Stranger Things has certainly made a surprising pop culture impact in a short amount of time and October’s Season 2 debut of the Netflix retro-horror series could stand as one of the streaming giant’s biggest premiere events. Yet, while Stranger Things has just been preemptively confirmed for Season 3, creators Matt and Ross Duffer also hint that the end may be nigh after Season 4.
Reveling in the hype surrounding the imminent arrival of Stranger Things Season 2, the Duffers made some potentially crucial comments in an interview with Vulture about the lifespan of the still-burgeoning series. With its supernatural events set in Indiana in the early 1980s, the series has sparked special interest with its spectacular synthesis of retro Stephen King-esque horror aesthetics and geeky pop culture callouts that simultaneously feels old and new. Yet, the Duffers, in a moment of apparent candor, provide a realistically-minded timetable for the series, stating:
“We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,” says Ross. By then, the original band of adorable preteens will be ready for college. “We just have to keep adjusting the story,” says Matt. “Though I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year.” With Ross adding, “They’re going to have to get the fuck out of this town! It’s ridiculous!”
The comments do sound off-the-cuff and just slightly short of an official confirmation that the Duffers are calling it quits after Season 4. However, they also provide insight into the mindset of the Duffers when it comes to the overall arc of the story relating to where it rests right now. Season 1 focused on the mysterious disappearance of young Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), the escape of psychic experiment Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), attacks by a horrific monster the kids named the Demogorgon and the connection of those events to the dark, reality-mirroring, Upside Down dimension. Season 2 will introduce new characters and focus on ensuing supernatural implications of Will’s interdimensional ordeal.
Yet, the small layers of this proverbial onion peeled away in Season 1 only left us with a cliffhanger moment in which Will – back home with his family and friends, seemingly adjusted back to normalcy – heads to the bathroom to upchuck slugs, implying that the Upside Down’s grip on him has not quite loosened and that the monstrous Demogorgon that the children, Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) and police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) encountered in Season 1 was just the tip of the interdimensional iceberg and a servant to a greater evil that needs to be tackled. Ross Duffer provides a possibly revelatory comment on the bigger picture in describing the siblings’ Season 2 approach when he muses:
“I told Matt, ‘I don’t want to call it season two, I just want it to feel like a movie sequel.’ If you have a successful movie, No. 2 is always a little bit bigger.”
Indeed, movie franchises, even successful ones, are artistically obligated to reach a coda (e.g. 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 follow-up serving as an epochal ending for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), lest they become stale and unwelcome. Likewise, it sounds as if the Duffers have grandiose plans for Stranger Things to go out with a bang, building toward a crescendo in which its horror-afflicted Indiana hamlet will serve as an interdimensional, monster-filled battlefield. Whether that ultimately proves to occur in Season 4 (in the very likely event of that renewal,) remains to be seen.
Stranger Things Season 2 arrives for another insane Upside Down ordeal on Netflix on October 27, 2017.
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