Stranger Things Season 5: Is Netflix Officially Ending the Franchise With the Fifth Season?

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Stranger Things Season 5

Stranger Things Season 5 will officially be the Netflix series' final outing, but is the streamer actually ending its supernatural franchise?

Since Netflix delivered Stranger Things Season 4 last summer, fans have been eagerly awaiting Season 5. Writing for the final season began in August 2022 and was supposedly set to begin production in May 2023 before, unfortunately, being delayed indefinitely by the ongoing Writer's Guild of America strike.

The final season will not be able to begin filming until the writers' and actors' strikes are resolved, and production could be pushed back even further as the movements may have left a backlog in some of the talent's schedules.

Every Stranger Things Project in Development at Netflix

Stranger Things Season 4

While Netflix may be bringing its supernatural mainstay Stranger Things to an end with the upcoming Season 5, the creators behind the show, the Duffer Brothers, aren't done exploring the Upside Down just yet.

Speaking with GQ, Hopper actor David Harbour revealed how he expects fans to begin "hearing about whatever spin-offs they have planned" around the time Season 5 releases or perhaps a few months before:

“I think as soon as the show ends, or maybe six months before it ends, you’ll be hearing about whatever spin-offs they have planned.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Netflix has already given a straight-to-season order for an animated spin-off series "in the vein of Saturday morning cartoons" which will be developed by the Duffer Brothers.

In a statement issued in April, Matt and Ross Duffer shared how they "always dreamed" of expanding this world to animation and praised the scripts and artwork as "incredible," indicating development is rather far along:

“We’ve always dreamed of an animated Stranger Things in the vein of the Saturday morning cartoons that we grew up loving, and to see this dream realized has been absolutely thrilling. We couldn’t be more blown away by what Eric Robles and his team have come up with — the scripts and artwork are incredible, and we can’t wait to share more with you! The adventure continues …”

The animated show comes in addition to an untitled live-action spin-off that will hail from the Duffers and Stranger Things collaborator Shawn Levy - via THR.

In an emailed interview with Variety in May 2022, the Duffer Brothers revealed they are "super excited" about the spin-off, and only Mike actor Finn Wolfhard "correctly guessed" what it is. He praised the concept as "very, very different," noting that, at the time, development was in its earliest days:

“We do have an idea for a spinoff that we’re super excited about … but we haven’t told anyone the idea yet, much less written it. We think everyone — including Netflix — will be surprised when they hear the concept, because it’s very, very different. But somehow Finn Wolfhard — who is one crazy smart kid — correctly guessed what it was going to be about. But aside from Finn, no one else knows!”

As the interview came a month after the animated spin-off had been announced and acknowledged by the Duffer Brothers, the duo were presumably referring to the untitled live-action show in these comments.

Additionally, Stranger Things: The First Shadow will take the franchise to the stage in a new play written by series staff writer Kate Trefry based on a story created by her, the Duffer Brothers, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's Jack Thorne.

The prequel play will debut in late 2023 at the London West End's Phoenix Theater and will remain there until at least the end of June 2024.

Between the much-anticipated Season 5, the Saturday morning cartoon-inspired animated show, a mysterious new live-action spin-off, and The First Shadow stage play, the world of Stranger Things is clearly far from done yet.

Here's What the Future Holds for the Stranger Things Franchise

Stranger Things poster

Harbour recently confirmed that, even once production can finally get underway when the strikes conclude, Stranger Things Season 5 is expected to film for around "a year." As production won't begin until later this year or early 2024 and will presumably require around eight months of post-production based on last season, fans shouldn't expect to see it anytime before late 2025.

With the Duffer Brothers praising the "scripts and artwork" for the animated spin-off, production on the show appears to be rather far along. Provided the concept isn't reliant on the ending to Stranger Things Season 5, there's a chance it could be released before the final episodes to fill the void between seasons.

Turning attention to the untitled live-action spin-off, that appears to be in the early stages of development and probably won't become a priority until Stranger Things itself has wrapped production and is ready to release to the public.

For now, it's almost impossible to guess what that spin-off may entail, as it could serve as a prequel or sequel to Stranger Things. Perhaps one of the series' main leads will continue their adventures in the live-action show, following up on wherever the series finale will ultimately leave them.

Going beyond the two currently planned spin-offs and the new stageplay, Netflix will likely look to continue expanding the world of Stranger Things as long as interest in the franchise remains intact, especially with the Duffer Brothers under a multi-year deal with the streamer to create original movies and shows.

The first four seasons of Stranger Things are streaming now on Netflix.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.