exactly July 1st (also a Friday) — just four days before the independence of the United States of America. That makes the series run nine episodes in total.

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Amazon Prime Video expands content for Philippine viewers

Including a new Amazon Original

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Amazon Prime Video

Starting August 2022, Amazon Prime Video will expand its content for Philippine viewers. It will add more local titles featuring the country’s top celebrities as well as exclusive Asian shows.

The move will be highlighted by the release of a new Amazon Original, Comedy Island: Philippines (Base Entertainment) which is a comedy challenge show featuring comedians and other celebrities.

Local Originals will include Big Night starring Christian Bables, How To Love Mr. Heartless with Sue Ramirez, and Whether The Weather Is Fine featuring Daniel Padilla.

Thanks to local licensing deals, Filipino streamers will also be able to watch exclusive Korean titles and anime hits, such as:

  • Nothing Serious (Son Seok-gu/Gong Min-jung)
  • Toy Soldiers: Fake Men 2 The Complete (Julien Kang)
  • Demon Slayer
  • Jujutsu Kaisen O

Other Hollywood blockbuster films and series subscribers may enjoy include The Good Doctor, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and Thirteen Lives.

To cap it off, a local campaign featuring Anne Curtis has also been launched to encourage more viewers to subscribe.

Prime Video will be available in the Philippines for an introductory offer of PhP 149 a month until December 31, 2023.

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Netflix’s The Gray Man is getting its own cinematic universe

A sequel and a spin-off is coming

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Netflix isn’t shy to spend the big bucks on big names. Last year, the platform gambled on a blockbuster called Red Notice featuring A-list celebrities like Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds. This year, the big budget went to The Gray Man, a thriller from MCU stalwarts, the Russo brothers.

Much like the former, The Gray Man opened warmly towards audiences, amid colder reception from critics. The latter doesn’t really matter to Netflix, though. Hearing the applause from the audience, Netflix has decided to jumpstart more titles situated in the universe.

Announced today, the Russo Brothers, Ryan Gosling, and writer Stephen McFeely are returning for a sequel to the original film. Further, Netflix has also greenlit an untitled spin-off film set in the same universe as the original. It will be written by Deadpool writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, potentially hinting at a more comedic take on the universe.

The original film was based on a book series written by Mark Greaney. Netflix has a wealth of content to adapt for its platform. Similarly, the Russo brothers are well acclimated to cinematic universes, having directed the most ambitious team-up movies in film history, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

For its part, Netflix is adamant to create its own hit cinematic universes. Besides The Gray Man, the platform has also invested in follow-ups to its popular titles such as The Witcher, Squid Game, Stranger Things, and Army of the Dead.

In the meantime, The Gray Man is available for streaming now on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: Now Playing: The Gray Man

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MCU unveils plans for Phase 5 and 6

The Infinity Saga is officially over

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Years after the end of the Infinity Saga, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still alive and kicking. More movies and series are coming out to set up what’s next for the future. Besides the slate of post-credits stingers, Marvel has another one tried-and-tested method to stoke the hype: San Diego Comic Con. During this year’s event, the MCU once again unveiled unannounced titles and offered more peeks at already announced ones. Without further ado, let’s unravel what’s coming to the Multiverse Saga.

What remains of Phase 4

With a bunch of Disney+ shows and theatrical releases already in the bag, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is winding down Phase 4. The recent lineup of titles both introduced new characters and dealt with the aftermath of Thanos.

The final titles for Phase 4 will do more of the same, while ushering in the start of Phase 5. During this year’s SDCC, the MCU revealed new trailers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (coming to Disney+ starting August 17) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (coming to theaters on November 11). Wakanda Forever will notably end Phase 4.

Oh, and if the main MCU entries are too much, Marvel also revealed a new trailer for I Am Groot, a series of shorts featuring Baby Groot. It will start streaming August 10 on Disney+.

Phase 5 builds on the future

While Phase 4 focused on bridging old Marvel with the new, Phase 5 shifts attention to the future. It starts off with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, coming to theaters on February 17, 2023. There are no trailers yet, but we have a poster. Plus, Marvel confirms that both Kang and MODOK will be villains for the feature.

After Ant-Man 3, Secret Invasion will drop sometime in the spring of 2023. The thriller will feature Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and the Skrulls as the world takes on an invasion of alien shapeshifters.

Then, James Gunn is unleashing the third volume of this cosmic saga, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will feature the return of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon’s (Bradley Cooper) origins, and the debut of Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). It shows on theaters starting May 5, 2023.

The Marvels will premiere on July 28, presumably featuring Kamala Khan from the recently concluded Ms. Marvel series.

The next film will take a while, though. Sprinkled between and around them, Disney+ has a flurry of shows to stave off any superhero cravings, including Echo, Loki Season 2, Ironheart, and Agatha: Coven of Chaos.

Blade is also coming to cinemas on November 3, 2023. Finally, on May 3, 2024, the Captain America franchise comes back to the big screen. This time, Sam Wilson is at the helm in the aptly titled Captain America: New World Order.

Then, in a blockbuster announcement, Marvel has confirmed that Charlie Cox is returning as Daredevil in his first MCU show, Daredevil: Born Again. Vincent D’Onofrio is also returning to the franchise. It premieres during the spring of 2024.

Finally, Marvel is capping off Phase 5 with Thunderbolts, coming to theaters on July 26, 2024. It will star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine and (presumably) Wyatt Russell’s John Walker.

Phase 6 brings out the big guns

Though it’s still quite some time away, Marvel has already announced a few big titles coming to Phase 6. Much like Phase 3 from the Infinity Saga, Phase 6 is a doozy, featuring big names and catastrophic implications for the distant future.

First up, Marvel has confirmed that Fantastic Four is coming to theaters on November 8, 2024. Marvel’s first family is finally debuting. Fans already got a taste with John Krasinski’s cameo in Multiverse of Madness. This time, it’s for real. With the family’s debut, the studio might also be ready to unleash its other recently acquired titles like X-Men.

Finally, presumably the climax of this multi-title arc, Phase 6 will feature a two-parter Avengers movie. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will show on May 2, 2025. Meanwhile, Avengers: Secret Wars will premiere on November 7, 2025.

While the name doesn’t indicate much, Secret Wars means untold implications for the multiverse. The first Secret Wars comic event introduced Spider-Man’s Black Suit, which eventually evolved to become Venom. The second one, which concluded in 2015, saw the death of the entire multiverse, merging Marvel’s comic books into one smooth timeline. Only time will tell if the MCU’s Secret Wars will feature the same implications.

Also, don’t expect Phase 6 to be just a three-title phase. Marvel will likely announced more for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as time goes by.

SEE ALSO: Marvel’s Midnight Suns available for pre-order; release date announced

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