Stranger Things Season 5: Everything We Know About the Final Episodes

Stranger Things Season 5: Everything We Know About the Final Episodes

The fifth and final season of Stranger Things is still as far away as Max & Co. are from getting cellphones. (It isn’t expected to hit Netflix until — oof! — 2025.) But already, a good bit of intel has dropped about what we can expect from the show’s sendoff.

For instance, Matt and Ross Duffer — AKA the megahit’s creators, the Duffer Brothers — have hinted at the last episodes’ length, divulged where the action takes place this time around, confirmed at least a couple of characters who will not be among us (at least not in the flesh) and revealed why the series’ swan song may give us not just the feels but Season 1 feels.

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The siblings have even let us know that the show will go on — in spirit, anyway.

Read on for all of the tidbits of information we’ve managed to pull together, then hit the comments with your final season hopes and fears.

Does the Final Season Have a Premiere Date?

Does the Final Season Have a Premiere Date?
Does the Final Season Have a Premiere Date?

After being delayed for more than seven months due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, production on the Netflix juggernaut’s final season has officially begun. The series’ official X account shared the above photo on Jan. 8, 2024, alerting fans that the Hawkins, Ind., gang is finally back in business. However, knowing the long road ahead, followed by extensive post-production involving visual effects… the eventual premiere date is still anybody’s guess.

Season Premiere Title Revealed!

Season Premiere Title Revealed!
Season Premiere Title Revealed!

When exactly we’ll get the final season’s premiere, we still don’t know. But Netflix has revealed the episode’s title: “Chapter 1: The Crawl.” So what does it mean? Already, fans have speculated that, as with many things Stranger Things, the title is a reference to the classic Dungeons & Dragons scenario in which “heroes navigate a labyrinth environment/dungeon, battling various monsters, avoiding traps and solving puzzles.”

Will There Be a Time Jump?

Will There Be a Time Jump?
Will There Be a Time Jump?

Season 5 won’t pick up right where Season 4 left off. Owing at least in part to the speed at which the series’ young leads are growing up (see for yourself here), “I’m sure we will do a time jump,” Ross told TVLine in June 2022. “Ideally, we’d have shot [Seasons 4 and 5] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that.”

‘Season 5 Is Part 2 of Season 4’

‘Season 5 Is Part 2 of Season 4’
‘Season 5 Is Part 2 of Season 4’

Despite the time jump, Season 5 is “less of a restart than we normally do,” Matt told our sister site Deadline. “It’s weird. We ended up splitting [Season 4], which was not originally a plan, but we did Volume 1 and Volume 2. Season 5 is more really like Part 2 of Season 4.”

‘We’re Making, Basically, Eight Movies’

During a July 2024 visit to the Podcrushed podcast (watch above), Maya Hawke (aka Robin) disclosed that “we’re making, basically, eight movies. The episodes are very long.” At that point in the summer, the cast and crew were about halfway through a shooting schedule which the actress said was expected to take a full year to complete. Of course, that runs counter to what we’d previously heard. Keep reading…

What Is the Series Finale’s XL Running Time?

What Is the Series Finale’s XL Running Time?
What Is the Series Finale’s XL Running Time?

The Duffers said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that they didn’t expect the final season to be stretched over as many hours as Season 4. The series’ finale, on the other hand, would likely be not just feature-length but Return of the King-ish.” And you’ll recall that the last movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was three hours, 21 minutes! So, they laughed, we could be in for “like, eight endings.”

It’s ‘Go Big or Go Home’ Time

It’s ‘Go Big or Go Home’ Time
It’s ‘Go Big or Go Home’ Time

Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy, who directed one of the final-season episodes, told Total Film magazine, “There’s no way to be contiguous with Season 4 and not, frankly, expand scale and depth.” The wrap-up is “major, major, cinematic storytelling that happens to be called a TV series. Stranger Things 5 is as big as any of the biggest movies that we see.”

