“Stranger Things” Showrunners Claim Season 5 Pitch Meeting Made Netflix Executives “Cry”

netflix stranger things 4 spoiler
“Stranger Things” S5 Is Reportedly Very EmotionalNetflix

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We knew this day would one day come because as they say, all good things must come to an end. On February 17, the Duffer Brothers announced that season 5 will be the final chapter for Stranger Things, the sci-fi series that’s sustained global phenomenon status throughout its record-breaking run on Netflix. It’ll be very difficult to say goodbye, but the epic adventures of our favorite Dungeons & Dragons crew are not over yet.

We’ve seen Eleven, Will, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max, and the rest of the Hawkins gang fight demogorgons, traverse the mysteries of the Upside Down, battle Russians and Mind Flayers at the Starcourt Mall, and try to defeat the alternate dimension’s latest villain, Vecna. Now that Stranger Things 4 is out on Netflix, we’re already wondering how the many storylines of this show might wrap up in season 5. And most importantly, when will it premiere? Will it be split up into two parts like season 4? There are so many questions.

But luckily, we’re here to break all the details down. Below, find out everything we know so far about season 5 of Stranger Things.

stranger things l to r maya hawke as robin buckley, joseph quinn as eddie munson, natalia dyer as nancy wheeler, and joe keery as steve harrington in stranger things cr courtesy of netflix © 2022
Courtesy of Netflix

Has Stranger Things 5 started filming?

Not just yet. But we’re one step closer! To commemorate Stranger Things day on November 6, 2022, Netflix held a bunch of virtual and IRL activations. The streamer released a photo of the official Stranger Things 5 script, which includes the title for the final season’s first episode: “Chapter One: The Crawl.” Seriously, season 5 of the beloved sci-fi series can’t come soon enough.

On August 25, the official Stranger Things writers’ room Twitter account shared an update on production. Alongside a photo of a whiteboard divided into eight episodes, they wrote, “Grid stage.” One user noticed two lines separating episodes 4 and 5, and questioned if this symbolizes where the season’s time jump takes place.

“Not a time jump. Does it mean anything? 🤔,” the writers’ room replied. Hmmmm. Showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer (aka The Duffer Brothers) previously teased that there will be a time jump in the final season, but perhaps it will be in effect from the very first episode? Or, maybe the two lines signify that the season will be split into two releases, like season 4.

In early August, the writers' room confirmed that they’ve officially started penning the final season.

Will there be new cast members in Stranger Things season 5?

While we saw the addition of new characters like our all-time fave Eddie Munson and Vecna in Stranger Things 4, it doesn’t look like there will be new additions in the show’s fifth and final season. “We're doing our best to resist [adding new characters] for Season 5," Matt Duffer told IndieWire. “We’re trying not to do that so we can focus on the OG characters, I guess.”

Ross continued, dishing on the thought process behind including new characters: “Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they’re going to be an integral part of the narrative,” he began. “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 away time from one of the other actors.’ So we’re just very, very careful about who we’re introducing.”

Is there a release date for Stranger Things 5?

Given that the series’ writers have only recently started writing, there is no set debut date for season 5. There were three years in between the release of seasons 3 and 4, but the pandemic contributed to scheduling and production delays. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait that long, but it’s likely we won’t see Stranger Things 5 until 2023 or 2024.

stranger things l to r eduardo franco as argyle, charlie heaton as jonathan, millie bobby brown as eleven, noah schnapp as will byers, and finn wolfhard as mike wheeler in stranger things cr courtesy of netflix  © 2022
Courtesy of Netflix

For those worrying that the series might move to a weekly release on Netflix, fear not. On June 7, Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s head of scripted series for the U.S. and Canada, confirmed to Variety that the final season will follow suit with previous iterations, and will be released all at once.

What will Stranger Things 5 be about?

Anyone else still reeling from the Stranger Things 4 finale? Same.

In the explosive final two episodes, Hopper, Joyce, and Murray escape the Soviet prison. But after learning that the rest of the Hawkins crew are tackling yet another monster from the Upside Down, they double back to destroy the Russians’ stockpile of demogorgons to weaken the hive mind. After Eleven escapes the lab and the U.S. military — and Dr. Brenner, for good (it seems) — she, Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle head to a Nevada-based Surfer Boy Pizza to replicate a sensory deprivation tank so she can reach Max. She comes face-to-face with Vecna once again, but Max dies in Lucas’s arms. El, realizing her power, brings Max back to life, but she remains in a coma.

As Eleven tries to save Max through a “piggyback” of her mind, Dustin and Eddie enter the Upside Down to lure the demobats away from the Creel House. The efforts turn fatal for Eddie (😭) who dies from their attacks. Meanwhile, Robin, Steve, and Nancy use their weapons and flamethrowers to kill Vecna. But the fourth gate has been opened after Vecna’s fourth kill (Max), and the entirety of Hawkins cracks along giant fault lines, creating a colossal opening to the Upside Down. In the final scene, the entire crew is reunited in Hawkins, but Will reveals that Vecna is not dead and soon feels the Mind Flayer present — just as snow-like particles begin falling from the sky.

Sooooooo, a lot is happening! While we don’t know much of what might go down, we can bet that season 5 will mostly focus on saving the small Indiana town. Executive producer Shawn Levy revealed to E! News that Stranger Things 5 “will definitely be more Hawkins-centric.”

