It’s been a while since we’ve visited the world of Stranger Things. Season 4 of the Netflix series premiered on May 27, 2022, and filming for that season actually happened in late 2020. That’s right around when the pandemic hit and our world was put on pause as it dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2023, Stranger Things is dealing with another pause when it comes to writing and producing the final season aka season 5. I’m talking about the writer’s strike and the actor’s strike. Both strikes put an immediate stop on production for the final season of this Netflix series. But with the end of the writer’s strike, the Duffer Brothers are Back in the writer’s room.
At the moment, the Stranger Things cast are doing what everyone does. They’re aging. Our lead Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, is currently 19 years old. Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, is 20 years old at the moment. Caleb McLaughlin is 22, Gaten Matarazzo is 21, Noah Schnapp is 19 years old, and Sadie Sink is 21 years old. The point being, they’re way past playing teenagers. And I know Pretty Little Liars, Smallville, and every show in the early 2000s got away with that. But it’s different when you watch this cast literally grow before your eyes since they were about 11. And coming into season 5, considering they haven’t even started filming, brings up a lot of questions as to whether they’re going to de-age our favorite characters with AI.
We finally have an answer thanks to executive producer Shawn Levy. His comments came after he raised some eyebrows when he suggested that they would do everything possible to make the core group’s age seem less apparent. Many people instantly thought that AI was the direction that they were going in. And if you’ve been on the internet at all, you know that AI is a super controversial hot topic right now. And as a Stranger Things fan, I don’t want it anywhere near the cast that I have come to know and love. If we could pretend that the cast of Smallville were 16-year-olds, I’m pretty sure that I can pretend when Stranger Things season 5 comes out that these are still teenagers. Just saying.
Levy recently spoke to Deadline and basically said that no, they’re not using any sort of AI to make the kids look younger. The Duffer Brothers have had a plan for how Stranger Things was going to end since about 2020. They had and still do have a game plan. Sure, I do think that the pandemic probably made them tweak things a little bit. But they had a vision and Levy’s words make it seem like he trusts them and what they have planned for season 5. According to Deadline, Levy said, “I kind of was surprised that one sentence I said around this topic traveled so widely. The bottom line is, we know what we’re doing on this show. Our cast is brilliant. And these characters that the Duffers have created are so vivid. I’m not worried about everyone suiting back up and bringing them to life.”
When the actor’s strike ends, Stranger Things season 5 will go into production immediately. Or as immediately as they could because Levy says that the entire team is “chomping at the bit” to get back to work. And it makes sense because our core group are no longer kids. They’re entering new ventures and trying out movies and TV shows that will cement them as actors. And it must suck in a way to want to take on new projects but a justified writers and actors strike and a whole season 5 stopping you. That doesn’t mean that the actors love Stranger Things any less. They are undoubtedly grateful for the opportunity this show has given them to reach a worldwide audience. But they’ve been at this for half of their lives. It’s time to move on and will be there for season 5 and anything they take on from here on out.
Stranger Things season 5 has no definite premiere date but reports say they’re aiming for a 2024 release.