The hit series first premiered in 2020 and followed a group of teenagers, known as the Pogues, searching for treasure in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Season 2 of the thrilling action-adventure teen drama debuted in 2021, followed by Season 3 in 2023 and then a Season 4 renewal.
But even though filming is currently suspended due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Outer Banks' showrunners have details on what awaits in its fourth season.
Outer Banks Season 4 Storylines
After Outer Banks' Season 3 wrapped up its ongoing storyline, the finale ended with an 18-month time jump showing where the Pogues ended up.
According to Outer Banks creator and showrunner Josh Pate, this was necessary to "migrate them out of school" and set up a new "trilogy:"
"Yeah, we’re going to fill in some gaps in the 18 months. We felt like we needed to migrate them out of school. We think about the first three [seasons] as a trilogy and then we’re starting over on [another sort of] trilogy now. We just needed to clear the decks."
While the three-season trilogy model is news for fans, what's even more revealing is Pate's Season 4 promises...
1.) New Villain(s)
While the Pogues were never without obstacles, their primary antagonists were always Ward and Rafe Cameron, Sarah Cameron's desperate and money-hungry father and brother respectively.
Although Ward Cameron died at the end of Season 3, Rafe is still alive and will likely return in some form or fashion.
However, Josh Pate noted that "new villains" await in this new trilogy and, just like the Camerons, probably have their own interest in Season 4's treasure hunt involving Blackbeard.
Due to the long-standing threat the Camerons posed and the complexity and connections of their characters, Outer Banks needs Season 4's baddies to present a completely different threat to John B. and the gang or rachet up the ante.
While that's a tall order, there's no denying that the first three seasons set a high bar; and now that the kids are out of school, a lesser threat will appear all the more glaring.
2.) New Treasure Hunt
The new treasure hunt introduced at the end of Season 3 involved Edward Teach or Blackbeard, who isn't just a real-life pirate legend but one who frequented the waters surrounding North Carolina.
When asked why Blackbeard was chosen Outer Banks Season 4, Pate admitted they "needed a name or an idea for new adventure that could be conveyed in a word:"
"We were joking about it just a second ago. We needed something concise, a one-liner for the last little bit. We needed a name or an idea for a new adventure that could be conveyed in a word. Timing-wise, with the flow of the episode, you needed to hit and go."
Jonas Pate also noted "It’s also Blackbeard... It’s a big North Carolina thing."
Still, Josh Pate warned that the show's Blackbeard narrative isn't "going to be the usual Blackbeard story:"
"And it’s organic to the Outer Banks, 'so OK, we’ll play that.' But it’s not going to be the usual Blackbeard story, put it that way."
While the Royal Merchant treasure was somewhat inspired by an actual shipwreck, it was nowhere near the Outer Banks nor as famous as Blackbeard.
No doubt this will present both new opportunities and challenges for Season 4. However, it's good to hear it won't be "the usual Blackbeard story," meaning the series may still take liberties and pull a few surprises.
It also suggests the show has no intention of moving away from its original location but will actually dive deeper into this real-life locale.
3.) New Life Situation
The Season 3 finale's 18-month time jump established that Sarah and John B. used the treasure to open their surf shop while Pope went to school, JJ bought a boat, and Kiera rescued turtles.
Season 4 is sure to show more of their new lives. But when asked if the cast had opinions on where their characters ended up, showrunner Shannon Burke confirmed the stars' input, saying, "Oh, they make suggestions all the time, too."
In addition, Jonas Pate not only acknowledged other suggestions that become part of the show but also teased that Rudy Pankow's JJ is "capable of pretty much anything" and how Season 4 "is going to be all about that:"
"Like the Poguelandia flag was a Rudy Pankow ad-lib. I mean, JJ the character’s capable of pretty much anything. Season 4 is going to be all about that, really."
JJ's unpredictable, loose-cannon nature has been a throughline of Outer Banks' three seasons and one that still has more story to tell.
Whether Jonas Pate's tease is good news or bad for Pankow's character is hard to say. But it would be interesting if, with this new trilogy, JJ takes a central role now that John. B's original story reached its conclusion.
Fans are sure to hear more about Outer Banks Season 4 once the strikes are resolved. In the meantime, the first three seasons of Outer Banks are streaming now on Netflix.