In February, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer—the “Duffer Brothers”—published an open letter about the series’ future. In the letter, addressed to “nerds” (fans), the Duffers teased Season 4, the biggest yet (the per episode budget was reported at $30 million). The letter also looked beyond, saying Season 4 would mark “the beginning of the end.”
The Duffers wrote that Season 4 would be the penultimate season, with Season 5 wrapping up the characters first introduced in Season 1. The brothers wrote they had always planned to run the show four or five seasons, explaining how they had mapped out an entire story arc going into Season 1. That story—with Eleven, Mike, Will, and Hopper—will end after Season 5.
But the Duffers didn’t say Season 5 would mark the end of Stranger Things as a franchise.
Those new “exciting stories” will apparently inform some kind of spin-off to the original series.
Here’s everything we know about Season 5 and the future of Stranger Things.
When Will Stranger Things Return for Season 5?
The good news: Stranger Things 5 is definitely happening. The uncertainty: because filming hasn’t begun, it’s unclear when it will air.
In a recent interview, the Duffers said they didn’t yet have shoot dates for the final season. They said they originally wanted to shoot Season 4 and Season 5 back-to-back, but because of the breadth of Season 4, this schedule proved impossible. The filming delay will mean, the Duffers said, that Season 5 will see a time jump from Season 4—likely accounting for the age of the actors.
While we don’t yet have a date, Netflix confirmed that the season will be released as a “binge model,” meaning it will not appear weekly, a model some streaming services are beginning to adopt.
We’re hoping for a late 2023 air date, though this may be optimistic, especially if the final season goes as big as Season 4.
What Will Stranger Things Season 5 Be About?
The Duffers have said that Season 5 will explore the origins of the Upside Down. It will also reportedly explore the physics of the world—why it appears trapped in a specific moment in time—and the pecking order of the monsters who inhabit the realm.
Season 4 introduced the Upside Down’s temporal stagnancy, with Nancy discovering that the realm appears to be stuck in 1983.
Season 4 also saw Eleven opening the portal to the Upside Down much earlier than we first believed; she zaps Henry Creel—who, spoiler alert, becomes Vecna—into the Upside Down in 1979.
How does the Upside Down then find itself in 1983? Was Henry Creel the first monster?
Season 5 will clarify all our Upside Down history questions.
What About That Stranger Things Spinoff?
Based on the Duffers’ letter, the Stranger Things spinoff won’t continue the story of the original cast of characters. It’s unclear if the spin-off will even take place in Hawkins.
The only thing known about the spinoff is that both Duffers will be involved—and that it could come in movie form.
In a recent interview with Variety, the Duffers gave an update on their progress.