Shawn Levy, one of the show's executive producers and directors, gives EW a taste of what's to come when Volume II premieres its two supersize episodes on July 1.
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Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 4.

Stranger Things season 4 left viewers with a pretty major cliffhanger in episode 7, but that's not the finale. We have to remind ourselves that Volume II, consisting of the two remaining installments of the season, arrives on Netflix in a month's time on July 1. And Shawn Levy, the show's executive producer and one of the directors, teases there's lots more to come.

"There's no question that season 4 is built as a prelude to and springboard for the fifth and final season," Levy tells EW. "When you watch Volume II, you'll know what I'm talking about. And I'll just tell you, as great as Volume I is, Volume II is extraordinary. I can't wait for the world to react to Volume I, knowing that they have such rich episodes to come in just over a month."

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David Harbour returns as Jim Hopper in 'Stranger Things' season 4.
| Credit: Netflix

So far in season 4, we've seen Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) work with Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) to restore her powers by unlocking traumatic memories that she blocked out. The main memory is the massacre at Hawkins lab that left nearly everyone, including the other kids in the program, dead. One (Jamie Campbell Bower), Brenner's very first psychic child, is revealed to be an orderly working at the lab. But once he tricks Eleven into removing the power suppressor implanted in his neck, One turns on the guards and the children.

Eleven's battle with One inadvertently opens a portal to the Upside Down, trapping him inside. After spending years in the harsh dimension, the environment transmogrifies One into what we now know as Vecna, the demo-creature terrorizing Hawkins in the present timeline of season 4.

"Without giving anything away, everything happens for a reason on Stranger Things," Levy says. "It's why we're gonna end things after season 5 because it's important to the [Duffer] brothers, and all of us who make the show with them, that we finish strong, stick the landing, and not tell one fragment of story more than has purpose. As you can see in season 4, we're taking a lot of strands — strands of character, strands of plot, strands of mythology — and we are giving explanations and weaving those threads together."

Bower, now able to speak openly about his top-secret role as One/Vecna, tells EW the season "gets bigger" in the final Volume II episodes. "If you thought that it was as big as it could get, it's not," he says. "It goes further, visually, story-wise, and emotionally for all the characters. It really is quite an explosive climax, let's say. I know lots of people have used the word explosive and scope and scale, but I do mean that. We learn a lot more as an audience in these final two episodes, as well."

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Jamie Campbell Bower stars as Vecna in 'Stranger Things' season 4.
| Credit: Netflix

Volume II will consist of one episode that runs at 1 hour and 25 minutes, and a second that clocks in at nearly 2-hours-and-30-minutes long.

Levy teases a few more elements fans can expect when the show returns next month. One involves Sadie Sink, who plays Max. "This is, in many ways, an anthemic season for Max and Sadie Sink," he remarks. "The fourth episode, without giving anything away regarding later episodes in Volume II, is a centerpiece episode for Max."

Another involves Will (Noah Schnapp). All signs seem to point to Mike's friend coming out of the closet. (See episode 5.) Levy could only say, "There aren't many accidents on Stranger Things. There is clear intention and strategy and real thought given to each and every character. So, if you came away from Volume I feeling those bread crumbs of plot and character, it's probably no accident."

Lastly, Levy mentions there's a lot of heart in the final two episodes.

"There's so much talk already about the scale and scope and runtime of season 4, but I, for one, love the fact that it's also huge in heart and that's always been the actual superpower of this show," he says. "If it were only spectacle, it wouldn't be a global phenomenon with characters that we root for with such emotionality and heart. As big and cinematic as season 4 has gotten, and it will get further in Volume II, it delivers on that heart."

Stranger Things season 4, Volume I is currently streaming on Netflix. (Read our full recap.) Volume II is set to premiere on July 1.

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