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Stranger Things season 5: Everything we know so far

If you’re like us, you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting with bated breath to hear some juicy news about Stranger Things season 5. Understandably, season 5, the finale of Netflix’s Stranger Things, is now one of the most highly anticipated television events in history. Since Vecna succeeded in tearing open a massive gate to the Upside Down, audiences now expect the heroes of Hawkins to engage in an epic final battle against the evil psychic and his army of monsters.

At this point, details regarding the season to end all seasons have been scarce, and the world likely won’t get to see the show’s last episodes for quite a while. In the meantime, here’s everything that has been revealed and should be expected from Stranger Things 5.

Stranger Things season 5 release date

The main villain of Stranger Things 4.

As season 5 is due to start production in May 2023, we’re most likely a year or more away from the release of the new content on Netflix. However, actor Finn Wolfhard did hint that the final season could air sometime in 2025. In an interview with GQ, Wolfhard said that he would be 22 by the time the fifth season premieres. Since he is currently 20 years old, his statement indicates the show will return sometime after Wolfhard’s 22nd birthday, December 23, 2024.

Judging by the show’s history, past seasons were usually launched in the summer, so a good estimate for Stranger Things season 5 would be during the summer of 2025, from about May to July. Go ahead and mark your calendars and make sure you have no plans during those few months; we’ll wait.

Stranger Things season 5 cast

Eddie in "Stranger Things."

Season 4 spent a lot of time introducing a variety of new characters like Eddie, Argyle, Dmitri, Yuri, Vecna, and Victor Creel, to name a few. This all contributed to the season’s extraordinarily long runtime, which many audiences took issue with.

Fortunately, the Duffers revealed on Netflix Geeked that the fifth season will not bring in any new players to join the war for Hawkins, which will leave more time for the show to focus on the original cast and developing their characters. It will also give audiences a break from the show’s habit of introducing lovable characters and quickly killing them off. We’re likely going to see all of the originals at some point, but here’s a quick breakdown of who’s still in:

  • Eleven — played by Millie Bobby Brown
  • Mike Wheeler — played by Finn Wolfhard
  • Will Byers — played by Noah Schnapp
  • Dustin Henderson — played by Gaten Matarazzo
  • Lucas Sinclair — played by Caleb McLaughlin
  • Max Mayfield — played by Sadie Sink
  • Steve Harrington — played by Joe Keery
  • Nancy Wheeler — played by Natalia Dyer
  • Johnathan Byers — played by Charlie Heaton
  • Robin Buckley — played by Maya Hawke
  • Jim Hopper — played by David Harbour
  • Joyce Byers — played by Winona Ryder
  • Murray Bauman — played by Brett Gelman
  • Vecna/Henry Creel/One — played by Jamie Campbell Bower

So, no instant fan favorites will be introduced this season. The focus is going to be solely on the originals, which is certainly a welcome move for the final season. Of course, there may or may not be a cameo — through a flashback or something — of Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson, who did perish last season in a glorious battle of metal and blood. Everyone loved him, however, so sometimes you just have to give the people what they want. We shall see soon enough.

Noah Schnapp, by the way — who plays Will Byers in the show — has become a resourceful entrepreneur outside of his acting career. You can read all about it in Digital Trends’ Noah Schnapp interview.

Stranger Things season 5 plot

With the major questions out of the way, let’s talk about some of the other details we know, or that have been confirmed by the showrunners.

Stranger Things season 5 will have a time jump

Vecna's grandfather clock in "Stranger Things."

According to Screen Rant, like the show’s previous seasons, season 5 will begin quite some time after the fourth ended. One might assume that the show will pick up after season 4’s shocking cliffhanger, but the show’s creators understandably want more time to pass, given that most of the cast is still maturing and that the last two seasons took two to three years to complete.

This time jump could thus have the series return to Hawkins long after the residents have evacuated the town, which could become overrun by Vecna’s forces from the Upside Down.

Season 5 will take place entirely in Hawkins

A daytime view of the destruction in Hawkins, Indiana, from the end of Stranger Things season 4.

Season 4 of Stranger Things proved to be the show’s biggest yet in terms of scope. It followed the heroes living separately from each other and traveling through Hawkins, California, Russia, and even the Upside Down. In contrast, the final season will primarily follow the cast in Hawkins and the Upside Down.

While that may not sound like anything new, the Upside Down did seep through the giant gate that ripped through Hawkins, so audiences may see the town turned into a postapocalyptic wasteland warped by the alternate realm.