Season 5 Will Move ‘Pretty Fast’

Season 5 Will Move ‘Pretty Fast’
Season 5 Will Move ‘Pretty Fast’

Season 5 is going to put the pedal to the metal. “I don’t know that it’s going to be going 100 miles-an-hour at the start of 5, but it’s going to be moving pretty fast,” Matt told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. When we rejoin the story, “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.” Yet we’ll also get a sense of deja vu.

Final Season Will Have ‘Full Circle’ Moments

Final Season Will Have ‘Full Circle’ Moments
Final Season Will Have ‘Full Circle’ Moments

The series’ last season will pay homage, in a way, to its first. “We wanna go back to a lot of the things we did in Season 1,” Matt said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. In other words, “a lot of the original groupings and pairings that we had in Season 1… There’s something nice about coming full circle.”

Is Max Alive or Dead?

Is Max Alive or Dead?
Is Max Alive or Dead?

Season 4 left Sadie Sink’s spunky Max so much worse for wear that Eleven couldn’t even locate her in her mind. Max is “not really alive,” Ross told Deadline, “in the sense that you and I think of alive.” But that also doesn’t mean that she’s dead-dead.

What Mystery Character Is in Season Premiere?

What Mystery Character Is in Season Premiere?
What Mystery Character Is in Season Premiere?

On a possibly related note, on December 12, 2023, Ross Instagrammed a photo of the “Chapter One” cast list — with one character’s name thoroughly scratched out. Was it Max’s and, therefore, a sign that she isn’t in the season’s kickoff? Did it reveal an altogether new character? Or, were the text not redacted, would it have revealed who a certain A-list guest star will be playing?

Who Is Linda Hamilton Playing?

Who Is Linda Hamilton Playing?
Who Is Linda Hamilton Playing?

Netflix announced during its Tudum event in June 2023 that Terminator badass Linda Hamilton had been added to the cast. But as whom? As whom?!?

Season 5 Has Cloverfield Lane Connection

Season 5 Has Cloverfield Lane Connection
Season 5 Has Cloverfield Lane Connection

Dan Trachtenberg, a director who has helmed sci-fi fare like 10 Cloverfield Lane and the Predator prequel Prey, has been tapped to take the reins for one episode. His TV credits include the pilots for Prime Video’s The Boys and Peacock’s The Lost Symbol.

How Will the Aging Cast Stay Looking ‘Young’?

How Will the Aging Cast Stay Looking ‘Young’?
How Will the Aging Cast Stay Looking ‘Young’?

Kids… they grow up so darn fast. And with the delays brought about by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, they hardly even have to. In an October 2023 interview with Variety, EP/director Shawn Levy acknowledged that “we’ve already watched the cast grow up in the public eye… That being said, our hair and makeup and wardrobe departments are pretty exceptional… The ’80s are also our friends in returning these young adult actors to their iconic Hawkins characters. So we’re going to use all the all the tools available to us” to keep the youngsters looking young.

The Heroes Will No Longer Be Scattered

The Heroes Will No Longer Be Scattered
The Heroes Will No Longer Be Scattered

Season 4 may have scattered our heroes from Lenora Hills to Kamchatka, but in Season 5, per the Happy Sad Confused podcast, they’ll be reunited and it feels so… well, stressful, given the threat that Vecna poses. But at least our protagonists will all be together in Hawkins.

What Is Vecna’s Grand Plan?

As sad a state as Hawkins was left in at the end of Season 4, it’s probably going to get worse. Or, in One’s estimation, better. “Oh my God,” Jamie Campbell Bower told TVLine, Henry aka Vecna thinks that he can make it “1,000 times better. His experience has led him to this point of believing… actually knowing, not necessarily believing, that people present a falsity, and this world is just full of liars. He really wants to change that for the greater good.”

