Stranger Things season 5: Release date speculation, cast predictions and latest news
We're fast approaching the final battle for Hawkins.
Stranger Things Day has come and gone, with Netflix celebrating by launching limited edition merchandise and, of course, teasing what's to come for the Hawkins gang on socials.
Yes, that's right. We now know how Stranger Things season 5 will open, with the stranger writers' X (formerly Twitter) account unveiling the upcoming season's very first scene.
Gear up, it's a chilling one.
"Darkness. The sound of cold wind. Groaning trees. And.... a child's voice. Singing a familiar song," the script reads.
Of course, theories on which song the script could be referencing have flooded the internet in the wake of the scene reveal.
Many believe it could be Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, which ultimately didn't save Max (Sadie Sink) from succumbing to Vecna, but which could be keeping her alive should she be in a different dimension.
Other popular theories include Will's season 1 favourite, Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now by The Clash, and even Suzie and Dustin's Never Ending Story.
Unfortunately, it will be a while yet before we find out, as the SAG-AFTRA strike is still ongoing.
When production is able to resume, though, it looks like the team will be ready to go.
"I can't speak to how important Stranger Things is to Netflix in the strike talks, and I am not inclined to speak on their behalf," executive producer Shawn Levy told Variety. "I can say with confidence, I think every actor, director, producer, writer and crew member wants to get back to work."
Levy also promised a strong storyline for Noah Schnapp's Will.
"When we give Noah the juicy stuff, he delivers, and season 5 will be doing that once again," he told RadioTimes.com.
Looks like exciting stuff is on the horizon. But fans better keep the tissue box close when the season does premier, with Levy also teasing there will be "big tears, lots of them".
Stranger Things season 5 potential release date
We could see season 5 of Stranger Things land as early as 2024.
However, we might still have a while to wait. While filming was expected to begin in June 2023, production was paused due to the WGA strike. While that strike is now resolved, the SAG-AFTRA strike is ongoing.
We also don't yet know what release model the new season will take. Seasons 1 to 3 all released their entire runs in one go, while season 4 was released in two volumes, with volume 1 containing seven episodes and volume 2 containing two.
Whether season 5 sticks with this new split model, we'll have to wait and see.
First, we'll see the Stranger Things play The First Shadow come to London - with Netflix recently sharing a new behind-the-scenes look at the show. Check it out below:
How many episodes are in Stranger Things season 5?
The episode count for Stranger Things season 5 is currently unknown.
One thing is for certain: season 5 is sure to repeat the success of season 4, which smashed viewership records despite the hefty episode runtime, with episode 9 clocking in at an eye-watering two hours and 19 minutes.
However, the episodes won't be as long this time round except for the big finale, which is set to be “pretty massive”.
"The runtimes being as long as they were was something of a surprise to us. Ross and I have been trying to analyse how they ended up that long, because the scripts aren’t even that long," Matt Duffer told The Hollywood Reporter.
"We’ve realised that our writing style has changed a little bit, in terms of how we space out description. I think that added to some length. Also, we had an additional plot with Hopper in Russia. It’s a pretty dense season. We weren’t sure they were that long, really, until we got into edit."
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Ross added: "Our concern is pacing. If we can hold your interest for an hour and 15 minutes, then that’s a win. We did discuss breaking up [the finale]. We ultimately decided if it’s too long for someone, they can pause it and they can come back. It’s like reading a book. You can watch it at your own pace."
Matt added on the Happy Sad Confused podcast: "The only reason we don't expect it to be as long is because if you look at it, it's almost a two-hour ramp-up [in season 4] before our kids really get drawn into the supernatural mystery."
He continued: "You get to know them, you get to see them in their lives, what they're struggling with, adapting to high school, and so forth. Steve's trying to find a date, all of that. None of that obviously is going to be occurring in the first two episodes of [season 5]."
In a recent interview with Variety, Levy said that the team would "use all the tools available to us" to make the actors look younger, with some inferring that digital de-ageing would be utilised to achieve the effect.
However, speaking with Deadline, Levy confirmed this was not the case, saying: "No, I kind of was surprised that one sentence I said around this topic travelled so widely."
He continued: "The bottom line is, we know what we're doing on this show. Our cast is brilliant. And these characters that the Duffers [Matt and Ross Duffer, showrunners] have created are so vivid. I'm not worried about everyone suiting back up and bringing them to life."
The writers have also let slip the title for episode 1 – The Crawl. While it doesn't give much away, fans have been scrambling to think of what it could refer to.
Who could return to the Stranger Things season 5 cast?
We don't yet have a confirmed cast list for Stranger Things season 5 but we'd expect all the surviving central characters to be back for more. This includes the villainous Vecna, who was defeated in the season finale, but we're sure is likely to be back.
