Stranger Things is returning to netflix for a fifth and final season, but there’s been little to no progress on the show since May 2023 due to ongoing strikes by both writers and actors. However, things are starting to get back on track. Here’s our updated massive preview of Stranger Things season 5, where we’ll cover everything you need to know about the fifth and final season of the show on netflix.
Please note: this preview was first published in July 2022 and has been updated over time to reflect new developments and updates. It was last updated in August 2023.
Since its introduction in July 2016, Stranger Things has been and continues to be one of netflix’s flagship shows. Each season has gone from strength to strength, increasing in popularity with every new outing.
Breaking records, including the Nielsen streaming record with 7.2 billion minutes in a single week, the show’s fourth season ranks second in netflix’s all-time most-watched list only behind the first season of Wednesday. The demand for the show was so high on the release of volume 2 that some netflix users briefly experienced crashes as subscribers raced to consume the epic conclusion of season 4.
Official netflix Renewal Status: Renewed on February 17th, 2022
netflix officially announced a fifth season alongside its plans of what would be a super-sized season 4 of Stranger Things released in the summer of 2022.
Matt and Ross Duffer released a letter explaining that Season 5 will be the conclusion of the series and will complete the story arc they intended for the series.
Ahead of the fourth season release and the season 5 announcement, The Duffer Brothers were previously unsure about how many seasons it would take to tell the full story of Stranger Things. Speaking about the length of the show ahead of time, Ross Duffer said:
“We don’t actually know. I think, you know, four to five seasons is likely where we’ll end up, but who knows? I mean, none of this is official, and we know where we want to go. We’re trying to figure out still how long it’ll take to get there, so we’ll see.”
Matt seemed to know well ahead of time that the series would conclude with a fifth season:
“It’s hard like four seems short, five seems long. So I don’t know what to do.”
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Welcome to Hell, aka Hawkins
Despite their best efforts, Vecna, aka Henry aka 001, successfully carried out his plan to tear open a giant gate between the Upside Down and the real world. Dozens of people died in the chaos, and residents are leaving en masse to escape further danger.
Thanks to the giant smoke plumes emitted from the giant gates, the particles falling all around Hawkins will result in any and all plant life decaying rapidly. Soon the real-world Hawkins will emulate the look of Hawkins from the Upside Down as Vecna’s vision for his “beautiful” new world begins to take shape.
As Hawkins falls deeper and deeper into chaos, expect to see a large military presence surrounding the town, with only very few residents and our heroes staying behind to keep fighting Vecna.
Vecna’s Return / 001 vs 011
Vecna came extremely close to being killed by Nancy, Steve, and Robin, but he could escape before anyone could deal a killing blow. It’s unclear how injured he is, and how long it takes to recover from multiple shotgun blasts and Molotov cocktails. Once fully recovered, we expect to see Vecna unleash his true powers on Hawkins and unleash the hordes of monsters from the Upside Down.
Eleven is the only person capable of fighting Vecna one-on-one, and she barely survived her second encounter with him. There’s no denying Eleven’s strength is vast, but it’s more than likely we’ve barely scratched the surface of what her true potential is. If Eleven wants to defeat Vecna, she must practice and hone her powers.
Hawkins to be Quarantined?
Given the danger that the gates pose to Hawkins and the rest of the world, the military may declare martial law and potentially quarantine Hawkins. We can expect a robust military presence, especially if Demogorgons and other monstrosities begin to surf from the gates.
Sadly, for the people of Hawkins, those unable to get out of the town before a quarantine starts may have to fend for themselves while the military wage war against the forces of the Upside Down.
Will takes a central role in Season 5
In a Variety piece in August 2023, the Duffers told the trade magazine that Will will take “center stage again in [season] 5”, adding:
“This emotional arc for him is what we feel is going to hopefully tie the whole series together. Will is used to being the young one, the introverted one, the one that’s being protected. So part of his journey, it’s not just sexuality — it’s Will coming into his own as a young man.”
What will happen to the gates?
If Eleven successfully defeats Vecna, this doesn’t guarantee the gates to the Upside Down will be closed. It may require Eleven to replicate what she did with the gate under Hawkin’s Lab in the second season and forcibly close it herself. That first gate was large but pales compared to what Vecna has done to Hawkins. Not only will it take every ounce of Eleven’s power, but closing the gates may require Eleven to sacrifice herself.
Will Max wake up?
