'Stranger Things' Season 5: Everything We Know

The Netflix hit is coming back for one final season.

eleven in the final moments of stranger things season 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers for Stranger Things season 4, volume 2 ahead.

After eight years of '80s adventures (minus a three-year pandemic delay), we are facing the end of Stranger Things' run. The Netflix paranormal hit's horrifying fourth season aired to major success—becoming one of the streaming service's most popular shows of all time—in 2022, and the Duffer Brothers have confirmed that we just have one season left with the Hawkins gang. So just what will come next for a show that has given us a new iconic sci-fi villain (and the resurgence of Kate Bush)? Read on for what we know so far.

eleven going into the upside down in stranger things season 4

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) in Stranger Things season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Is season 5 the last season of 'Stranger Things?'

The Duffer Brothers revealed that their series would get a fifth and final season in a letter to fans published in February 2022.

"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer wrote. "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."

While the rest of the letter focused on the reveal that season 4 would be super-sized, executive producer Shawn Levy explained the creative team's reasoning in an US Weekly interview, saying that the Duffers have been contemplating a thoughtful, fully-formed ending since the show began.

"We don’t want to be one of those shows that outstays its welcome and is flailing while it searches for a way to stick the landing," he said. "We really want to stick the landing. I feel like we have been able to do that every season and we also want to do it for the series."

Behind The Scenes | Stranger Things 5 | On Set of The Final Season | Netflix - YouTube Behind The Scenes | Stranger Things 5 | On Set of The Final Season | Netflix - YouTube
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When will 'Stranger Things' season 5 be released?

Stranger Things fans have had a much longer wait than planned for season 5. Despite pre-production initially starting in August 2022 (and completing the first episode's script by that November), the 2023 Hollywood strikes delayed the show's filming. According to The Hollywood Reporter, production finally began in January 2024 in Atlanta.

On July 15, 2024, Netflix surprised fans with an updated dispatch-from-filming video, which included behind-the-scenes looks at the entire set and some highly-anticipated scenes (including one with the show's core foursome back together again). Several of the hit's stars also make cameos in costume; early in the clip, Noah Schnapp shares that he thinks this will be “the best season yet."

Though a release date hasn't been announced yet, it's likely season 5 will (finally) arrive sometime in 2025.

Are there any new cast members in 'Stranger Things' season 5?

Just because we're about to say goodbye to Hawkins, it doesn't mean that Stranger Things will skip the chance to make its ensemble cast even bigger. Back in June 2023, Netflix revealed that an action legend will be joining the final season, with The Terminator star Linda Hamilton joining the hit in an undisclosed returning role.

Deadline also reported three other new stars who will appear in season 5: Evil Dead Rise actor Nell Fisher, Waco: The Aftermath's Alex Breaux, and newcomer Jake Connelly.

steve nancy and robin at the creel house in stranger things

Steve (Joe Kerry), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), and Robin (Maya Hawke), in Stranger Things season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

How long are the 'Stranger Things' season 5 episodes?

According to cast member Maya Hawke, it seems that Stranger Things' final season will continue the series' trend of super-long episodes. Season 4 was the first installment that had feature-length episodes, with the finale going for a full 140 minutes. Despite some earlier hints, Hawke confirmed on Penn Badgley's podcast Podcrushed that the massive episode length is here to stay.

We’re making, basically, eight movies,” she said during her June 2024 appearance, adding that the final season’s episodes are “very long.”

“Our showrunners, Matt and Ross [Duffer], take a lot of responsibility,” she added. “They have an amazing team of writers, but they’re very involved. They write a lot and they are very intense and serious about the quality of the continued writing, and so it takes a long time to write each season, and a long time to shoot them.”

This update is a change of plan from back in July 2022, when co-creator Matt Duffer said that he expects the season 5 episodes to be shorter. He had hinted that the Hawkins kids would be getting straight to the action in the final season, which could have led to shorter episodes.

"The only reason we don’t expect to be as long is, [in season 4], if you look at it, it’s almost a two-hour ramp up before our kids really get drawn into a supernatural mystery," Duffer said at the time, on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. "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 is obviously going to be occurring [in season 5]."

Matt confirmed that there will be one "2.5-hour episode," though, at the very least.

As for the start, the creators shared that the season premiere will hit the ground running, though they didn't say whether it will start immediately after season 4's final scene.

"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," he 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."

the california scenes of stranger things season 4

From left: Will (Noah Schnapp), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), and Argyle (Eduardo Franco), in Stranger Things season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where is 'Stranger Things' season 5 set?

Season 4 saw the kids and adults of the Hawkins crew split up across three locations, with the final battle against Vecna's (Jamie Campbell Bower) hive mind taking place from the Creel House in Hawkins, a pizza parlor in Nevada, and a Russian prison (not to mention the Upside Down). The finale saw all of our characters finally reuniting in Hawkins, and the Duffers say season 5 will stay local.

"It's mostly in Hawkins, and there's a lot obviously in the Upside Down," Matt Duffer told Collider.

"I think one of the things that's exciting about season 5 is [that] season 4 was interesting to us because everyone was scattered to the winds," he continued. "That's what was unique about it. But this is about everyone finally coming back. Coming back together, coming back to Hawkins. Hopper is back in Hawkins. The original group [is] back together—the original group of boys plus Eleven. The OG group. There's something interesting to re-explore some of the season one dynamics again, except on this grander scale."

eddie munson and the stranger things kids making a plan

From left: Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Steve (Joe Kerry), Eddie (Joseph Quinn), Robin (Maya Hawke), Erica (Priah Ferguson), Max (Sadie Sink), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), in Stranger Things season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

What is 'Stranger Things' season 5 about?