Here's a full list of the cast we'd expect to be back for Stranger Things season 5:
- Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers
- David Harbour as Jim Hopper
- Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven/Jane Hopper
- Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
- Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson
- Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair
- Noah Schnapp as Will Byers
- Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield
- Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler
- Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers
- Joe Keery as Steve Harrington
- Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley
- Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman
- Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair
- Paul Reiser as Dr Sam Owens
- Jamie Campbell Bower as Peter Ballard/Henry Creel/One/Vecna
- Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler
- Eduardo Franco as Argyle
- Gabriella Pizzolo as Susie
Plus, we officially have a new casting! Joining the cast as a newcomer is Linda Hamilton, whose casting was announced at a TUDUM fan event.
Two characters that likely won't be back for more are Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) and Dr Brenner (Matthew Modine), who both met their ends in season 4.
"I think there's a great beginning, there's a great middle and a great end for the character," he told us.
"And as an actor, you want characters with those kinds of arcs. So whilst it would have been great to come back for another season and get together with all those lovely people again, I think it was a brilliantly realised ending for a brilliantly written character."
Meanwhile, Modine told RadioTimes.com about how he'd love to return - so perhaps that door isn't completely shut.
Someone whose fate was left more open is Sadie Sink's Max, with the character currently in a coma and doctors unsure if she'll ever wake up. However, if we were to make a bet we'd expect her to still return in some form for season 5.
Meanwhile, if you were concerned about Max's status going into the final season due to her health predicament, then actress Sink is even less clear.
Speaking to Deadline, Sink discussed what she knew from the showrunners: "They’ve been very secretive about season five in general. We did have a conversation. They called me before I read the ninth episode because in the script it literally says that Max dies. So they called me beforehand and were like, ‘just warning you, this is in there, so you’re not like truly shocked.’
"I have no idea what’s coming in five and what that looks like. Max’s storyline is very up in the air, ’cause obviously she’s in a coma and Eleven can’t find her in the void. So who knows where she is and what state she’s in."
What's more, things are (for once) looking hopeful for Will, after Schnapp teased a "beautiful" ending for the character.
"I can just tell you that I'm very very excited for what's to come. I think they did a great job with Will's character this season, and beautifully addressed everything they needed to," he told Forbes.
"The way they closed the show is just perfect – the story started with Will, and it’ll end with Will."
What will Stranger Things season 5 be about?
We don't know exactly what story season 5 will tell but we've already had some teases from the creators and cast in interviews.
When season 5 was first announced, the Duffer Brothers said in a statement that the "complete story arc" was planned out seven years ago, and that the fifth outing will see the culmination of that plan.
In a later interview with SFX, they confirmed that the ending still fits "the rough sketch" they created, but it has become "more interesting and exciting than originally envisioned by [them] and Ross".
They said: "We know what the ending is. It's conceivable that it changes but I think it's unlikely because it's one of those endings that just feels, and has always felt, right. And it also feels sort of inevitable. Then when you come up with it, you're like, 'oh yeah well, that is absolutely what is has to be'."
Another thing we know is that season 5 is likely to feature a time jump, as Ross Duffer previously told TVLine: "I'm sure we will do a time jump. Ideally, we'd have shot [seasons 4 and 5] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that. So these are all discussions we're going to have with our writers when we start the room up."
During an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, which was recorded ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike, Stranger Things star David Harbour said of the scripts: "Before the strike we were sent scripts, they're terrific, as per usual. They continue to outdo themselves, these currently-on-strike writers called the Duffer Brothers."
Talking about the season 5 finale, he added: "It's a hell of an undertaking, too. I mean, the set-pieces and the things in the scripts that we saw are bigger than anything we've done in the past".
Harbour also revealed that the fifth instalment will pick up shortly after the events of the season 4 finale, adding: "After where season 4 ended — when you watch us on that hill looking at the ash and the smoke and fires – we're going to start somewhere after that. So you've got to imagine the world is a different place."
It also looks like season 5 is, like the previous seasons, going to be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Ross Duffer told The Wrap that when the creators pitched the final outing to Netflix "they really responded well to it. 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."
During an interview with Josh Horowitz on his Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Duffer Brothers teased a brisk pace for the final season, which will take place in Hawkins and pick up from season 4's cliffhanger ending, which saw The Upside Down finally merge with the regular world.
Duffer added: "For the first time ever, we don't wrap things up at the end of [season] 4, so... it's going to be moving pretty fast. Characters are already going to be in action.
"They're already going to have a goal and a drive, and I think that's going to carve out at least a couple hours and make this season feel really different."
Meanwhile, Levy promised that the final season of the hit show will be "as big as any of the biggest movies that we see".
He added to Total Film: "There’s no way to be contiguous with season 4, and not, frankly, expand scale and depth. It’s major, major, cinematic storytelling that happens to be called a TV series."
Recently, the opening to season 5's very first scene was unveiled by the writers, teasing a very creepy setting and a child singing a yet to be confirmed song.
We can't wait to find out more!
Is there a trailer for Stranger Things season 5?
No, there isn't a trailer available for Stranger Things season 5 just yet, but we'll make sure to keep this page updated as soon as we have any further news or a trailer becomes available.
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