Stranger Things Season 5 will be the last of the beloved Netflix series. And with the cast growing up so quickly, many fans have wondered when the fifth season will be released.
Production for Season 5 was initially slated to begin in May 2023. However, the WGA officially went on strike in the first week. And SAG-AFTRA soon followed with their own strike, following failed negotiations with the AMPTP. However, both strikes have been resolved now, and production will begin in Atlanta on January 4, 2024, under the working title “Cedar Lodge.”
With that being noted, here’s what we know so far about the upcoming final season of the series. Spoilers ahead for Season 4, so read at your own risk.
The Fifth and Final Season of Stranger Things
Four successful seasons later, Stranger Things was renewed for a fifth season. But the renewal is quite bittersweet. The show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers announced in February 2022 that Season 5 will be the last. The announcement was made with the official poster for Season 4.
“Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things,” the Duffer Brothers wrote in their open letter. “At the time, we predicted the story would last four or five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but — as you’ll soon see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season; Season 5 will be the last.”
“With nine scripts, over eight hundred pages, almost two years of filming, thousands of visual effects shots, and a runtime nearly twice the length of any previous season, Stranger Things 4 was the most challenging season yet, but also the most rewarding one,” said the Duffer Brothers.
The Duffer Brothers added that Season 4 was the “beginning of the end” and that their decision to split the fourth season into two parts was because of its runtime. They created the show and served as its showrunners since its premiere in 2016.
Although Stranger Things may be ending, its universe will continue, the show’s creators hinted.
“There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things, new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes,” they said.
What Happened in Season 4?
Max was ultimately a victim of Vecna’s curse in the season four finale. She was technically dead for a minute before Eleven restarted her heart with her powers. The last time we saw Max was when she was hospitalized and comatose. When Eleven tries to communicate with her telepathically, she receives no response.
As for Eddie, who was a major fan favorite in Season 4, he died trying to save his friends.
What Can Fans Expect for Season 5?
Stranger Things Season 5 will likely follow the gang’s final adventure as they band together to take on Vecna once and for all. The Duffer Brothers previously told TV Line that season five will be a time jump. They also confirmed to Collider that the last season will take place in Hawkins and the Upside Down. The show’s creators added in several interviews that the central focus of the last season will be to break down the mystery behind the Upside Down.
But one other thing they revealed to The Wrap was that the higher-ups at Netflix were emotional when they pitched their ideas for the final season.
“We do have an outline for Season 5. And we pitched it to Netflix, and they really responded well to it,” said Ross Duffer. “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.”
Ross Duffer also explained that Will is going to take center stage in the final season.
“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,” said Ross Duffer.
It’s Rumored that David Harbour Knows How Stranger Things Will End…
Harbour is rumored to know how the show is going to end. Fans also felt unsettled by the fact that Dustin was the only one mourning Eddie’s death. Luckily, the Duffer Brothers assured that Eddie will be honored in Season 5 and his demise will have “huge repercussions” for those who made it out alive.
Who in the Stranger Things Cast Will Return for Season 5?
Most of the cast stayed alive after Season 4. So we can expect these stars to return: Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, Noah Schnapp as Will, Prish Ferguson as Erica, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan, Maya Hawke as Robin, Joe Keery as Steve, David Harbour as Hopper, and Winona Ryder as Joyce.
Eddie Munsen played by Joseph Quinn, will sadly not return for Season 5. The Duffer Brothers confirmed Eddie’s death on the Happy Sad Confused podcast after the finale. However, the fates of several characters remain unknown, like Max, played by Sadie Sink, and Vecna, played by Jamie Campbell Bower.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Sink said that Max still has a pulse and is technically still alive. “I’m not sure where we’re going and what Max’s state is. It’s definitely all up in the air right now,” said Sink. “I’m just as excited as everyone else to find out where Max is and how she’s doing.”
Vecna, played by Jamie Campbell Bower, might also return to Season 5. Campbell Bower pointed out to EW that Vecna should be dead, but then he disappeared at the end. Separately, Campbell Bower told NME and hinted that Vecna may return.
As for new faces, we all know that Terminator star Linda Hamilton was announced to be joining the final season. Hamilton’s role remains a mystery though.
Stranger Things Season 5 Release Date
On May 6, the Duffer Brothers addressed the fans on the Stranger Writers’ Twitter account regarding the show’s status at that time. “Writing does not stop when filming begins,” they said in a post. “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…#wgastrong.”
Ahead of the strike, the show’s creators assured fans that the gap will hopefully be shorter between Seasons 4 and 5. However, as the strikes halted productions, including Stranger Things, that did significantly impact the show’s timeline. We still don’t know when the new season will be released. But, we do have a prediction from star Finn Wolfhard.
Wolfhard had predicted that Stranger Things Season 5 would most likely be released when he’s 22, which would be December 23, 2024, at the earliest.
For now, fans can rewatch the previous four seasons on Netflix.