“Our ambitions remain pretty high, and the way the audience has grown along with the cinematic scope of the show, I don’t expect that we’re going to mess with that approach going into season five,” Levy continued.

stranger things l to r joe keery as steve harrington, natalia dyer as nancy wheeler and maya hawke as robin buckley in stranger things cr courtesy of netflix © 2022
Courtesy of Netflix

Earlier this year, the Duffer Brothers hinted at one major plot detail. In a June interview with TVLine, they revealed that Hawkins High’s students will be a little older. “I’m sure we will do a time jump,” Ross said. OK, woah.

stranger things l to r millie bobby brown as eleven and matthew modine as dr martin brenner in stranger things cr tina rowdennetflix © 2022
Photo Credit: Tina Rowden

In a July 2022 interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Duffers also revealed that episodes in the final season will be shorter than the movie-length ones in Stranger Things 4 — with the exception of the big finale, of course. “The only reason we don’t expect to be as long is because, typically — or this season, if you look at it, it’s almost a two-hour ramp up before our kids really get drawn into a supernatural mystery,” Matt explained. “You get to know them, you get to see them in their lives, they’re struggling with adapting to high school and so forth. Steve’s trying to find a date, all of that. None of that is obviously going to be occurring in the first two episodes.”

“For the first time ever, we don’t wrap things up at the end of [season 4]. Characters are already going to be in action, they’re already going to have a goal and a drive, and I think that’s going to carve out at least a couple hours and make this season feel really different. I’m sure the wrap-up will be a lot longer,” Matt continued. The Duffers also said that Eddie’s death and Max’s coma will have “major repercussions” in season 5, which will also go full circle into season 1, with many of the same groups reuniting for battle.

Who will return to Stranger Things 5?

Dr. Brenner is shot multiple times by the U.S. military after they infiltrated the secret lab in Nevada, seemingly dying in front of Eleven’s eyes. So, we most likely won’t see him again. But, what’s to come of his lab partner, Dr. Owens? It turns out that Paul Reiser, the actor behind the character, is also unsure.

“I literally don’t know,” he told E! News. “The Stranger Things writers’ room tweeted out, ‘Hey, everybody, send us your thoughts for next season. What would you like to see?’ And I wrote in, ‘Can Dr. Owens live? Would that be possible?’”

The last time we saw Dr. Owens in Stranger Things 4, he was being locked away by Dr. Brenner. After he’s killed and Eleven destroys the military helicopter, she, Will, Mike, Jonathan, and Argyle escape the lab — and that’s the last we see of that landscape.

“I’d appreciate it if Dr. Owens comes in, in like a superhero cape, and saves the day,” Paul added.

Although we hate to remind you once more, the devastating death of Eddie likely means that Joseph Quinn, who portrays the metalhead, will not return for the final season. BRB, going to mend my broken heart. But, Joseph did reveal in a recent interview that a cameo is not totally out of the question. Consider our fingers crossed.

Jamie Campbell Bower — who portrays Vecna, aka One — teased his return in the final season. “Let me put it this way: I know about season five. Take from that what you will,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Well, based on the fact that Will told Mike in the final episode that Vecna is not dead, just hurting,” it seems very likely that the monster — and his friends — will return.

Everyone else is likely to continue the fight in the final chapter — Max is in a coma in the last episode, but the possibility of her waking up is not overwhelmingly positive. Sadie Sink, the actress who plays Max, revealed in a June 27 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she has no intel on her character’s story line in season 5.

“Honestly, I do not know anything about season five. They keep it very locked in a way and don’t let any of the cast know,” she said. “I think a few cast members know what’s going to happen, but I have not received any information whatsoever. Maybe I should work on that because I’m dying to know as well.”

In a July 4 interview with Deadline, Sadie expressed the same sentiment. “[The Duffer Brothers have] been very secretive about season five in general... have no idea what’s coming in five and what that looks like. Max’s storyline is very up in the air, ’cause obviously she’s in a coma and Eleven can’t find her in the void. So who knows where she is and what state she’s in.”

stranger things l to r joe keery as steve harrington, gaten matarazzo as dustin henderson, maya hawke as robin buckley, sadie sink as max mayfield, natalia dyer as nancy wheeler, and caleb mclaughlin as lucas sinclair in stranger things cr courtesy of netflix © 2022
Courtesy of Netflix

What else has the cast said about the upcoming season?

Although the plot details of the fifth and final season are relatively unknown, Maya Hawke, who plays Robin, hopes for her character’s “hero’s moment.”

“Well, it’s the last season, so people are probably going to die... I’d love to die with honor, as any actor would,” she said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “But I love the way that the Duffer Brothers love their actors. The reason that they write so beautifully for me and for everyone else is because they fall in love with their actors and their characters, and they don’t want to kill them. I think that’s a beautiful quality that they have, and I wouldn’t wish it away.”

So, if Robin survives the imminent battle with the Upside Down in Hawkins, Maya is open to other paths for her character. When the Rolling Stone interviewer expressed dreams of a spin-off of Robin and Steve living their best lives someplace in the ’90s, Maya concurred. “Normally I wouldn’t really be a proponent of a spinoff, but if I got to do it with Joe Keery, I would do anything. He’s so funny and wonderful and smart, and he’s got great boundaries. He’s an excellent coworker, and I would do anything with him,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy revealed at a September 13 event that the full season storyline has been pitched to Netflix — and the response was emotional. “We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying,” Matt Duffer shared, per The Hollywood Reporter.

“I will say the thing about these Duffer Brothers is that even though the show has gotten so famous and the characters have gotten so iconic and there’s so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people, it’s about these characters,” Levy added. “Season five is already so clearly taking care of these stories of the characters because that’s always been the lifeblood of Stranger Things.”

Finally, the showrunners also confirmed that the overall feel of season 5 will be reminiscent of the early installments. “I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit in the tone of [season] one, but scale-wise it’s more in line with what [season] four is,” Ross Duffer explained. “Hopefully it’s got a little bit of everything.”

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