Season 4 of Stranger Things dominated the social sphere of conversation last summer, especially because the showrunners decided to split the season into two parts. Without giving too much away, the finale left many viewers feeling devastated and slightly pessimistic about the future for Hawkins, not unlike audiences leaving theaters after the Thanos snap in Avengers: Infinity War.
Even though they haven’t started filming Season 5 yet, there’s still a plethora of information circulating about it. On the popular podcast Happy Sad Confused, writer and director duo, Matt and Ross Duffer, (professionally known as The Duffer Brothers), announced that the final season will be much different from the previous four seasons.
You read that last sentence correctly, the fifth season of Stranger Things will be the series finale, sadly. The Duffer Brothers have stated that when they came to Netflix with the pitch, they would need at least four or five seasons to tell the story that they had in mind, to which Netflix responded by giving them a contract for five seasons. Read on to find out everything we know about Stranger Things Season 5.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on September 11, 2023.
- Release Date
- July 15, 2016
- Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Cara Buono, FInn Wolfhard
- Main Genre
- Sci-Fi, Drama, Horror
When Will Stranger Things 5 Come Out?
Possibly the most important question regarding Season 5, but there hasn’t been an official release date given just yet. However, if you make an educated guess based on the show’s release date track record, you could infer that the fifth season should be coming out sometime in late 2024 at the very earliest.
Season 1 premiered on July 15, 2016. Season 2 came out 15 months later on October 27, 2017. Season 3 followed on July 4th, 2019, which was about 20 months later, and thanks in large part to the pandemic, Season 4 didn’t come out until about 35 months later.
If you average the wait times between seasons, that average is about 23.5 months or roughly two years. It would be nice if we didn’t have to wait so long, of course, but that trajectory places us about halfway through 2024. Additionally, following that same pattern should give us a few official sneak previews and teaser trailers as early as six to eight months before the Season 5 release.
In an interview with Collider’s Editor-in-Chief, Steve Weintraub, Matt and Ross Duffer explained that they want to prioritize content quality over speediness of delivery. Between writing, pre-production, filming, and post-production, nobody wants their work to be compromised because they’re rushing through it.
The Duffers also included in this interview that the visual effects team was on par with that of the Marvel Comic Universe, but with a much faster turnaround rate. There were more visual effects scenes in the Season 4 finale alone than there were in the entire third season of Stranger Things.
How Many Episodes Will Stranger Things 5 Be?
In August 2022, the Stranger Things writers sent out a tweet that seemed to indicate that Season 5 will be eight episodes in length, which puts in on par with Seasons 1 and 3. Seasons 2 and 4 both ran an episode longer at 9 episodes in total.
The Duffer Brothers also acknowledged that there have been some complaints about episode length, indicating that most of the episodes in Season 5 will be closer to the earlier seasons’ episode runtimes of about an hour or less. At the same time, they also indicated that the finale episode was going to be closer to 2.5 hours of an “epic showdown.”
Because of how things ended in the finale of Season 4, there will be no time to slowly build up to the action in Season 5. Supposedly, it’s going to be full pedal-to-the-metal from the first episode.
Back in November, the Duffer Brothers revealed the official title for the first episode of the final season as “Chapter One: The Crawl.”
What Can We Expect From Stranger Things 5?
Both Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, and Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers, have called out The Duffer Brothers because they haven’t killed off any of the original cast/characters, instead killing off minor side characters only.
While they haven’t directly addressed what their plans for deaths in Season 5 are just yet, they have stated that “this isn’t Game of Thrones,” and they don’t want to kill characters off just for the shock value.
Even though the deaths that have occurred so far were poignant and meaningful to the storyline, many Stranger Things fans have also voiced their criticism of the “plot armor” that seems to always protect the group of main characters.
In another interview with Collider, executive producer and director on the series Shawn Levy revealed what he thought of the Duffer Brother’s pitch for Season 5:
I know that Brothers already hinted at this publicly, but when we sat there and heard the two-hour-long pitch-out for the storyline of this final season, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room by the time the brothers were done… so yeah, this last season will be both epic and very emotional. I think making it will be pretty damn emotional, too, since this show has changed the life of every one of us who have worked on it. Anyway, writing is going really well, and we can’t wait to head into production next year.
