Gaten Matarazzo Says Filming Stranger Things Season 4 Is 'a Slower Process than Usual' amid COVID

Gaten Matarazzo Says Filming Stranger Things Season 4 Is 'a Slower Process than Usual' amid COVID

Gaten Matarazzo is giving an update on season 4 of Stranger Things.

The 18-year-old actor, who plays Dustin Henderson in the hit Netflix series, tells PEOPLE that filming on the upcoming season is moving slowly following months of production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's definitely a slower process than usual, which is really saying something because we take our sweet time making the show anyway," Matarazzo says. "So it's not as steady paced or as consistent as I think any of us would like it to be, but we do our best and we're playing it by ear."

He adds, "And I think the most important thing is that when we're working, we're all staying safe."

Netflix announced in November that Stranger Things had resumed production on season 4 after the pandemic halted filming earlier in the year. The show was a month into production on the upcoming season when the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, with the scripts polished and ready to go, PEOPLE previously reported.

Along with Matarazzo, the new season is set to feature returning cast members Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Millie Bobby Brown(Eleven), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Priah Ferguson (Erica Sinclair) and Cara Buono (Karen Wheeler).

Season 4 will also welcome a slew of new characters, including three series regulars: Jamie Campbell Bower, Eduardo Franco and Joseph Quinn. Joining in recurring roles is Sherman Augustus, Mason Dye, Robert Englund, Nikola Djuricko and Tom Wlaschiha.

Speaking to PEOPLE in December, Harbour — whose character Jim Hopper seemingly perished during the season 3 finale — said that in the new season, fans will "see a lot of your favorite characters doing the thing that you love them for … but you'll also see them twist it and turn it into other colors and other flavors."

Harbour also said that fans will "get to see an entirely other color" of Hopper in season 4.

"This season is my favorite because he really is going to show you some new colors and what he's really made up of," he said.

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