The Stranger Things writers room officially opened for business on Tuesday, but the Duffer Brothers have been discussing the upcoming final season for months.
Back in May, the world went wild when the fourth season of Stranger Things finally hit our screens after being severely delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It had been three years since the last season of the sci-fi show — which was released in 2019 — but the fourth season was certainly worth the wait, with critics and fans heaping praise on the new episodes.
In fact, as soon as the feature-length finale aired, people shared their impatience for the next season, especially as it ended with a pretty huge cliffhanger.
So when it was announced that writing for Season 5 had officially begun, fans were unable to hide their excitement.
On Tuesday, the official Twitter account for the show’s writers room posted a photo of a whiteboard that was blank aside from the show’s logo and a large “5.”
Silhouettes of some of the writers in the room can be seen in the whiteboard’s reflection, and they confirmed that they were back to work as they captioned the picture, “Day 1.”
Followers wasted no time in tweeting their requests for Season 5’s storyline, which ranged from Eddie Munson coming back from the dead to Will Byers’s storyline being given a “happy ending.”
Others shared their hope that Steve Harrington will survive the series and that Max Mayfield will come out of the coma she was in at the end of Season 4 unscathed.
And while nobody can say for sure if any of the above will end up happening, the Duffer Brothers, the Stranger Things cocreators, have already dropped some hints about what we can expect from the final installments of the show.
Here is everything that Matt and Ross Duffer have revealed about Season 5.
First things first, the Duffers have already confirmed that fans will not have to wait anywhere near as long for Season 5 as they did for Season 4. They have always maintained that the delays were solely due to the pandemic, and if they had it their way it’d have been out much sooner.
Speaking to Variety in May, the showrunners said that the time between seasons “should be quite a bit shorter this time.” They added: “We can’t imagine there will be another six-month forced hiatus.”
But the hiatus wasn’t all bad, with the brothers using their time in lockdown to plan what will happen in the final season of the show. As a result, they already know the exact direction that they are going to take it.
In fact, even though the writers room only opened its doors yesterday, the last 20 minutes of Stranger Things has been “locked in” for quite a while — and the brothers “feel good” about what they have in store.
“We do feel good about this ending,” Matt told Collider. “I’m not super insecure. I’m insecure about a lot of things, but I feel like this ending feels good.”
And while they would never share any specific plot details before the episodes aired, Ross has revealed that their pitch for Season 5 left multiple Netflix execs in tears.
“I mean, it was hard. It’s the end of the story. I saw executives crying who I’ve never seen cry before and it was wild,” he told the Wrap.
“And it’s not just to do with the story,” he insisted. “Just the fact that it’s like, ‘Oh my God, this thing that has defined so many of our lives, these Netflix people who have been with us from the beginning, seven years now,’ and it’s hard to imagine the journey coming to an end.”
Ross also promised that they will tie up all of the loose ends surrounding the Upside Down, leaving no room for plot holes. He said that every part of the storyline so far will lead them to the show’s conclusion.
“The answers to what the Upside Down actually is, is really gonna be the core of what Season 5 is, and the mysteries of Season 5,” he said on Netflix Geeked. “And those answers are really gonna lead us to the conclusion of this story.”
As for the key differences between seasons 4 and 5, the Duffers have said that they don’t anticipate the final season being as long because the episodes will ultimately have a faster pace.
“I don’t know if it’s gonna be going 100 miles per hour at the start of five, but it’s gonna be moving pretty fast,” Matt told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “Characters are already gonna be in action, they’re already gonna have a goal and drive, and I think that’s gonna carve out at least a couple hours and make this season feel really different.”
But Ross believes that the finale will be feature-length like the Season 4 finale. In fact, he said that it could end up being a “two-and-a-half-hour episode” so that the show’s climax and “wind down” will be in the same installment.
And despite Season 4’s huge cultural impact of reviving classic songs from the ’80s, as seen with Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” the Duffers won’t be making a moment out of any other historic songs in Season 5.
“We’re not going to do that again because if we do it, it will fail,” Matt told Collider.
The brothers told the same publication that after Season 4 was set between Indiana, California, and Russia, it’ll be back to basics for the final season, as the majority of the action will take place in Hawkins, Indiana, and the Upside Down in a homage to the show’s first season.
“This is about everyone finally coming back. Coming back together, coming back to Hawkins. Hopper is back in Hawkins, the original group back together — the original group of boys plus Eleven,” Matt said.
“The OG group. There’s something interesting to re-explore some of the Season 1 dynamics again, except on this grander scale,” he added.
And while the Duffers have remained tightlipped over the fate of fan favorites Eddie, Will, and Max, they have given tidbits of information over the past few months, including just how significant Max’s coma will turn out to be.
In fact, Matt insisted on Netflix Geeked that Max being in a coma instead of being killed off wasn’t just a writing cop-out, as he revealed that it’ll become hugely significant in the final season.
“The fact that she’s in a coma, I can’t really get into the details, but it is important that she is,” he said. “That is gonna have a major effect on five. So it’s not a cheat. It’s incredibly relevant to five.”
Matt also said that Eddie’s death will become more relevant as the series progresses, telling the Happy Sad Confused podcast: “Eddie is gonna have huge repercussions on Season 5, so it’s not just serving thematic purpose, it’s serving narrative purpose.”
In the same chat, Matt refuted Eleven actor Millie Bobby Brown’s claim that he and Ross are too “sensitive” to kill off main characters. He hinted that more people could die as the episodes go on.
Addressing Millie’s criticism, he said: “Believe us, we’ve explored all options in the writing room.” Matt then said that more deaths could be “on the table,” as “they are headed towards the end of the show.”
And even though fans are holding onto hope that long-suffering Will will finally catch a break in the final season, Matt told Collider that he will be a “big part” of what’s to come, which mirrors Will’s central role in Season 1.
“Will’s going to be a big part and focus, is really all I can say of Season 5, in his journey. We’re starting to see his coming of age, really, which has been challenging for a number of reasons,” the creator said. “Some of which are supernatural. But you’re starting to see him come into his own.”
With the show’s characters being so young, the Duffers have also admitted that they may be forced to “do a time jump” in the final season to account for the cast’s visible aging.
The young actors are now three to five years older than the characters that they play due to the filming time lost to COVID-19, with the brothers originally wanting to film the final two seasons back to back.
“I’m sure we will do a time jump,” Ross told TV Line. “Ideally we’d have shot back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that. These are all discussions we’re going to have with our writers when we start the room up.”
And despite fans’ wishes for Stranger Things to continue beyond Season 5, the Duffers are firm in their stance that this really will be the last season of the show.
Confirming the end in a letter that was posted to social media in February, the brothers wrote: “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.”
And as sad as it will be for us all to say goodbye, it sounds like the Duffer Brothers will at least make it a goodbye to remember.