In February, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer—the “Duffer Brothers”—published an open letter about the series’ future. In the letter, addressed to “nerds” (fans), the Duffers teased Season 4, the biggest yet (the per episode budget was reported at $30 million). The letter also looked beyond, saying Season 4 would mark “the beginning of the end.”
The Duffers wrote that Season 4 would be the penultimate season, with Season 5 wrapping up the characters first introduced in Season 1. The brothers wrote they had always planned to run the show four or five seasons, explaining how they had mapped out an entire story arc going into Season 1. That story—with Eleven, Mike, Will, and Hopper—will end after Season 5.
But the Duffers didn’t say Season 5 would mark the end of Stranger Things as a franchise.
Those new “exciting stories” will apparently inform some kind of spin-off to the original series.
Here’s everything we know about Season 5 and the future of Stranger Things.
When Will Stranger Things Return for Season 5?
The good news: Stranger Things 5 is definitely happening. The uncertainty: because filming hasn’t begun, it’s unclear when it will air.
In a recent interview, the Duffers said they didn’t yet have shoot dates for the final season. They said they originally wanted to shoot Season 4 and Season 5 back-to-back, but because of the breadth of Season 4, this schedule proved impossible. The filming delay will mean, the Duffers said, that Season 5 will see a time jump from Season 4—likely accounting for the age of the actors.
Of course, filming can’t begin until the Duffers finish writing, and while they have a general idea for the season—planned from the onset of the series—they’ll be taking some time off before tackling the full script. “We’re going to take a little vacation in July,” Ross Duffer told Collider in a recent interview, “And then we’re going to come back. I know that the writer’s room is going to start in that first week of August.”
Filming will then likely begin in 2023.
We’re hoping for a late 2023 air date, though this may be optimistic, especially if the final season goes as big as Season 4.
Expect something closer to 2024.
How Long Will Season 5 Be?
While we don’t yet have a release date, Netflix confirmed that the season will be released as a “binge model,” meaning it will not appear weekly, a model some streaming services are beginning to adopt.
The episodes, according to the Duffer brothers, will also move at a faster pace and be shorter than the episodes in Season 4.
Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Matt Duffer explained the final season’s pacing:
The final episode of the series, however, will be another epic installment. Duffer said it will be close to the final episode of Season 4, which ran nearly 2.5 hours.
Stranger Things Season 5 Will Tell Us More About the Upside Down
The Duffers have said that Season 5 will explore the origins of the Upside Down. It will also reportedly explore the physics of the world—why it appears trapped in a specific moment in time—and the pecking order of the monsters who inhabit the realm.
Season 4 introduced the Upside Down’s temporal stagnancy, with Nancy discovering that the realm appears to be stuck in 1983.
Season 4 also saw Eleven opening the portal to the Upside Down much earlier than we first believed; she zaps Henry Creel—who, spoiler alert, becomes Vecna—into the Upside Down in 1979.
How does the Upside Down then find itself in 1983? Was Henry Creel the first monster?
Season 5 will clarify all our Upside Down history questions.
What Else Will Happen in Stranger Things Season 5?
Stranger Things Season 4 ended with a kind of draw: while Vecna wasn’t able to destroy Max or Eleven, he was able to open the final gate, allowing Hawkins to split open and for the Upside Down to begin leaking into Indiana.
Season 5 will likely lead to a final showdown between Vecna and Eleven, with the fate of Hawkins (and the world) in the balance.
What About That Stranger Things Spinoff?
Based on the Duffers’ letter, the Stranger Things spinoff won’t continue the story of the original cast of characters. It’s unclear if the spin-off will even take place in Hawkins.
The only thing known about the spinoff is that both Duffers will be involved—and that it could come in movie form.
In a recent interview with Variety, the Duffers gave an update on their progress.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Stranger Things spinoff.
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