June 23, 2024

Stranger Things” is finally going back to Hawkins.

Production on the fifth and final season of the juggernaut Netflix series is currently set to begin in early January, according to sources, though the start date is still subject to change. Filming was postponed for over seven months due to the the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. 

Creators and executive producers Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer were among the most high profile showrunners to announced they were suspending work after the writers strike began in May, posting on social media that “Writing does not stop when filming begins.” When the Duffer brothers spoke to Variety in July about series costar Noah Schnapp (who was part of the Power of Young Hollywood issue), they elaborated on that sentiment.

“Since it’s our scripts, you’re changing it all the time on the fly,” Matt Duffer said. “You’re either working it out with the actors, you’re changing the blocking, you’re changing it based on locations. When you’re talking about this many hundreds of pages, it is always evolving.”

At the time, they declined to say how far along they had gotten in the writing process before the writers strike began, but they did say they had started location scouting for Season 5 prior to the work stoppage. “And when you’re doing that, everything is changing constantly,” Ross Duffer said. “It’s a constantly evolving monster, so it’s hard for me to remember exactly where we were. It’s just that we weren’t ready to start shooting with a locked script.”

Along with Schnapp, the entire cast of the series is expected to return, including Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gates Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke and Priah Ferguson. “Terminator” star Linda Hamilton is joining the cast for Season 5, and “Prey” and “10 Cloverfield Lane” director Dan Trachtenberg will be helming at least one episode, alongside regular directors the Duffers and Shawn Levy, who is also executive producing.

In September, Levy said that Season 5 of “Stranger Things” will be “major, major cinematic storytelling” and “as big as any of the biggest movies that we see.” A month prior, Harbor told the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast that he knows how the Duffers are planning to end the series.

“I know where we net out and it’s very, very moving,” Harbour said. “It’s a hell of an undertaking, too. I mean, the set pieces and the things in the scripts that we saw are bigger than anything we’ve done in the past.”

There is virtually no chance Season 5 will debut earlier than 2025, but “Stranger Things: The First Shadow” — a stage play set in Hawkins, Indiana in 1959 that tracks the origins of several major characters from the show — is set to debut in the Phoenix Theater in London’s West End on Nov. 17. The script is written by “Stranger Things” writer and co-executive producer Kate Trefry, based on an original story by the Duffers, Jack Thorne and Trefry.

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