Season 4 of Stranger Things was not just massive in size, scale, and budget, but in episode length as well. The two episodes of Volume 2, “Papa” and “The Piggyback,” clocked a total runtime of four hours, though that did little to deter fans from watching the Netflix series to find out the fate of their favourite characters and Hawkins.
With the show ending its penultimate run and heading into Season 5, it remains to be seen how the pieces of the puzzle will fit together. While nothing about the story has been announced. creators and showrunners Ross and Matt Duffer (or The Duffer Brothers) have confirmed that the episode lengths won’t be as supersized.
Speaking with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the duo shared, “The only reason we don’t expect to be as long is, this season, if you look at it, it’s almost a two-hour ramp up before our kids really get drawn into a supernatural mystery. You get to know them, you get to see them in their lives, they’re struggling with adapting to high school and so forth, Steve’s trying to find a date, all of that.”
Season 5 of Stranger Things is set to kick things into high gear from the start, however, which means none of the high-school chronicles are going to occur, as the characters will be ready to hit the ground running.
“Characters are already going to be in action, they’re already going to have a goal and a drive, and I think that’s going to carve out at least a couple hours and make this season feel really different,” the Duffer Brothers continued. “I’m sure the wrap-up will be a lot longer, it’s going to be ‘Return of the King’-ish with, like, eight endings.”
That would put the series finale as an exception to the rule. Where the rest of the episodes have shorter runtimes than those in Season 4, fans can expect the grand finale to be as long as a feature film. “We’re more likely to do what we did here, which is to just have a 2.5 hour episode.”
The highly-anticipated second part of Season 4 recently wrapped up the journeys of various characters and ended on an ominous note for Hawkins. On launch day, it caused Netflix to crash, but that’s not a surprise — not only did the show re-popularise Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”, it also shot up to the streamer’s charts as the top English-language TV season of all time. A release date has yet to be announced for Stranger Things Season 5, though estimates place its premiere sometime in 2024.