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‘Stranger Things’: What We Know About the Final Season

[This story includes major spoilers for all four seasons of Stranger Things.]

After seven years, Stranger Things is readying to say goodbye. And on Nov. 6 — Netflix’s annual Stranger Things Day — what better way to mark the notable date in the world of the Upside Down than by cataloguing everything we know about the final season? (On Nov. 6, 1983, Will Byers went missing in Hawkins, Indiana.)

When the sci-fi series hit Netflix in July 2016, it became an unexpected cultural phenomenon. The stars, many of whom landed their first major roles with this show, were barely preteens, and the draw for many was Winona Ryder. (The Hollywood Reporter angled its review as “Winona Ryder in Stranger Things.“)

Since then, however, Stranger Things has broken several Netflix records. Season four of the now-hit series set a Nielsen record for the most-watched show ever at the time, racking up more than 7 billion minutes of viewing time in a single week. It was also the most-streamed series of the entire year.

When the show, created by Matt and Ross Duffer, announced its fifth season would be the last, fans were overcome with a sense of sadness, though it wasn’t unexpected. (After all, the once-child stars are now well into their late teens and early 20s.)

“Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things,” the Duffer brothers wrote in an open letter to fans in February 2022, noting that the show was coming to an end. “At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four but — as you’ll see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale.”

Season four of the hit series, which was split into a two-part release, revealed that every villain taken on by the Hawkins, Indiana, crew — played by Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Maya Hawke, Joe Keery, David Harbour, Winona Ryder and Brett Gelman — all stemmed from one Big Bad: Henry Creel (Jamie Campbell Bower), also known as “001” and “Vecna.”

The final season of Stranger Things was originally set to begin production this past summer, but the dual writers and actors strikes delayed production. The Duffer brothers closed down the show’s writers room on May 6, following the start of the WGA strike. When that strike ended, the co-showrunners announced they were back in business.

However, as the actors strike surpasses 100 days, even if all the scripts are ready, filming can’t begin while the stars are striking. With SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers seemingly nearing a deal, it’s possible production could start soon.

Below, The Hollywood Reporter breaks down everything there is to know (so far) about Stranger Things’ fifth and final season — from new and returning castmembers to what chaos Vecna might bring to Hawkins in its last run. (This story will be updated as more is revealed about the upcoming season.)

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