At a Los Angeles event on Sunday night, Stranger Things creators Ross and Matt Duffer and executive producer Shawn Levy gave the first hints of what’s to come in the Netflix hit’s fifth and final season.
“We turned in the first script a couple of weeks ago and we’re onto the second. It’s full steam ahead,” Ross Duffer told moderator Patton Oswalt at the Hollywood event, where he was also joined by cast members Caleb McLaughlin, Joseph Quinn, Jamie Campbell Bower, Priah Ferguson, Eduardo Franco and a virtual Millie Bobby Brown. “I remember season one we were just amazed that Netflix was letting us do this at all, but season two was when we really, with the writers, we developed an overall plan and a backstory for all of this and make sure that, with the upside down, everything about what it was.”
He added that they did start revealing a lot of that plan in season four, “but we do have quite a bit more to get in. But just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now — most who are still living — and it’s important to wrap up those arcs. A lot of these characters have been growing since season one so it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs and also tying up loose ends and doing our final reveals.”
Matt Duffer said that few people know how it will end, but the brothers did pitch the full season to Netflix in a two-hour meeting. “We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying,” he continued. “The only other times I’ve seen them cry were like budget meetings,” as the crowd laughed.
“Those were different tears,” joked Levy, who said, “As a witness and having been in that two-hour pitch room and having read this first script — I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll spoil anything but I will say the thing about these Duffer Brothers is that even though the show has gotten so famous and the characters have gotten so iconic and there’s so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people, it’s about these characters. Season five is already so clearly taking care of these stories of the characters because that’s always been the lifeblood of Stranger Things.”
Asked about how much the final season will continue to weave in ’80s horror and pop culture influences, Ross said that they see season season five as “a culmination of all of the seasons, so it’s sort of got a little bit from each, whereas before each season was so distinctly — three, this is our big summer blockbuster season with our big monster; four was the psychological horror.”
“I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit in the tone of [season] one, but scale-wise it’s more in line with what [season] four is,” he added. “Hopefully it’s got a little bit of everything.”