Will plays a greater role in season 5

Will Byers sits on a couch in season 4 of Stranger Things.

Will Byers played an important part in the show’s first two seasons, having been the first person to be dragged into the Upside Down and come back alive. Though the previous two seasons explored Will’s isolation from his friends and his closeted sexuality, he has very much taken a back seat from the rest of the group. However, Matt Duffer revealed to Collider that season 5 will have a strong focus on Will and show him “come into his own.”

Will has long shared a psychic connection with Vecna and the Upside Down’s hive mind, giving him the ability to sense their presence and activity. This power could be crucial to his role in the show’s final episodes, and it could even become the key to stopping Vecna once and for all. Since the show began with Will’s disappearance, it’s only fair that it ends with him getting the spotlight.

Cut season 2 content will be in Stranger Things season 5

Stranger Things season 2 Thessalhydra

In an article by Netfix Tudum, the Duffer Brothers have revealed that the final season will use a lot of leftover ideas that they came up with for season 2, and that alone has significant implications. The series’ second season shows Will struggling to live his life after returning from the Upside Down as he becomes possessed by the Mind Flayer and, therefore, Vecna.

It also depicts Eleven exploring her past and reuniting with her old friend from Hawkins Lab, Kali. As a result, the final season may show Will once again being overcome by Vecna’s influence, and Eleven may team up with Kali one last time to save Hawkins.

The finale is going to be emotional

Eleven and the gang from Stranger Things Season 3.

While talking to The Hollywood Reporter, the Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy made it clear that the season’s storyline is going to be an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. “We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying.”

Levy also made it clear the story will center on the beloved characters. “Season five is already so clearly taking care of these stories of the characters because that’s always been the lifeblood of Stranger Things.”

Another little tidbit they shared is that the theme, tone, and experience would go full circle, meaning it will be more reminiscent of the show’s earlier seasons, just on a bigger scale. Whatever the case may be, we’re excited and we can’t wait.

How many episodes will be in Stranger Things season 5?

The cast of Stranger Things season 4.

A total of eight episodes have been confirmed for the show’s upcoming season, with the first episode being titled The Crawl. Right now, it’s unknown how long each episode will be, but the Duffer Brothers stated on Happy Sad Confused that the series’ last episode will have a runtime similar to season 4’s two-and-a-half-hour-long finale.

This will surely make for a big conclusion, and the Duffers have even stated that it will give “all the characters a proper send-off,” describing it as “Return of the King-ish with eight endings.”

Who’s dead or dies in Stranger Things season 5?

Max in "Stranger Things."

Season 4 featured some major character deaths that shocked many audiences, including that of Eleven’s “papa,” Dr. Brenner. Though this isn’t the first time that Brenner appeared to bite the dust in this series, the Duffers confirmed on Happy Sad Confused that the doctor is dead “for real this time.”

Newcomer and fan-favorite Eddie Munson also gave his life fighting off a swarm of Demobats to protect Dustin and Hawkins. While it’s pretty clear he died, actor Joseph Quinn told E! News that he is hoping to return to the show as Eddie, at least for a brief cameo. “I’d be very up for it,” said Quinn. “But yeah, let’s see.”

Lastly, poor Max briefly died after Vecna broke her bones, allowing him to create the giant gate to the Upside Down. Though Eleven restarted her heart, Max was left in a comatose state, leaving her ultimate fate unclear. “I have no idea what’s coming in [season 5] and what that looks like,” Sink said to Deadline. “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?”

As for who might leave the land of the living in Stranger Things season 5, we don’t really know and there hasn’t been much shared about it. We’re just going to have to wait to find out.

What will we learn about the Upside Down in Stranger Things season 5?

Stranger Things

The Upside Down has long been one of the show’s greatest mysteries. This parallel universe is an almost exact copy of the human world, but season 4 revealed it was not always like this and that it looked the same as Hawkins on the day the series began, the day Eleven first opened the Mothergate.

According to Netflix Life, audiences will finally get some concrete answers about this strange world in the next season. “The only thing we don’t delve into in [season 4] volume 2 is Upside Down lore,” said Ross Duffer. “We hint at it. I’m sure someone on Reddit will be able to maybe piece it together, but a lot of those answers for the Upside Down or that is really what the basis of season 5 is about.”

Is Stranger Things season 5 going to be the final season?

