Major spoilers follow Stranger Things season 4.
The fifth season of Stranger Things will have shorter episodes than its predecessor — and I’m glad the show’s final season won’t be another long affair.
Speaking in the last episode of The confused podcast happy sad (Opens in a new tab)The Duffer Brothers – the creators of Stranger Things – have confirmed that season five won’t be as long as the latest entry on Netflix.
“The only reason we don’t expect it [Season 5] Being long because this season, if you look at it, you’ll find that it’s almost two hours before our kids are really drawn to the supernatural mystery,” Matt Dover explained. And for the first time ever, don’t wrap things up at the end [season] 4. So it’s going to move, I don’t know if it’s going to be moving at 100mph at the start of season five, but it’s going to be moving really fast.”
This, dear reader, is music to my ears. I enjoyed Stranger Things season 4 – in our review, we said season 4 was a “horror-fueled triumphant return” for the series. For the most part, Season 4’s long episodes didn’t bother me either because they were essential to its multi-narrative approach and overall character development, especially for newcomers like Joe Quinn’s Eddie Munson (RIP, you’re awesome Metalhead).
However, I’m glad Stranger Things 5 will be returning to the show’s roots with its shorter episodes. There are multiple reasons for this.
For example, after spending the entire fourth season apart, the show’s main players are reunited with Hawkins. If the fictional city of Indiana was the only place Season 5 was set, we wouldn’t need to follow our heroes through multiple storylines in multiple locations. Without a myriad of novels to follow, Season 5’s episodic runtimes are sure to be cut drastically.
With season five set to be the final entry in the main show of Stranger Things – the Duffer Brothers have plans for a branch or two – Eleven and the company (and we’re acting) for the truly endgame. The show’s fifth season will feature the last stand of Hawkins’ gang against Vecna and the other terrifying creatures of the Upside Down, so it’s unlikely we’ll see the introduction of new characters or much in the way of character development.
that’s good. The fifth season of Stranger Things should focus entirely on the series’ protagonists and their battle against the Upside Down. We want to see our heroes’ stories wrap up at the end of Season 5 in a satisfying way, with no plot threads left hanging once the credits are out for the last time.
Sure, Stranger Things Season 5 needs to answer some basic questions from Season 4 onwards. Is Max still alive? Where did Vicna go? What exactly is a shade? How did the Upside Down become a dark, dirty dimension of a windy wasteland when Henry Creel (i.e. Vecna) first arrived in this world? Why does the Upside Down seem stuck in 1984? Will the number eight – also known as Kali Prasad – appear?
In the end, though, Season 5 needs an action-packed entry—that is, the Hawkins crew takes the fight to the Upside Down in an effort to save the world—while simultaneously focusing on the core cast of heroes we’ve been following since Netflix premiered in July 2016 Focus on this fun squad and Stranger Things 5 won’t need episodes that last more than an hour. You know, outside of the extended Lord of the Rings: King-esque return epilogue the Duffer brothers are already planning for the show’s final season, discussing their Happy Sad Confused podcast.
By focusing on one location and following the main characters of Stranger Things, the overall story of Season 5 will also be tighter and cohesive than Seasons 2, 3 and 4. It will keep the gang together and ensure they collaborate more closely than in previous seasons, allowing Season 5 to evoke the tone and aesthetic And the airtight feeling of the show’s first season.
Yes, Stranger Things must develop as a TV show to simultaneously stay relevant and fulfill the Duffer brothers’ ambitions for the story they wanted to tell. That’s why the series has become increasingly expanded and creative with each passing season.
But there’s a reason the first season of Stranger Things holds a special place in fans’ hearts. Well, it was the right show that released at the right time, but its strong mix of ’80s nostalgia, original story, and talented cast (remember how good the young actors were on Stranger Things even in 2016?) helped it become an overnight sensation. It was by no means extravagance, but it became an absolutely universal phenomenon. Season 5 should follow the plot of Season 1 for a smaller narrative, focusing on a core group of characters as they fight to save the world from a supernatural threat, and bring the series back full circle. In doing so, Season 1 episodic run times will be compared to 45 to 55 minutes, rather than the longer Season 4 shows.
Of course, the Duffer Brothers might decide to write another huge season for the fifth and final entry of the show, outlining the path they take through the story they want to tell. However, I can’t help but feel that a season consisting of shorter episodes would be a proper and satisfying way to end the series’ main narrative. If that’s the choice the Duffers make, you won’t hear me complain.
For more content based on Stranger Things, check out Volume 4’s end-of-volume explainer. Instead, find out why one of the fan-favorite characters isn’t returning for Season 5.