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SYFY WIRE Stranger Things

Duffer Brothers tease 'culmination' of 'Stranger Things' with Season 5

Stranger Things 5 will be a balancing act of the epic and the intimate.

By Matthew Jackson
(L-R) Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer

As Stranger Things heads toward its fifth and final season on Netflix, creators Matt and Ross Duffer are still reluctant to spill anything major regarding the plot of the final batch of episodes. But that doesn't mean they're unwilling to discuss some of the thematic and stylistic challenges they're facing as they craft Season 5

Over the weekend, the brothers -- along with executive producer Shawn Levy and several members of the Stranger Things ensemble -- appeared at a Screen Actors Guild Q&A event at Netflix's Tudum theater to discuss the show's recently concluded fourth season, and of course, what comes next. While the brothers are famously secretive when it comes to plot, one thing they have been willing to discuss in the past is which 1980s pop culture touchstones have provided inspiration for each season. In Season 4, they looked to classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, so what's Season 5 going to encompass? According to the brothers, everything you can think of from past seasons, and then some.

“[Season] 5, the way we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it’s got a little bit from each,” Ross Duffer said, according to Deadline. “I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of 1. But also scale-wise, it’s more aligned with what 4 is. So, hopefully, it’s got a little bit of everything.”

One of the interesting challenges of the fifth season of the show, according to the brothers, is working within a world where the Upside Down is in many ways no longer a secret. The hidden alternate dimension exploded into Hawkins at the end of Season 4, giving people all over America a glimpse at what the show's heroes have been fighting for years, and amping up the threat level like never before. 

At the same time, of course, the show also has to serve the arcs of numerous major characters, some of whom have survived since Season 1, and others who've become fan favorites after just a few episodes.

“But just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now, most of whom are still living,” Ross Duffer said. “It’s important to wrap up those arcs because a lot of these characters have been growing since Season 1. So, it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs, and also tying up these loose ends and doing our final reveals.”

The brothers certainly have their work cut out for them, but they're already making progress on Season 5. The Duffers confirmed Sunday night that they've already handed in the script for the Season 5 premiere -- dubbed "The Crawl," according to Netflix -- and they're "on to the second" episode in the final season. Stranger Things 5 does not yet have a premiere date, and given just how super-sized Season 4 was, we may have to wait a bit longer before things get any clearer on that front. In the meantime, you can binge all four previous seasons as many times as you want. 

If you're looking for more thrills and chills, you can stream The Black Phone, Halloween Ends and more on Peacock.