Spoilers from Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2 ahead.
It's official: Season 5 of Stranger Things is happening.
Three months before Season 4 premiered (and logged a billion hours of watch time), Netflix and the Duffer brothers confirmed that the sci-fi favorite will continue on with a fifth season. The renewal announcement came with an open letter published by the show's creators, which explains that the upcoming season will also be the last of the series.
"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer wrote. "At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four but—as you'll see for yourselves—we are now hurtling toward our finale."
Here's everything we know so far about the fifth and final season.
The creators have plans beyond Season 4 of Stranger Things.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in August, co-creator Ross Duffer revealed, "Season 4 won't be the end [of Stranger Things]. We know what the end is, and we know when it is." He continued, "[The pandemic] has given us time to look ahead, figure out what is best for the show. Starting to fill that out gave us a better idea of how long we need to tell that story."
Basically, the Duffer brothers have been planning the future of the show during quarantine, and their ideas span further than the forthcoming Season 4, which is great news for fans.
David Harbour says Hopper will be in Season 5.
In an interview with Gold Derby, Harbour appeared to let it slip that Stranger Things will continue beyond Season 4. He revealed, "I will tell you in Season 4 and in Season 5, if we're ever able to film again, there is a lot to be revealed around the complexities of [Hopper's] story, which is really rich, and I'm really excited for you to see." Basically, as far as Harbour is concerned, Hopper's storyline continues into both Season 4 and Season 5.
He also teased, "Because we know the ending, you'll be able to go back and watch it and see, you know, what we were planting in Season 3 that paid off in Season 4 and Season 5."
Millie Bobby Brown wants Eleven to have a "good ending."
In an interview with Glamour in August 2020, Millie Bobby Brown discussed her thoughts about how Stranger Things might end, especially when it comes to her character, Eleven. Brown joked, "I always say to the Duffers, 'Can she just not smile like in one take?' I would love her story to be rounded off by like a good ending. I trust the Duffer brothers so much that it's going to be beautiful and I'm going to love it no matter what it is."
In particular, Brown is hopeful about Eleven's relationship with Mike, and the amazing powers she used to possess. "But I'd love for her to get her powers back because she is a hero, she is like a super woman in a way," Brown explained. "And she loves Mike–I want them to get married. That's what I need. I need a wedding scene for Stranger Things, period."
Brown joked, "Eleven in a wedding dress and her going, 'Sorry, my nose is bleeding. It's a white dress.' Doesn't it just seem like it would fit."
Season 5 will be the last of the Hawkins gang.
In their open letter, the Duffer brothers explained that Season 5 will wrap up the stories of everyone in Hawkins. They also hinted that the Stranger Things universe may continue on later, with a possible spin-off or sequel.
"There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things: new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes," the creators wrote. "But first, we hope that you stay with us as we finish this tale of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, of a broken police chief and a ferocious mom, of a small town called Hawkins and an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down."
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the show has not begun production yet on the final season, so any news of another series will have to wait.
The Duffer brothers say Season 5 may include a time jump.
In a June interview with TVLine, the showrunners revealed that they have outlined Season 5, saying that the show is "pretty well mapped out." They also said that they haven't set a start date for shooting and that they expect to tweak their outline based on what they've learned while shooting Season 4.
"We've learned a lot just working with all of our new actors and the ones that we've worked with for a long time over this year [making Season 4], so I'm sure it'll change a little bit from that outline," Matt Duffer said. "The ending is the hard thing. That's obviously the stressful thing. We really want to stick the landing."
Ross Duffer added that the show will likely have to include some sort of time jump, as the age gap between the show's main actors and their characters gets wider.
"I'm sure we will do a time jump," he told the outlet. "Ideally, we'd have shot [Seasons 4 and 5] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that. So these are all discussions we're going to have with our writers when we start the room up."
Thankfully, there will be a shorter wait for Season 5.
With Season 4 ending in a cliffhanger that tears through the barriers between the Upside Down and Hawkins, fans are wondering when we'll get new episodes (and are hoping the answer is as soon as possible). Luckily, the Duffers themselves told Variety that they've already pitched the Season 5 arc to Netflix and that the wait between Seasons 4 and 5 should be way shorter than the last three-year gap.
"Don't hold us to it, but the gap should be quite a bit shorter this time, due to the fact that we already have an initial outline, and we can't imagine there will be another six-month forced hiatus," they told the outlet.
Following Volume 2's release, the brothers gave an update on the production timeline to Collider, revealing that they're set to start writing Season 5 after a short break. "We're going to take a little vacation in July," Ross Duffer told the outlet. "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."
Vecna will likely be the main villain of Season 5.
In Season 4, Stranger Things introduces Vecna, the ultimate Big Bad of the show who seems to be unbeatable. The season finale confirms that the monster, a.k.a. Dr. Brenner's first test subject, a.k.a. Henry Creel, was the center of the Upside Down monsters' hive mind ever since Season 1, slowly gaining a foothold in Hawkins until he could set off the plan that tore down some of the barriers between the Upside Down and the surface world.
The two episodes of Volume 2 depict a showdown between Vecna and the kids that leave the villain severely injured, but not dead. The audience never sees his dead body, and Will feels the familiar warning tingle on the back of his neck at the end of the season. So Season 5 will likely show the final showdown between Eleven and Vecna over the fate of the world.
Though we don't have any details about the upcoming season, Vecna actor Jamie Campbell Bower hinted that he'll be part of Season 5 last month. In a Hollywood Reporter interview, Bower gave the cryptic hint, "Let me put it this way: I know about season five. Take from that what you will."
Will is a "big part and focus" of Season 5.
After taking a back seat to Eleven and Mike's love story in Season 4 (and even having his birthday forgotten), Will has a bigger role in the upcoming season, per Collider. Matt Duffer told the outlet that the final season will show the character coming into his own, and it sounds like we may finally see a conversation about his sexuality onscreen.
"Will's going to be a big part and focus, is really all I can say of Season 5, in his journey. We're starting to see his coming of age, really. Which has been challenging for a number of reasons, some of which are supernatural. But you're starting to see him come into his own," Matt told the outlet.
Ross Duffer added, "[It's] setting up us coming full circle back to Season 1. I think you'll see that with a couple of the character arcs, not just with Will. But also with Steve and Nancy, and her relationship with Jonathan where things are not fully resolved. The characters have maybe made steps, like in the case of Will, but that journey isn't over yet. All of that is going to play a huge role as we try to wrap this thing up next season."
The Duffers say Season 5 likely won't have new characters.
In an interview with IndieWire, the Duffer Brothers opened up about developing the shows' characters, and revealed that they want to focus on the show's core characters in the upcoming finale.
"Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they're going to be an integral part of the narrative," Ross Duffer told the outlet. "But every time we do that, we're nervous, because you go, 'We've got a great cast of characters here, and actors, and any moment we're spending with a new character, we're taking time away from one of the other actors.' So we're just very, very careful about who we're introducing."
"We're doing our best to resist [adding new characters] for Season 5. We're trying not to do that so we can focus on the OG characters, I guess," Matt Duffer added.
Watch this space for updates.
Amy Mackelden is a freelance writer, editor, and disability activist. Her bylines include Harper's BAZAAR, Nicki Swift, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Independent, Bustle, Healthline, and HelloGiggles. She co-edited The Emma Press Anthology of Illness, and previously spent all of her money on Kylie Cosmetics.
Quinci LeGardye is an LA-based freelance writer who covers culture, politics, and mental health through a Black feminist lens. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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