The creators of “Stranger Things” are dropping more hints about what to expect from the upcoming fifth and final season.
During an FYC panel on Sunday Night, creators Matt and Ross Duffer, director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown (who attended virtually), Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joseph Quinn and Eduardo Franco, opened up about their Season 4 processes.
At the end of the conversation, moderator Patton Oswalt attempted to get scoop from the executive producers about the tone of the fifth season, asking if there were new horror legends or pop culture moments they planned on referencing.
“Five, the way we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it’s sort of got a little bit from each,” Ross Duffer said at the Tudum Theater. “Whereas before each season was so distinctly… [Season] 3 is our big summer blockbuster season with big monsters, and [Season] 4 was the psychological horror. I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of 1.”
He added that “scale-wise,” the last group of episodes are “more aligned with what [Season] 4 is.” Ross told the audience, “Hopefully, it’s got a little bit of everything.”
Although no spoilers were revealed during the 45-minute discussion, the team shared that the premiere episode (titled “The Crawl”) is finished and that the two-hour pitch meeting to the Netflix team, during which they mapped out the overall plan for the end, had the execs in tears.
“Just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now, most of whom are still living,” Ross said. “It’s important to wrap up those arcs because a lot of these characters have been growing 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 noted that while he is “paralyzed with fear” of spoiling anything, he’s continuously impressed with the work that the Duffers put in.
“Even though the show has gotten so famous and the characters have gotten so iconic, and they’re so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people,” he said. “It’s about these characters. Season 5 is already so clearly taking care of these stories of characters, because that’s always been the lifeblood of ‘Stranger Things.’”
The team has previously talked about holding back from adding new characters in the final season, in order to fully focus on the large ensemble they already have.
“Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they’re going to be an integral part of the narrative,” Matt said in August. “So that’s something with Eddie this season, where we go, ‘Well, we need a character here for this storyline to really work, and to give it the engine that is needed.’ But every time we do that, we’re nervous, because you go, ‘We’ve got a great cast of characters here, and actors, and any moment we’re spending with a new character, we’re taking time away from one of the other actors.’ So we’re just very, very careful about who we’re introducing.”