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The Duffer Brothers Promise Shorter Final Season of ‘Stranger Things’

Mike Wheeler, Eleven, and Will Byers look surprised in a shot from Stranger Things Season 4

***SPOILER ALERT: This post discusses the events of the end of season 4.***

While audiences are still reeling from the explosive final chapters of Stranger Things, series creators the Duffer Brothers are already mapping out the fifth and final season of Netflix’s flagship show. The duo appeared on an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where they discussed their plans for the upcoming season. Chief among them is the reveal that season 5 will have less episodes than previous seasons.

“We don’t expect it to be as long. And the only reason we don’t expect to be as long is because typically—or this season, if you look at it, it’s almost a two-hour ramp up before our kids really get drawn into a supernatural mystery,” said Matt Duffer. “You get to know them, you get to see them in their lives, 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]. For the first time ever, we don’t wrap things up at the end of four.”

It makes sense, given that season 4 ends with a major cliffhanger, namely Vecna unleashing his powers on Hawkins. After the devastating earthquake caused by the opening of the four gates, the town had a brief moment of respite before particles from the Upside Down began “snowing” on the town. It’s unclear if there will be a time jump between seasons 4 and 5, but it’s likely that the series will pick up right after the events of the season 4 finale. It’s likely that season 5 will launch straight into the climactic battle with Vecna and Hawkins, especially now that all the principal characters are finally reunited. And we won’t need any set up, since everyone already knows the Big Bad and his intentions.

They added, “I don’t know that it’s going to be going 100 miles an hour at the start of [Season 5], but 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.”

But does this mean shorter episode runtimes? Perhaps not. Duffer said, “I’m sure the wrap-up will be a lot longer, … It’s going to be Return Of The King-ish with, like, eight endings.” But nothing is set in stone, as the duo are still sketching out the season. , “If you had talked to us at the start of writing [Season 4] I would have told you it’s about eight episodes and they’re about an hour long each, so I don’t know. I wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of my mouth.”

There’s no release date yet for season 5, but fans will hopefully not have to wait as long as we did for season 4.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.