The tagline for season 4 was, "Everything Has a Beginning," and its nine episodes follow that guide, right up to an ending scene that sets up Hawkins as the battleground for the fate of the world. The mirror dimension is literally coming to the surface, with smoke and ash billowing out of the giant portals. Though Vecna's pretty heavily injured, once he's healed, the Mind Flayer and hundreds more of his creatures (however many exist) will likely rise out of the ground to conquer all.

Right now our minds are running wild, and we won't get any concrete details any time soon. Although, the creators have been giving small hints about their season 5 outline since volume 1 dropped—but even some of those details are perplexing now that we know the finale's plot.

For one, in a pre-volume 2 interview with TVLine, the Duffers said that there would probably be a time jump in the final season.

"I’m sure we will do a time jump," Ross Duffer told the outlet. "Ideally, we’d have shot [seasons 4 and 5] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that. So these are all discussions we’re going to have with our writers when we start the room up."

While the time jump made sense pre-finale, with our assumption that it would shorten the gap between the characters' and the cast's real-life ages, it looks like the Upside Down is oozing out of those cracks pretty quickly in the ending scene. It will take time for Vecna to heal and the war to begin, but it can't take so long that the younger kids will be seniors, like we theorized before. Maybe the best solution is to just let go of age continuity entirely (blame it on the pandemic).

While fans are left scratching their heads, the Duffers do know how it will all end. In a fun detail, the showrunners told SFX Magazine that they received advice on making a great series finale from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul creator Vince Gilligan. Matt Duffer told the outlet that with the help of his opinion, the ending has become "more interesting and exciting than originally envisioned by me and Ross."

"We know what the ending is," Matt said. "It’s conceivable that it changes but I think it’s unlikely because it’s one of those endings that just feels, and has always felt, right. And it also feels sort of inevitable. Then when you come up with it, you’re like, 'Oh yeah well, that is absolutely what it has to be.'"

stranger things season 4 russia scenes

From left: Dimitri (Tom Wlaschiha), Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and Jim Hopper (David Harbour), in Stranger Things season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Will there be a 'Stranger Things' spin-off after the final season?

Though it hasn't been announced or confirmed by Netflix, the Duffers have been working on a Stranger Things spin-off for a while. Even in the letter announcing season 5 as the final season, the creators hinted that "there are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things; new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes."

During a Variety interview, when asked if they would wait to work on the new series after season 5 is complete, the creators said they probably would.

"There's a version of it developing in parallel [to season 5], but they would never shoot it parallel," Ross Duffer said. "I think actually we're going to start delving into that soon as we're winding down and finishing these visual effects, Matt and I are going to start getting into it."

"The reason we haven't done anything is just because you don't want to be doing it for the wrong reasons, and it was just like, 'Is this something I would want to make regardless of it being related to Stranger Things or not?' And definitely," Matt added. "Even if we took the Stranger Things title off of it, I'm so, so excited about it. But it is not… It's going to be different than what anyone is expecting, including Netflix."

Though the duo says the spin-off will be different than what fans expect, they told Variety that one person with an intimate knowledge of the show was able to guess.

"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. But 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!"

eleven facing off with dr. brenner in stranger things season 4

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), in Stranger Things season 4.

(Image credit: Netflix)

What has the 'Stranger Things' cast and crew said about season 5?

Although the cast has been tight-lipped about season 5, some have teased a little bit of information. Jamie Campbell Bower, for example, told The Hollywood Reporter that he thinks there's a chance for the good guys to beat this uber-powerful Big Bad in the final season.

"There’s always an opportunity for the good guys to win," he told the outlet. "I think in this case, they’d have to be way smarter than they have been thus far because Henry is not one to forget and not one to let things slide."

In an interview with Vulture, Sadie Sink shared her thoughts on Max's mental state in the upcoming season, if (or more likely, when) she emerges from the coma.

"I think she’s at a place where she now really wants to fight. In episode 9, when she gave that monologue, she was ready to go and she was ready to make that ultimate sacrifice," she told the outlet. "She knew that there was no way she was going to make it out alive, but the fact that she was willing to make that sacrifice was brutal and heartbreaking. If she’s still out there, she definitely has a lot of rage and a lot of fight in her. So that’s where my hope lies in Max for season 5."

Noah Schnapp has also given his thoughts on season 5, and even confirmed a popular fan theory. In an interview with Variety, the actor said that Will is gay and that the show has been slowly building a storyline about his sexuality since season 1.

"Obviously, it was hinted at in Season 1: It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends? Now that he’s gotten older, they made it a very real, obvious thing. Now it’s 100% clear that he is gay and he does love Mike," he told the outlet.

He added that the Duffers told him that for season 5, "they’re going to focus more on Will and build that storyline."

"There’s so many different things they have to address. Obviously, we hope for a coming out scene, and I also want to see them address this connection to the Mind Flayer and how that fits into the world. And I’ve always been wondering, why was Will the first victim and the first one captured? I just want to see it all tie in and all work out. So I’m excited to see what happens," he said.

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.