Cue the synths because Stranger Things is coming to an end. Fresh from leaving us with season 4’s cliffhanger ending, introducing the greatness of Kate Bush to a whole new generation and tantalising us with nerdy Easter eggs, Stranger Things is rumbling menacingly but loveably towards its final season.
And it’s going to be a heartbreaker in more than a few ways: beloved characters will face near-certain doom and we’ll all have to bid farewell to a show so culturally powerful, it’s made us think that the 1980s were actually a brilliant time to be alive. It’s not going to be easy to fill that space in our viewing schedule – or our lives.
Thankfully, we don’t have to yet. Season 5 lies ahead and with it a final, climatic battle with Vecna. But what do we know about it so far? As usual, the Duffer brothers, the show’s creators and showrunners, are keeping the Upside Down on the down low. But more than a few titbits are beginning to emerge. Here’s what’s out there.
Warning: contains season 4 spoilers
When is Stranger Things season 5 potential release date on Netflix?
The final season is due to go into production in May 2023, so we’re a distance away from a launch date on Netflix.
Three of the four previous seasons have aired in the summer, so if you had to guess, sometime between May and July 2024 might be when to expect it on the streamer. That’s David Harbour’s best guess: ‘It’d probably come out mid-2024, based on our track record,’ he told GQ.
We do know that it will be eight episodes long, though whether or not it’ll be split in two like season 4 is still TBC.
Who will be in the cast of season 5 Stranger things?
All the old favourites will be back, including Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke and Priah Ferguson. Not to mention the, ahem, oldies: David Harbour, Winona Ryder, Paul Reiser, Brett Gelman and Matthew Modine. And the monster: Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays Vecna.
Do we know any details about the plot yet?
Details are still entirely shrouded in mystery, but the season will pick up with Max (Sadie Sink) coming off second best after an encounter with the demonic Vecna and in a coma. Oh, and the world facing an apocalypse.
‘There won't be a reset from where we finish this season [season 4],’ Matt Duffer told Empire. ‘Usually at the end of a season we tie things up with a nice bow before a little tease that says, “Hold on, something is unraveling.” As we move into season 5, we won’t have to do that.’
Sink isn’t giving anything away either, telling Today: ‘Spoiler-free, just with the way my character ended in season 4, I have no idea what is going to happen. But I’ll be there.’
What we do know – via a Netflix Instagram post – is that the opening episode of the finale season will be called ‘Chapter One: The Crawl’, and that it will be written by the Duffer brothers themselves. It’s been enough to send fans down a rabbit hole of speculation and theories over what comes next.
Will there be a Stranger Things spinoff series?
Yes, the show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, have big plans for a Stranger Thing spin-off. Don’t expect a return for Eleven, Dustin and co, though. The Duffers are taking things in a whole new direction.
‘I've read these rumors that there's gonna be an Eleven spin-off, that there's gonna be a Steve and Dustin spin-off, or that it's another number,’ Matt Duffer told the Happy Sad Confused podcast, via EW. ‘That's not interesting to me because we've done all that. We’ve spent I don't know how many hours exploring all of that. So it’s very different. The most important connective tissue, I would say, is the storytelling sensibility of it.’
Instead, the Duffers are promising to connect it more tangentially to the Stranger Things world and hand the task over to a new showrunner. ‘[We want to] find that right person to pass the baton to while we go on to do new stuff,’ said Matt Duffer.
And, while few details are known about it yet, the Duffers are also taking Stranger Things onto the stage – or at least, a production set ‘within the world and mythology of Stranger Things’. British producer Sonia Friedman and director-filmmaker Stephen Daldry suggest that it will begin life in London’s West End – and if it doesn’t, it’ll presumably begin in Broadway and then transfer across.