Now that Season 4 of Stranger Things is over, fans are already eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the popular horror series. In the latest episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things Unlocked, the official aftershow for the series, Felicia Day interviews the showrunners, cast, and crew, who discuss Season 4, Vol. 2 and hint at what’s to come in the fifth and final season.
Season 4 was filled with shocking moments, though the most shocking of all was probably the cliffhanger ending that sets the show up for a rollicking final season. The creative team had many interesting perspectives on the latest season, and there were plenty of juicy hints at what’s to come next. It is unclear when Season 5 will commence filming, but the Duffer Brothers have proven it will be well worth the wait.
3 The Shutdown Helped The Production
The Duffer Brothers extensively discussed how the delayed shooting schedule helped the story writing process. They claim that in previous seasons, they would start shooting after only having written a few episodes, and then wrote as the season was filmed. But Covid allowed them to complete all the scripts before shooting started.
This process allowed them to consider the whole season at once and fix any inconsistencies and character holes. The best example was how they rewrote Eddie as a musician so he could have that epic guitar solo. Fans will be curious to see if they will use a similar writing process for Season 5.
Season 4 was not kind to many of the characters, but Stranger Things fan-favorite Dustin witnessed Eddie’s death in Episode 8, holding his friend and mentor in his arms as he passed away. Actor Gaten Matarazzo comments on this, saying he’s nervous for his character in Season 5.
He insinuated that the assertive yet innocent Dustin, who often provides much of the show’s comic relief, will be too traumatized to believably act like his old self. The Duffer Brothers later confirm this when they say next season will explore another side of Dustin. Hopefully, Dustin will gradually recover his former spiritedness.
2 Season 5 Will Be Fast-Paced
The Duffer Brothers refer to Season 4 as their Empire Strikes Back season, a reference to Episode V of Star Wars, which famously ends with the heroes losing. The characters suffer heavy blows in Season 4 and while every other season of Stranger Things has built up its plot slowly, this will not be necessary for 4.
The showrunners confirmed that 5 will start off running, without any need for exposition or build-up. They added that this means 5 will most likely be shorter than 4, though they admitted they have plenty of unresolved storylines to address, such as Jonathan and Nancy’s relationship and the fate of Max, who had one of the best character arcs of Season 4.
1 A Return To Season 1 Origins
The Duffer Brothers said they would like to see Season 5 reunite the original groups, such as the boys and Eleven, Joyce and Hopper, Jonathan and Nancy, etc. With Will in California for spring break, Joyce and Murray trying to save Hopper in Russia, El in the desert with Brenner, and the rest banded together in Hawkins, the group dynamics were very different in Season 4.
The Duffer Brothers’ comments give off serious Endgame vibes, as Infinity War ended with the original Avengers reunited. Their comments about no new characters in 5 was likely not just in jest – it’s time to focus on all the loose ends and give the main cast the conclusions they deserve.
Season 4 gave fans one of the best television villains of 2022 with Jamie Campbell Bower’s Vecna/One/Henry. While Vecna’s past life as a human was heavily explored, there’s still a large gap in his timeline after he got forced into the Upside Down by Eleven.
The Duffer Brothers promised Season 5 will fill in the gap, giving audiences some much-needed answers about Vecna, how he was able to manipulate the particles, and what he did in the Upside Down all those years. There are also a lot of lingering questions about the purpose of the Mind Flayer and the power structure between Vecna and the Demogorgons.
When asked why the characters always plunge into danger, actress Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley) had an insightful answer. She claims the showrunners made a clear stylistic choice that gives the characters a “bounciness;” their courage reinvigorates them, making them capable of bouncing back from anything and finding humor in dark situations.
Actor Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson) adds to her comments, pointing out that it is hard for directors to hit such a unique tone that balances danger and darkness with humor and levity. The creative team behind the series achieves this beautifully, adding to the reasons why Stranger Things is so successful.
Stranger Things is getting a reputation for its inability to kill off its main cast, choosing instead to kill newer characters, such as Sean Astin’s Bob Newby of Season 2 and Dacre Montgomery’s Billy Hargrove of Seasons 2 and 3. This trend has become predictable and a little manipulative, particularly when they “killed off” Hopper.
Yet it is easy to see the showrunners’ predicament; their characters love each other so much that if one of them dies, the narrative would automatically have to slow down and address their grief. So, unfortunately, the odds were never good for Eddie. At least he went out with a bang, subverting stereotypes along the way.
While Matthew Modine noted his surprise at how cruel his character was, Millie Bobby Brown was more taken aback by what she perceived as Eleven’s coldness, particularly when she did not forgive Dr. Brenner as he lay dying on the desert floor, begging for her to say she understood why he did what he did.
Her opinion caused many on Youtube to comment that Dr. Brenner is a child abuser who did not deserve Eleven’s forgiveness. But it is the actor’s job to find compassion where others might not, so it shouldn’t be such a surprise that Brown had kinder feelings towards the man who raised Eleven.
When asked if they reached out to Robert Englund to appear in Season 4, the Duffer Brothers said no because they hadn’t imagined he’d ever say yes and were taken aback by his audition tape. With all the references to A Nightmare on Elm Street in Season 4 and Englund’s legendary horror status, it was an easy casting choice.
And it proved to be one of the smartest. The scene of Nancy and Robin visiting Victor Creel echoes a similar scene in The Silence of the Lambs. Englund’s performance as Henry’s victimized father is heartbreaking, making this one of the best scenes of Stranger Things Season 4.
In addition to fleshing out Vecna’s origin, the team promises to fully explain what the Upside Down actually is. Producer Shawn Levy comments that the original name for the Upside Down in the early scripts was “The Nether,” though this was changed once the boys came up with their title.
The Duffer Brothers hint that the biggest clue in Season 4 about the true nature of the Upside Down is the realization that the shadow world is frozen in the past – the time when Will was first taken in Season 1. Whether time travel will be involved or something else entirely, it’s pretty much a guarantee at this point that Stranger Things will give fans a shocking and fascinating backstory.
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Author: Leigh Bicica