I believe for that show, I’ve been alongside Matt and Ross Duffer for all these years. I direct episodes every year. It’s a part of our brotherhood. It’s a part of my commitment and my love of the show, connecting with it as a director, as well as an executive producer, so I will go through hoops to figure out calendars to direct at least one episode.
The Duffer Brothers have also revealed that Season 5 will be bringing in some of their leftover ideas that they initially had planned for Season 2.
Noah Schnapp teased an emotional but exciting ending to Will’s arc in the series
“I can just tell you that I’m very very excited for what’s to come. I think they did a great job with Will’s character this season, and beautifully addressed everything they needed to. The way they closed the show is just perfect — the story started with Will, and it’ll end with Will.”
Ross Duffer echoed that statement by saying: “This emotional arc for him is what we feel is going to hopefully tie the whole series together.”
We spoke to Finn Wolfhard about what most excites him about the final season. He said the following:
I think it answers an insane amount of questions about the lore of Stranger Things, the world-building. I think a lot of people will be happy with getting back– It’s the last season, so we kind of want to get back to the roots of why the show was so special in the first place, and why the dynamics are so special in the first place, and sort of getting back to that. It’s gonna be really exciting. I’m excited, obviously, to go back and shoot it. I think it’s gonna be very sad, but I’m also just excited, as a fan, to get into it, and I’m excited to see where everyone– I didn’t even know how it ends yet, truly. I’ve only read the first three, so we’ll see. But yeah, I’m excited to see where all the characters’ journeys go.
When Will Stranger Things 5 Begin Filming?
Back in January, Noah Schnapp revealed in a social media post that filming for Stranger Things 5 would begin filming in May.
However, a few months later, David Harbour revealed in an interview with Collider that filming for the fifth and final season would commence in June.
“We’re walking into season five. I’ve got a couple more months to train. We start shooting that in June, though, and that will be the final season. I did a lot of training for season four. He [Hopper] was in a very specific position, that Russian prison. It was about making him a different guy and sort of shedding a layer of himself physically, mentally, and emotionally. But now he’s back in town, he’s back in America where they have cheeseburgers, so he will be well-fed.”
However, due to the WGA Strike and Netflix’s failure to pay the writer’s room fair compensation, pre-production on the season has come to a halt with filming likely being delayed by a few months now.
What Comes Next?
After the fifth and final season of Stranger Things looms ahead (not unlike the Mind-Flayer), the ravenous fans want to know what’s in store for the future. Don’t be sad that it’s almost over, but happy that you came along for the ride. Fortunately, there is good news concerning the next big things for the Stranger Things universe and its creators.
Netflix has already confirmed a spin-off series, and while The Duffer Brothers are playing coy on the details, they have said that it will be “1,000% different” from the current series. In addition to the spin-off series, they will also be overseeing a stage-play production that is based on the Stranger Things universe.
This stage-play will be produced by Sonia Friedman (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot), a famous British theatric duo that have worked together many times in the past.
The play will officially be titled Stranger Things: The First Shadow and will be premiering at the Phoenix Theatre in London. The official plot synopsis for the show reads:
Hawkins, 1959: a regular town with regular worries. Young Jim Hopper’s car won’t start, Bob Newby’s sister won’t take his radio show seriously and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town. When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family finds that a fresh start isn’t so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very long reach.
Brought to life by a multi-award-winning creative team, who take theatrical storytelling and stagecraft to a whole new dimension, this gripping new adventure will take you right back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story – and may hold the key to the end.
Shows will begin in November 2023.
The Duffer Brothers have also started a new label with Netflix for their future collaborations (including the spin-off series) called “Upside Down Pictures.” The main focus for the label will be centered around stories that inspired The Duffer Brothers as they were growing up; where the ordinary clashes with the extraordinary and allows for strong character arcs that prove that courage and heart can overcome evil.
In addition to the spin-off series, The Duffer Brothers’ new label will also be responsible for a new Stephen King miniseries adaptation of his novel, The Talisman. Amblin Partners, led by Steven Spielberg, will be partnering with Upside Down Pictures to develop this miniseries for Netflix.
Upside Down Pictures will also be behind the second live-action adaptation of Death Note for Netflix, based on the Japanese manga and anime. Instead of a full-length film like the 2017 adaptation, this new adaptation will be a television series.