Stranger Things is back soon — and the series’ end is also in sight. On Thursday, Netflix and Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer announced that Stranger Things 4 would premiere May 27 on Netflix worldwide. But its nine episodes won’t all arrive at once. The fourth season has been split into two volumes — Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 consisting of five episodes drops May 27, and will be followed a month or so later with the four-episode Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 July 1 on Netflix.
One might think this was the last season given the two-volume release strategy, but that’s not true. Stranger Things will end with a fifth and final season, but no expected window on that. Given the three-year wait between Stranger Things 3 and Stranger Things 4, we might be waiting a while. (That said, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delayed Stranger Things 4 more than Netflix would’ve liked.) But Stranger Things 5 is not the end of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers are already teasing spin-offs.
“With nine scripts, over eight-hundred pages, almost two years of filming, thousands of visual effects shots, and a runtime nearly twice the length of any previous season, Strange Things 4 was the most challenging season yet, but also the most rewarding one,” Matt and Ross Duffer wrote in an open letter published on the Stranger Things social channels Thursday. They noted the fourth season’s “unprecedented length”, though to be fair, Stranger Things 2 also had nine episodes.
The Duffer Brothers’ letter continues: “Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things. 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 soon see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season; season 5 will be the last.”
“There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things; new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes,” the Duffers added. “But first we hope that you stay with us as we finish this tale of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, of a broken police chief and a ferocious mom, of a small town called Hawkins and an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down.”
With the season premiere just three months, expect the marketing for Stranger Things 4 to pick up soon. Until now, we’ve gotten four short teasers that hint at four different storylines — appropriately for the fourth season — in Russia with Jim Hopper (David Harbour), in the lab with a young Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and scientist Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), a new Creel House in Hawkins with the rest of the gang, and in California where Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) took her family at the end of Stranger Things 3. The last of the teasers came with all nine-episode titles.
Alongside Thursday’s release date and final season reveal, Netflix unveiled a series of posters that correspond to those four aforementioned storylines — and one weird-looking combined poster that brings them all together. You can see them all here.
Stranger Things 4 begins May 27 with Volume 1, and will end with Volume 2 on July 1.