Joyce – Stranger Things - Winona Ryder | TVs Most Badass Moms

It has been confirmed by the Duffer Brothers that season 5 will indeed bring the Stranger Things story and plotline to a conclusion. That means, when it’s all done, Eleven, her friends and companions, the Upside Down, and most characters involved in the story will be sunset — hopefully, with a satisfying wrap-up.

What did David Harbour say about Stranger Things season 5?

When discussing the show’s fifth season in an interview with Discussing Film, David Harbour was upfront about how it needs to be its last season. “I think it’s a great show, even if I wasn’t in it,” he said. “Now we’re almost nine years from filming the first season, and I think it is time for it to end. But it is, of course, very bittersweet.”

The good news is that even though this is the last season of the mainline series, we may see more Netflix shows and content set in the Stranger Things universe. The Duffers have teased a potential spinoff or two. While talking to Variety, they said, “There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things. New mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes.”

Only Finn Wolfhard knows what the Stranger Things spinoff show is about

Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink stand in a crowd during a high-school rally in a scene from Stranger Things 4.

Apparently, Finn Wolfhard was able to guess the concept for the new show. “Somehow, Finn Wolfhard – who is one crazy smart kid – correctly guessed what it was going to be about. But aside from Finn, no one else knows!”

“We haven’t told anyone the idea yet, much less written it,” they added later on. “We think everyone – including Netflix – will be surprised when they hear the concept, because it’s very, very different.”

Whatever the case may be, with the Duffers we’re certainly in for a wild ride, so buckle up while you still can.

If you want to take a trip down memory lane, and recap some of the story beats, be sure to check out our guide on the ten most important moments in Stranger Things. You might also be interested to see the magic behind the vines and gore of season 4’s VFX.

When does Stranger Things season 5 start filming?

David Harbour sits and stares in Stranger Things.

Usually when a movie and TV show starts production, that starts the unofficial countdown to a concrete release date. While we still don’t know when Stranger Things season 5 will become available on Netflix, we do know when it will start filming. That’s thanks to star David Harbour, who revealed at Middle East Film & Comic Con in Abu Dhabi that he will begin filming his scenes for the last season of Stranger Things in June, 2023.

According to Collider, Harbour said: “We’re walking into season five. I’ve got a couple more months to train. We start shooting that in June, though, and that will be the final season. I did a lot of training for season four. He [Hopper] was in a very specific position, that Russian prison. It was about making him a different guy and sort of shedding a layer of himself physically, mentally, and emotionally. But now he’s back in town, he’s back in America where they have cheeseburgers, so he will be well-fed.”

This conflicts a bit with what Noah Schnapp said earlier in the year, when he revealed he would be filming his scenes in May. It’s possible that both actors are correct and are just on different shooting schedules. Either way, we’re just a little bit closer to Stranger Things season 5 becoming a reality.

A preview of what Stranger Things season 5 will be like

Recently, we got a sneak peak as to what the upcoming season of Stranger Things will be like. On Twitter account @strangerwriters, which is the official account for the Stranger Things writer room, an anonymous writer shared the following Tweet:

Season 5 is like if season 1 and 4 had a baby. And then that baby was injected with steroids.

— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) March 21, 2023

Whoa! While not exactly detailed, the Tweet gives you a reasonable parameter as to what season 5 will be like: epic like season 4 but with a more personal touch like the show’s season 1. This makes sense, as the writers will most likely want to keep up exploring the bigger picture, and just how powerful the Upside Down can be, the final season. If you remember, season 4 had more monsters, more characters, and more of a detailed backstory about Eleven, the origins of Vecna, and how the Upside Down came to be in Hawkins.

Because this is the last season, the writers also want to return to what made the show so special: a tight focus on the four friends — Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will — and how their bond helped those around them (Joyce, Sheriff Hopper, Eleven, Nancy, Jonathan). With season 4’s finale leaving everyone back in Hawkins, it makes sense to return to the original season’s tight focus on those characters.

Saying goodbye is hard, especially for Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin)

Gaten Matarazzo Talks Stranger Things' Final Season and Joining the Cast of Sweeney Todd (Extended)

With Stranger Things‘ season 5 set to be its last, a number of stars have voiced their angst regarding the show’s inevitable end. One of them is Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on the show. The actor recently stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to promote his new Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Of course, Fallon couldn’t resist asking about Stranger Things, and Gaten was more than happy to share his somewhat sad feelings about the show’s end.

Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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