Max’s death resulted in Vecna’s plan coming to fruition, but Eleven unexpectedly brought Max back to life. Between dying, having her limbs snapped, and potentially becoming blind, it’s no wonder Max is in a coma. We fully expect Max to wake up, but what condition she will be in remains to be seen.
If Max wakes up and is fully healed, Eleven can bring back people from the dead. The consequences of such power haven’t been explored yet, but with some potential deaths headed our way in season 5, Eleven will be needed more than ever.
Speaking on the TODAY program, Sadie said, “We know that it’s happening and that it’s the last season, so it’s going to be emotional, I’m sure,” adding, “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.”
The Duffer Brothers have already announced that another time skip will happen in the story and potentially pick back up around 1988 or 1989. This coincides with the real-life ages of the actors, who are already outgrowing their 15-year-old counterparts, such as Gaten Matarazzo, who turns 20 in September 2022, and during the production of season 5, will turn 21.
Finally, as to what we can expect, the Stranger Things writing staff gave us a clue when they Tweeted:
“Season 5 is like if season 1 and 4 had a baby. And then that baby was injected with steroids.”
Official Production Status: Pre-production but still halted due to ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes
Collider first reported that writing for the fifth season would begin in August 2022, which was subsequently confirmed with a tweet from the Stranger Things writers’ account on August 2nd, 2022
Per our reporting in December 2022, filming was originally scheduled to start on Stranger Things season 5 in May 2023.
Production listings state the series will continue filming in Atlanta, Georgia, as per prior seasons. It’s expected to return to EUE/Screen Gems Studios Atlanta Studio, which has been home to Stranger Things since season 1. The 33-acre Atlanta studio complex boasts 11 stages and was the first full-service production studio campus to open in Atlanta.
The season 5 working title/codename is reported to be “JERICHO.”
New casting grids and production listings on various sources currently state that season 5 was to begin filming in early June 2023 and not wrap up until late June 2024. Yes, that means season 5 is scheduled to be in production for an entire year, as current reports stand. Each episode will reportedly cost north of $20 million.
As you may know, however, the series has been severely impacted by the ongoing writers’ strike from May 2023 onwards and the SAG-AFTRA strike beginning in July 2023.
That initial WGA strike delayed the start of production for the fifth season, which the Duffer Brothers confirmed through the Stranger Things writer’s Twitter account. Of course, all the actors are represented by SAG-AFTRA, meaning both strikes must be resolved before filming begins.
On May 6th, the Duffers wrote on the Stranger Writers account that ruled out any filming taking place without the involvement of the writer’s posting:
“Duffers here. Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike. We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then — over and out. #wgastrong”
Joseph Quinn, who previously played beloved fan favorite Eddie Munson in the fourth season of the series, gave a shoutout and support to the writers from the show after his MTV Award Win for Breakthrough Performance:
“I don’t think that people would connect with a character like Eddie or others in the Stranger Things universe without compassionate, intelligent, quality writing.
Being a writer is a hard job. It deserves respect. If we respect each other, we can cultivate a kinder, more inclusive, more collaborative environment for everyone that’d be nice.”
Despite the strikes, it does appear that set building has been allowed to take place throughout the summer of 2023, with video editor and videographer Jared (itsjaredfilm on Twitter) posting videos and photos of the numerous sets that have been erected in Atlanta, Georgia.
— Jared (@itsjaredfilm) August 7, 2023
The writer’s strike ended in late September, with the Stranger Writers account confirming they were back in business for season 5 as of September 27th.
Following the end of the writer’s strike, a report from Variety stated that “Netflix’s priority is scripting and filming the fifth and final season of ‘Stranger Things’ before its aging stars can no longer pass for high schoolers.”
In early October, Jared posted again that set work was ongoing, but as it stands on October 6th, no production can take place given the SAG-AFTRA strikes have yet to be resolved.
— Jared (@itsjaredfilm) October 5, 2023
As part of Stranger Things Day 2022 (which took place on November 7th, 2022), the season 5 episode 1 chapter name was revealed.
- Episode 501 – Chapter One: The Crawl – Written by The Duffer Brothers
- Episode 502 – ???
- Episode 503 – ???
- Episode 504 – ???
- Episode 505 – ???
- Episode 506 – ???
- Episode 507 – ???
- Episode 508 – ???
In June 2023, Netflix confirmed (One Take News first reported it) that Dan Trachtenberg (Prey, 10 Cloverfield Lane) would be directing a single episode for the fifth season.
