Get ready to say goodbye to Upside Down.
Netflix revealed early Thursday that stranger things will end with a newly announced fifth season. The streamer also laid out a release date strategy for its long-awaited fourth season and hinted that a brand new stranger things the series could be in preparation.
“Seven years ago, we planned the full story arc for stranger things,” creators Matt and Ross Duffer wrote in an open letter to fans. “At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It turned out to be too big to tell in four but – as you will see for yourselves – we are now racing towards our finale.
Netflix has announced the premiere date for the fourth season of the 1980s sci-fi drama, which is split into two parts. Season four “Volume 1” will debut on May 27 (a whopping three years after season three aired). The second half of the fourth season, Volume 2, will debut on July 1. It’s unusual for Netflix to slightly stagger the release of a single season of a drama series rather than following its usual strategy of dropping all episodes at once, and the Duffer Brothers explained the decision.
“It’s been a while,” they wrote. “With nine scripts, over eight hundred pages, nearly two years of filming, thousands of visual effects shots, and a runtime nearly twice as long as any previous season, stranger things 4 has been the toughest season yet, but also the most rewarding. Everyone involved is incredibly proud of the results and we can’t wait to share them with you. Given the unprecedented length, and to get it to you ASAP, Season 4 will be released in two volumes.
The marketing slogan of the season: “Every end has a beginning.”
Here is the official description for Season 4: “It has been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Grappling with the consequences, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made it any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a horrifying new supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, could finally bring an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.
Sources say production on season five has yet to begin, so an official timeline for when the drama starring Winona Ryder, David Harbor and Millie Bobby Brown will truly end is yet to be determined.
The creators also strongly hinted that stranger things could get a sequel or spin-off series beyond the show’s current story and cast: “There are still many more exciting stories to be told in the world of stranger things: new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes. But first, we hope you stick with us as we wrap up this story of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, a broken police chief and a fierce mother, a small town called Hawkins and from an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down.”
stranger things ending sooner rather than later shouldn’t come as a surprise. As the Duffers noted, they publicly argued for years that the series wouldn’t have a particularly long run.
“Season four won’t be the end,” said Ross Duffer The Hollywood Reporter in August 2020. “We know what the end is and we know when it is. [The pandemic] gave us time to look ahead, to figure out what’s best for the show. Starting to fill in this gave us a better idea of how much time we need to tell this story.
Yet sources say that despite the show’s resounding success on the platform, Netflix executives are routinely frustrated with the long delays between stranger things seasons, the skyrocketing cost of the show (season four would have been well over budget), and the demands of the Duffer brothers’ creators. The siblings signed a massive nine-figure overall film and TV deal with Netflix in late 2019, when the drama was officially renewed for a fourth season.
Even without formal evaluation data, stranger things is easily among Netflix’s biggest franchises. The series remains an awards contender – it garnered 31 Emmy nominations (winning six) and created what is likely a multi-million dollar merchandising licensing business with a range of comic books, interactive experiences , mobile games and other revenue-generating consumer products.
What’s more, the stranger things actors have seen their profiles rise thanks in part to the success of the show. The show’s adult and youth cast all successfully renegotiated their contracts ahead of season three (a common practice for a hit series) to earn massive pay raises. The young stars – Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp – have secured around 12 times their previous offers and are earning $250,000 per episode. Adult stars Ryder and Harbor saw their salaries soar to $350,000 per episode. Breakout Brown is said to win somewhere between these two levels. Additionally, executive producer Shawn Levy has also benefited from the success of the show and is on his second rich overall deal with the streamer, where he has several projects in the works.
While Netflix owns stranger things bluntly, the streamer is always inclined to wrap up series early in their run, as costs skyrocket as a show ages. In the time between the seasons of strange things, prolific creator Shonda Rhimes also delivered a new franchise, Bridgerton, which eclipsed the Duffers’ drama as the streamer’s most-watched English original. It is unclear whether, financially speaking, its merchandising and live events have made Bridgerton – already renewed for several seasons and with a spin-off already in the works – Netflix’s most valuable asset.
The next conclusion of stranger things comes just hours after Amazon announced that its crown jewel, the award-winning Wonderful Mrs Maisel, would also be back for its fifth and final season.