Eddie’s Death Will Have ‘Repercussions’

Sadly, Joseph Quinn’s charismatic leader of Hawkins High’s Hellfire Club is really, most sincerely dead. However, his passing will have “huge repercussions” for those that he left behind, the Duffers hinted on the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

Is the Doctor Out, Like, for Good?

Is the Doctor Out, Like, for Good?
Is the Doctor Out, Like, for Good?

“Papa” has cheated death for the last time. In an interview with Happy Sad Confused, the Duffers confirmed that Matthew Modine’s Dr. Brenner wouldn’t be rising from the grave to torment Eleven again. Well, at least not in the flesh….

Will’s Journey Will Continue…

Now that Jonathan has been clued in to his kid brother’s sexual orientation, “that journey of Will’s character is going to continue,” Ross disclosed to Deadline, “and that’s really going to be his arc as we move into the final season and complete that journey.” But wait, there’s more…

… and He’ll Even Take ‘Center Stage’!

… and He’ll Even Take ‘Center Stage’!
… and He’ll Even Take ‘Center Stage’!

Still psychically linked to Vecna, “Will really takes center stage again in [Season] 5,” co-creator Ross Duffer told our sister site Variety in August 2023. “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.”

What’s Next for the Robin/Steve Friendship?

What’s Next for the Robin/Steve Friendship?
What’s Next for the Robin/Steve Friendship?

Viewers may be rooting for the sparks that flew in Season 4 between Robin and Vickie to start a fire, but Maya Hawke, who plays the former… not so much. She told Yahoo! Entertainment that she has “mixed” feelings about that potential relationship, if only because it could cut short her character’s screen time with her bestie. “It’s a great thing, [but]… that friendship with Steve is so special, and friendships have been carrying me through my life. I think… they deserve their airtime.”

Argyle Has Smoked His Last Doobie

Argyle Has Smoked His Last Doobie
Argyle Has Smoked His Last Doobie

Talk about a buzzkill! In a January 2024 interview with YouTube film and TV critic Steve Varley, Eduardo Franco revealed that Jonathan’s pothead bestie would not be returning for Season 5. “I never got a phone call,” he said, “so I think that’s it.”

The Cast Is Still Growing

On July 14, Netflix disclosed the addition of three more actors to Season 5’s cast. From left above, they are Nell Fisher (My Life Is Murder), newbie Jake Connelly and Alex Breaux (Joe Pickett). No details about any of their characters were divulged, but we did get a peek behind the scenes at production. Watch above.

What Recent Reveal Drives the Final Season?

What Recent Reveal Drives the Final Season?
What Recent Reveal Drives the Final Season?

In Season 4, Volume 1, we learned that the Upside Down had made a Groundhog Day of the day that Will disappeared back in Season 1. “That is really the key plot point, the key question that is going to drive our final season,” Ross told our sister site Deadline in July, “as we try to wrap up this story and give the rest of the answers out.”

Will the Series Finale ‘Satisfy’ Fans?

Will the Series Finale ‘Satisfy’ Fans?
Will the Series Finale ‘Satisfy’ Fans?

The Duffers weren’t about to go into the show’s final chapters without knowing where the finish line is. “While a lot of Season 5 is actually pretty blurry, the last 30 minutes of it are pretty clear in our heads,” Ross told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “So if we can make the journey entertaining, I think that we have an end that will hopefully satisfy.”

Is There Hope for a Spinoff?

Is There Hope for a Spinoff?
Is There Hope for a Spinoff?

In an interview with Variety, the series’ co-creators admitted that “we do have an idea for a spinoff that we’re super excited about… but we haven’t told anyone the idea yet, much less written it. We think everyone — including Netflix — will be surprised when they hear the concept, because it’s very, very different.” So no familiar faces? Nope. The biggest connective tissue between Stranger Things and its offshoot will be “storytelling sensibility.”

Want scoop on Stranger Things‘ final season, or for any other TV show ? Email InsideLine@tvline.com, and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line!

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