It’s going to be a Stranger Things summer! The highly-anticipated fourth season has been split into two volumes, with a total of 9 episodes. Volume 1 will drop on May 27, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Volume 2 will be released on July 1 ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. Season 4 is arriving nearly 3 years after season 3 debuted in 2019. The new season was officially announced in October 2019 with the tagline, “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.”
The official synopsis for season 4 reads: “It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.”
Fans have been anxiously waiting for the fourth season, and it will be worth the wait. Production initially began in February 2020, but it was quickly shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following several delays, filming resumed in September 2020. Season 4 filming didn’t wrap until September 2021.
The first teaser dropped on Valentine’s Day 2020 and revealed that Hopper was alive and being held captive in Russia. Several teasers have been released online since 2020 and teased new aspects of the season like Creel House and Eleven’s new life in California with the Byers, as well as the episode titles. The official trailer was revealed on April 12, 2022, and featured the Stranger Things crew preparing for their biggest fight yet.
But all good things must come to an end. On February 17, 2022, Netflix announced that season 5 would be the final season of Stranger Things. HollywoodLife has rounded up all the latest news we know about the fifth season.
All About Season 5
When Netflix announced that season 4 would be split into two volumes, the streaming service also included a letter from the creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, aka the Duffer Brothers. While they wrote that season 4 would be “bigger than ever,” they noted that “it’s also the beginning of the end.”
Their letter continued: “Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things. 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 soon see for yourselves — we are not hurting toward our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season; season 5 will be the last.
There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things; new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes. 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. As always, we are grateful for your patience and support.”
The Duffers have always been adamant that Stranger Things wouldn’t go on for seasons and seasons. However, season 4 was never intended to be the end of the hit Netflix series. “Season 4 won’t be the end,” Ross told The Hollywood Reporter in August 2020. “We know what the end is, and we know when it is. [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.”
Stranger Things director and EP Shawn Levy fully supports the decision by the Duffer Brothers to end the show with season 5. “Well, we never wanted to run on fumes and we wanted to only tell as much story as the brothers saw and feel with clarity,” Shawn told Screen Rant in March 2022. “So it’s been clear for a while that they know exactly where we’re headed and this is the arc. We wouldn’t want to stick around for one moment beyond that vision and the clarity of that voice. So rather than focusing on that sad day that happens who knows when, the end of season 5, I’ll just once again reaffirm what I’ve told everyone, which is it has been a long-ass wait for season 4. But I swear to God, the world will realize it’s worth it.”
As for the confirmed cast of season 5, that remains a mystery. Given that season 4 isn’t out just yet, fans have no idea who may (or may not) make it out of the new season alive. If everyone survives, you could expect Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Natalie Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Winona Ryderand David Harbor back for the final season.
Season 5 production has not started just yet, so casting calls haven’t been made. The fifth season does not have a release date yet, but it will likely premiere in 2023 or 2024.
‘Stranger Things’ Run So Far
Stranger Things It became a global phenomenon when it premiered on Netflix in 2016. The series catapulted the young stars to superstardom, and they have grown up before our eyes.
Following the success of the second season, the cast reportedly scored major pay raises for season 3 and beyond, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cast was divided into “different pay tiers” with Winona and David making up the episode “A tier” that earned them up to $350,000 an. The “B tier” included the younger stars like Finn, Gaten, Caleb, and Noah, who started making $250,000 an episode. The “C tier” featured the older kids — Natalia, Charlie, and Joe — who began making $150,000 an episode in season 3.
At the time, it couldn’t be confirmed exactly what Millie was making. After making $30,000 per episode alongside Finn, Gaten, and Caleb, Millie separated herself from the rest of the cast during renegotiations. For season 3, Millie was at least making $250,000 like her fellow young actors, but sources told THR she could be making as high as $350,000 per episode or in her own tier of $300,000 per episode.
What Comes Next?
The Duffer Brothers’ letter about season 5 left fans with hope that there could be spinoffs in the future, and Matt and Ross haven’t ruled out expanding the Stranger Things universe.
“We have some ideas,” Matt revealed to SFXaccording to NME. “In terms of if we were to do any sort of spinoff, or any continuation of Stranger Things, for us the bar was always, ‘Is the idea exciting enough that we feel the pull of wanting to do it again?’ He added, “I want to feel the pull of ‘God I really want to do this. I feel really, really excited about this.’ So that’s why we’re being careful about what that is and whether we move forward with it or not.”
Ross stressed that “the key for us is that it needs to feel like its own distinct thing, not that we’re just retreading what we’ve already done… I do think we have something pretty exciting, so we’ll see.” A spinoff of some sort could be a part of the Duffer Brothers’ nine-figure film and TV deal with Netflix.
Noah, who plays Will Byers, is totally down for a spinoff. “I know I am – and I’m sure everyone else is – up to do whatever. And we’ll definitely be back for spin-offs and whatever else they can throw at us,” he told SFX.
Shawn told Collider in August 2021 that he is aware that “there is an interest and a real voracious appetite for any offshoot, any other iteration format or extension of the franchise, the characters, the mythology. And certainly, those conversations are hardly evolved, but they’re also not non-existent.”
As for a Stranger Things movie, that remains to be seen. However, some of the episodes of season 4 are feature-length. “[Episodes] 7 and 9, in particular, are movies,” Matt told The Wrap. “And nine is a long movie.” Ross admitted that the season 4 finale is “over two hours. It’s a big one.”