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SYFY WIRE Stranger Things

The Duffer Brothers tease 'really different,' 'Return of the King'-style Season 5 for Stranger Things

The end is near for Netflix's most-watched show.

By Matthew Jackson
Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things Season 4

Over the weekend, Stranger Things 4 wrapped up its nine-episode run with an epic season finale that ran more than two hours and set the show's heroes on the path to an endgame in the upcoming fifth season. We've known since early this year that Stranger Things 5 would wrap up the saga of Hawkins and its kid heroes, and now series creators Matt and Ross Duffer are dropping a few hints as to what that conclusion will look like. 

**Spoilers for Stranger Things 4 ahead.**

In an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast Monday, the Duffers explained that Season 4 was so infamously long, in part, because the show had to spend a big chunk of time essentially re-introducing us to its characters. The first couple of episodes of the season established a new supernatural threat, but they also reminded us of the show's new status quo before setting all the characters in motion for this season's adventure. Season 5, by contrast, will pick up in the aftermath of Season 4's devastating cliffhanger, which means we might actually get a shorter final season, because the show won't need to catch up with its characters. 

"For the first time ever, we don't wrap things up at the end of [Season] 4, so it's going to be moving," Matt Duffer said. "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. 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."

That makes a lot of sense in the context of the final shot of Season 4, which saw our surviving heroes gearing up for a fight now that the Upside Down is at Hawkins' doorstep in a way it's never been before. But while Season 5 might begin with a very straightforward continuation of Season 4, it won't be quite as simple when it comes to the ending. The Duffer Brothers compared the series finale to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in that they jokingly noted it will have "like, eight endings" to wrap up all the different subplots and storylines. There's obviously a lot to wrap up, but the Duffers also noted they've already got the final half-hour of the series more-or-less locked in their heads. Now, they have to figure out how to get us there.

"It's dangerous as a writer to be writing hours and hours and not know where you're going," Ross said. "I'd rather leave some of that middle journey vague and fuzzy."

"But so long as you know where that destination is, it sort of gives you that clarity. It's like that lighthouse blinking in the distance ... while a lot of Season 5 is actually pretty blurry, the last 30 minutes of it are pretty clear in our heads. So if we can make the journey entertaining, I think that we have an end that will hopefully satisfy. You can't satisfy everyone, but the hope is that it's something that feels right for this story."

Stranger Things 5 on Netflix does not yet have a release date.

Looking for more sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY has new series The Ark in the works from original Stargate film writer/producer Dean Devlin, as well as Stargate SG-1 producer Jonathan Glassner.