Season 4 ended in the aftermath of an "earthquake," Max in a coma, and the beginning of the Upside Down's invasion of Hawkins, setting up plenty of exciting developments.
It seems that Shawn Levy and the Duffer Brothers don't intend to waste any time getting to the stakes once Season 5 begins; however, audiences still have questions about what to expect and when.
When Is Stranger Things Season 5 Releasing
Netflix first announced Season 5 of Stranger Things back in February 2022, before Season 4's May premiere.
"We’re walking into season five. I’ve got a couple more months to train. We start shooting that in June, though, and that will be the final season. I did a lot of training for season four. He [Hopper] was in a very specific position, that Russian prison. It was about making him a different guy and sort of shedding a layer of himself physically, mentally, and emotionally. But now he’s back in town, he’s back in America where they have cheeseburgers, so he will be well-fed.”
However, that June start date is expected to be pushed back due to the ongoing WGA strike, meaning cameras probably won't start rolling until the fall of this year (at the earliest).
Since Season 4 wrapped filming in September of 2021 and released on May 27, 2022, followed by its second-half release on July 1, 2022, a mid-to-late 2025 release window seems the most likely at present.
Was Stranger Things Season 5 Delayed?
Even though the Duffer Brothers began writing Season 5 in August 2022, on May 6, Variety reported that Stranger Things halted production.
Following this announcement, the Duffers shared the following statement on Twitter:
“Duffers here. Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike. We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then — over and out."
Therefore, since Stranger Things Season 5's production is delayed, it's likely that its release will be pushed back as well.
Who's Cast in Stranger Things Season 5?
By the end of Season 4, most of the original cast reunited in Hawkins ahead of the final season.
Below is a list of who is currently confirmed to return for Season 5:
David Harbour - Jim Hopper
Winona Ryder - Joyce Byers
Joyce finally revealed her feelings to Hopper in Season 4. But with Will expected to play a bigger role in Season 5, Winona Ryder's Joyce is sure to have her hands full.
Millie Bobbie Brown - Eleven
After spending much of Season 4 separated from her friends, Eleven is finally back in Hawkins with Hopper and Mike. But with the Upside Down taking over, she's going to have to find a way to stop it.
Finn Wolfhard - Mike Wheeler
Much like Joyce, Finn Wolfhard's Mike fully confessed his own feelings for Eleven during Season 4 and is sure to be by her side as she takes on Vecna to save Hawkins.
Noah Schnapp - Will Byers
It all began with the vanishing of Will Byers, and he's sure to be part of how it all ends, especially since Season 4 ended with him recognizing Vecna's presence.
Gaten Matarazzo - Dustin Henderson
As usual, Dustin is sure to be the brains of whatever operation the gang has in store; but he also may be struggling with Eddie Munson's death and trying to honor his friend.
Caleb McLaughlin - Lucas Sinclair
Caleb McLaughlin's Lucas personally witnessed Max's near-death experience and was last seen reading to her in the hospital; much of his next chapter will be shaped by what has happened to her and her unknown fate.
Sadie Sink - Max Mayfield
One of the MVPs of Season 4, Sadie Sink's Max died after she was blinded and crushed by Vecna. While Eleven brought her back to life, she's currently in a coma.
Joe Keery - Steve Harrington
No longer in high school, Steve seemed lost at the start of Season 4 but quickly stepped back into his role as the Upside Down-fighting babysitter by the finale, all while rekindling that spark between him and Nancy.
Natalia Dyer - Nancy Wheeler
After a heroic venture through the Upside Down and helping to (temporarily) defeat Vecna, Nancy appeared torn once more between her boyfriend, Jonathan Byers, and her old flame, Steve Harrington.
Maya Hawke - Robin Buckley
Season 4 explored more of Robin's friendship with Steve, and her own personality, before having her team up with Nancy and later play a key role in injuring Vecna.
Jamie Campbell Bower - Vecna / Henry Creel
After last season revealed his past as Henry Creel, Steve, Nancy, and Robin injured him but didn't stop him from infiltrating Hawkins with the Upside Down.
The following are characters who have yet to be confirmed but are expected to return.
Charlie Heaton - Jonathan Byers
An original member of the cast and brother to Will Byers, Jonathan is caught between Nancy and his own plans in Season 4 before returning to Hawkins in the finale.
Priah Ferguson - Erica Sinclair
Lucas' younger sister, Erica has progressively taken a more active role in recent Stranger Things seasons.
During Netflix's TUDUM event in June 2023, Netflix, via Variety, announced that Linda Hamilton has joined the cast of Stranger Things Season 5. It is unknown which character Hamilton will portray in the series.
The actress is best known for playing Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise.
What Will Happen in Stranger Things Season 5?
According to the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things Season 5 is as if "Season 1 and 4 had a baby" and then "that baby was injected with steroids."
From that description, it sounds like Stranger Things Season 5 is going just as big, if not more so, than Season 4, with perhaps the same focus on characters as Season 1.
While fans have a number of questions about this final chapter, one of the biggest is how Hawkins be affected by the invasion of the Upside Down?
Something to consider is David Harbour's comment about Hopper being "well-fed" in the next season, as that could mean some time passes between the Season 4 finale and the start of Season 5.
And, given how the kids are no longer kids, a time jump could be for the best.
Speaking of the kids, Max and Will are the two other huge questions heading into the final season.
Due to Sadie Sink's incredible Season 4 performance, killing her off would seem like a waste, even though it would raise the stakes and the character's motivations. But if she survives, will she still be able to see or even walk?
As for Will, it's tough to say what the Duffers have planned for him, apart from a dive into his connection with Vecna and the Upside Down.
Hopefully, the Duffer Brothers will have more to share in the months to come as fans eagerly await the next and final chapter of Stranger Things.
Fans can expect Stranger Things Season 5 to drop on Netflix in mid-2025.