Stranger Things’ Final Season Is Still On Its Way. But First? Waffles, Ice Cream, and a Prequel for the Stage

By now, Stranger Things feels like one of those pop-cultural entities that never really goes away, like Drake or superhero movies or annoying superhero-movie discourse. But the landmark Netflix show is (sort of) nearing its end, with a release date for the final season likely sometime in 2025 or even, as The Hollywood Reporter posited, 2026. To stoke interest for this final installment, which will be out [shudder] after the next presidential election, Netflix declared November 6 “Stranger Things Day,” corresponding with the fictional date Will Byers disappeared in 1983.

Most of the updates that are part of “Stranger Things Day” are pretty conventional hit-TV-show cash-ins, including new merch lines, food deals with Eggo and Heatonist, and the release of more flavors from the show’s in-universe ice cream brand Scoops Ahoy. But the day also brought a few nuggets of actual news pertaining to the series whose previous season broke an armful of Netflix records in 2022. This has been a rollercoaster year for Netflix, which came down hard on account password sharing, adding many subscribers, but also saw its stock price dip over the summer. Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s few remaining surefire properties, so it’s no surprise they’re doing everything they can to build excitement for this last season.

In May the Duffer Brothers showed solidarity with the WGA, posting on Twitter that “Writing does not stop when filming begins,” and stressing “it is not possible [to begin filming] during this strike,” meaning that any internal timeline for completion likely had to be pushed back. That means the show could still fall within the window hinted by Finn Wolfhard, who told GQ that he would be 22 when the final season was released. (He turns 21 in December.) Though the WGA strike ended with a new agreement in October, the SAG-AFTRA strike recently crossed the 100-day mark; The Hollywood Reporter shared on November 4 that leadership for the union was reviewing what they dubbed the studios’ “last, best and final offer.” As a Netflix program, the issue of streaming residuals is particularly relevant to the cast of Stranger Things, and along with the use of AI, is one of the major points of emphasis for SAG-AFTRA.

Probably because of the ongoing strike, most of the Stranger Things Day news focused on other media. A key update that came as part of Stranger Things Day concerned The First Shadow, a stage play spinoff helmed by series writer Kate Trefry and directed by theater and film veteran Stephen Daldry. The theatrical show will open in London’s vaunted West End, and serves as a prequel, set in Hawkins, Indiana in 1959 and focusing on the origins of Henry Creel (a.k.a. Vecna a.k.a. One) and his relationship with a new character, Patty Newby. “There are so many Easter eggs. It’s Easter morning,” Trefry said in a featurette on the show. The theater production will star newcomers Ella Karuna Williams as Newby and Louis McCartney as Creel.

“It really is a story exploring when Henry Creel first moved to Hawkins. And like every Stranger Things story, there’s a new, really important character, which in this case is Patty Newby,” the Duffer Brothers said. There’s obviously a mixed history of these sorts of properties being adapted for the stage. The most analogous project is probably Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play about an adult son of Harry attending Hogwarts and grappling with the immense pressure of his famous father. Though critical response to Cursed Child has been polarizing, it’s earned Tony awards, been staged across multiple continents, and even been rumored to be turned into a movie of its own.

In a similar vein, Netflix also promoted the recent release of Flight of Icarus, a novel by staff writer Caitlin Schneiderhan focused on key Season 4 character Eddie Munson, played by Joseph Quinn.

One piece of news that had nothing to do with Stranger Things Day broke earlier in November when producer Shawn Levy told Deadline that they would not be using digital de-aging technology on the show’s stars. That’s something all fans can rally around—Vecna and the Demagorgon were scary enough.

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