The cast for Stranger Things has swelled in recent years, and expect a big ensemble cast for the final season.
We expect all of the following actors to return in Stranger Things season 5:
- Eleven – Millie Bobby-Brown
- Peter / 001 / Henry / Vecna – Jamie Campbell Bower
- Mike Wheeler – Finn Wolfhard
- Dustin Henderson – Gaten Matarazzo
- Lucas Sinclair – Caleb McLaughlin
- Will Byers – Noach Schnapp
- Joyce Byers – Winona Ryder
- Jonathan Byers – Charlie Heaton
- Jim Hopper – David Harbour
- Max Mayfield – Sadie Sink
- Nancy Wheeler – Natalia Dyer
- Steve Harington – Joe Keery
- Robin Buckley – Maya Hawke
- Murray – Brett Gelman
- Erica Sinclair – Pirah Ferguson
- Argyle – Eduardo Franco
- Karen Wheeler – Cara Buono
- Ted Wheeler – Joe Chrest
- Vickie – Amybeth McNulty
There’s no news on any new cast members for season 5, although The Duffer Brothers are on the record saying they’ll “stay away” from introducing new characters.
Per Puck News, the cast negotiated a pay rise going into season 5. Winona Ryder and David Harbour are expected to net $9.5 million for the season. Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink at just over $7 million for the season. Series regulars such as Natalia Dyer, Maya Hawke, Charlie Heaton, and Joe Keery will net over $6 million for the final season.
In April 2023, we got word that Netflix was casting the following minor roles, including multiple army/military guys plus two kids aged between 8 and 10. Two jobs listing outlined the two new children that would feature:
“[DEREK] Character is portrayed as 8-10yo, male, any ethnicity, overweight. An outsider with no friends, he is rude to adults — and a bully to those his age.
[APRIL] Character is portrayed as 8-10yo, female, white. Active and inquisitive, she is a happy, friendly kid.”
In June 2023, at the live event called Netflix TUDUM, we learned of the first major new star that had boarded the final season in the form of Linda Hamilton. Best known for her roles in The Terminator franchise, Hamilton’s role has yet to be officially unveiled, although it’s speculated it’ll be part of the military that’s descended onto Hawkins.
Alongside the announcement of The Duffer Brothers re-upping their Netflix deal, we also got word they’re working on multiple spin-offs – some of which we’ve got more information on.
In December 2022, we got word about one of the new spin-offs, described as an anime series set in Tokyo during the 1980s. The logline we have for the new anime series, which hasn’t been officially confirmed, is as follows:
“An encounter with the Upside Down evolves into a grand adventure for video game-loving twin brothers living on the outskirts of 1980s Tokyo.”
In April 2023, we also got word of a new animated series described as a Saturday morning cartoon. What’s on Netflix can exclusively reveal the logline for that new series:
“About a young girl Janet who has moved in with her uncle Brody after being in social services for years. Follows their dynamic as she learns to navigate having a real family and he learns to care for someone other than himself.”
To recap, here are all the various spin-offs and other Stranger Things projects coming in the near future:
- Untitled Stranger Things Animated Series – Described as a Saturday morning cartoon.
- Stranger Things: Tokyo – Yet-to-be-confirmed anime series spinoff.
- Untitled Stranger Things Live-Action Series – Spin-off series based on an original idea by The Duffer Brothers, with Upside Down and 21 Laps producing.
- Stranger Things: The First Shadow – Live performance play due to begin in London in late 2023.
- Stranger Things VR – The video game VR project from Tender Claws will be released in late 2023.
- Stranger Things Comics – Currently announced projects include Tales from Hawkins and The Many Ghosts of Dr. Brenner.
This is in addition to some of the other projects The Duffer Brothers and 21 Laps are working on for Netflix. The Duffers are working on a Death Note adaptation, a sci-fi series called The Boroughs, and the Stephen King adaptation The Talisman.
When is Stranger Things Season 5 coming to Netflix?
With a delay in the start of production with Stranger Things season 5, any hope of seeing the series return in 2024 is likely zero.
With a year of filming planned and potentially not starting until the end of Summer or even into the Fall, any hope of a 2024 release date is over; we now expect Stranger Things season 5 to be released on Netflix sometime in the Spring or Summer of 2025 at the absolute earliest.
Are you looking forward to the fifth and final season of Stranger Things on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!