strange things creators Matt and Ross Duffer have elaborated on what fans can expect from the fifth and final season of their ’80s Netflix phenomenon.
The twin filmmakers were asked during a Sunday night panel at the streamer’s Tudum Theater in Los Angeles if there are new ’80s pop culture influences that will shape the final season, in the way that A Nightmare on Elm Street and his villain Freddy Kreuger formed this summer’s two-part Season 4.
“[Season] 5, as we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it got a little bit of each,” Ross Duffer told a packed house. “I think what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in kind of the tone of 1. But also scale-wise, it’s more in line with what 4 is. So, hopefully, it has a little bit of everything.”
A key factor that sets Season 5 apart, according to Matt Duffer, is that the danger the world is in is now “all out in the open” — not just for our teenage heroes from the Indiana town of Hawkins, but for their parents and the rest of their community as well.
strange things, for the uninitiated, is a sci-fi drama that follows a group of Midwestern teenagers as they battle supernatural forces connected to an alternate reality known as The Upside Down. The show’s latest season picks up months after the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat emerges, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, could finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.
The Duffers were joined on tonight’s panel — moderated by Patton Oswalt — by director EP Shawn Levy, as well as longtime cast members Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson and Millie Bobby Brown — with the latter practically tuning in. Others who have appeared in person include popular Season 4 additions Joseph Quinn, Eduardo Franco and Jamie Campbell Bower.
While the conversation was short on big Season 5 takeaways, Ross Duffer confirmed that the writing staff is “on to the second” episode, having submitted the first script to Netflix “a few weeks ago.” (The title for the season 5 opener is “Chapter One: The Creep,” Netflix revealed just last week.)
Ross shared that the team is moving “full steam ahead” with the writing process, after first “developing an overall plan and backstory” for the Upside Down back in Season 2. He added that while some of the questions surrounding this fantastic arena answered over the course of Season 4, there will still be “quite a bit” to unravel in the show’s final year. “But just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now, most of which are still alive,” Duffer continued. “It’s important to wrap up those arcs because a lot of these characters have grown 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. “
Levy concluded that the balance the Duffers seek is one they manage to achieve. “I’m paralyzed with fear of spoiling anything, but I will say, the thing about these Duffer brothers is that even though the show has become so famous and the characters have become so iconic, and they’re so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people. It’s about these characters,” he said. “Season 5 is already so clearly taking care of these stories of characters, because they have always been the lifeblood of strange things.”
strange things earned 13 Emmy nominations for its fourth season, with wins in prosthetic make-up, sound editing, sound mixing, music supervision and stunt coordination. The show, produced by Monkey Massacre Productions and 21 Laps Entertainment, was renewed for its fifth and final season in February, but it’s not yet clear when this final chapter will debut on Netflix. Levy executive produces with Dan Cohen for 21 rounds, as well as the Duffers, Iain Paterson and Curtis Gwinn.