Stranger Things Season 4 Could Have Featured More Episodes

According to Netflix, the lengthy Stranger Things season 4 might have been even longer if not for COVID.

Robin (Maya Hawke) and Steve (Joe Keery) on Stranger Things Season 4
Photo: Netflix

When Netflix hosted its Q2 2022 earnings call on July 19, the company was expected to share that it had lost roughly 2 million subscribers in the quarter. Much to investors’ surprise, however, the streamer reported a loss of only 970,000! What can be credited for this good news? Netflix co-chief executive Reed Hastings has an idea.

“If there was a single thing, we might say Stranger Things,” Hastings told investors.

It’s safe to say that Stranger Things saved the day, and honestly, we’re not surprised! Naturally, with that huge credit, it would only make sense that Netflix would want even more of the horror-sci-fi hit. Well, on that same call, it was revealed that they almost did. Allow us to explain.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-chief executive officer, shared how COVID increased the production costs for the season, saying, “Well, that particular show was probably affected as much as any because of the young cast and the size and scope of the production and the multiple locations we shot in. So, it was a very expensive burden on the show to make sure that we could deliver it. One of the catalysts of splitting the season in half was how long it took to produce that show, and a lot of that was stalled because of early shutdown of the production and restarting production and being extremely careful with the cast of the show early on in COVID. So it was more financially impacted than a lot of our other projects were.”

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If not for these delays and inflated costs, Stranger Things season 4 might have looked a little different – or rather longer! “I think if you did that all again, that spend off the top, you might even get a couple of extra episodes out of it,” Sarandos concluded. 

With this news, one can’t help but speculate what the season might have looked like with additional episodes. Many thought season 4’s nine episodes were already on the longer side, especially the finale, which was a total of two hours and 22 minutes. This is notably the longest episode of the series and the other eight episodes were all over the one-hour mark as well. 

Now, despite that length, the finale did feature a two-day time jump after the final battle while the California gang made their way to Hawkins, which not everyone was thrilled with. If there were additional episodes, it would have been beneficial and felt more authentic to the story if the audience actually got to see the immediate aftermath during that time period, even if it was brutal to watch. 

Think about Steve, Nancy, and Robin finding Dustin with Eddie, and then actually getting to react to the beloved character’s death. Additionally, they could have found out about Max’s fate, and of course, been there for Lucas after that. While these moments might not be crucial to the story, it would have definitely been nice to see a little more pay off before moving along to Hawkins.

Realistically, would Stranger Things’ fourth season have needed more episodes? Not necessarily. The season overall had a really great build-up with the first three playing catch up and setting everything up while episode 4 served as the game changer episode with that iconic end sequence, followed by the rest leading to that life or death battle. 

That being said, having one or two more episodes released in Part 2 might have been an interesting idea considering Part 1 had seven. While some might be wary that they would’ve simply been filler episodes, this season is arguably one of the best, if not the best, of the series. One can’t help but be curious what the Duffer Brothers would have done with that extra time.

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All episodes of Stranger Things 4 are currently streaming on Netflix.