'Stranger Things' season 5: Everything we know so far

(L to R) Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield and Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair are lined up in Stranger Things 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

"Stranger Things" season 5 is coming — at some point. It's been nearly two years since "Stranger Things" season 4 burst on the scene in 2022, introducing viewers to Vecna and kicking off the series' final arc.

"Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for 'Stranger Things,'" series creators the Duffer Brothers wrote in a post announcing the final season on X. "At the time, we predicted the story would last four or 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."

Though it may be bittersweet to say goodbye to the gang from Hawkins, the final season promises to be a grand affair, finally revealing the truth about the Upside Down and explaining some of the series' long-standing mysteries once and for all.

Here's everything we know so far about "Stranger Things" season 5.

'Stranger Things' season 5 release date window

Writing on "Stranger Things" season 5 began on Aug. 2, 2022, almost exactly a month after Season 4, Volume 2 debuted, Though production had to be suspended during the writers' and actors' strikes in 2023, Netflix confirmed that production had resumed as of Jan. 8, 2024, and is ongoing. 

Unfortunately, that means that it will be at least a year before we can travel back to Hawkins with the gang and see the final installment of this blockbuster series. No specific release window has been released, but based on the history of the series, most fans are hoping to see a summer 2025 premiere date for "Stranger Things" season 5. 

Originally, it looked like the plan was to release all of the episodes at once, but given the significant delays, we may be looking at another split season, like what happened with season 4. Again, nothing has been confirmed just yet, but as we get closer to the 2025 premiere of season 5, we will learn more about the final season's release strategy. 

'Stranger Things' season 5 cast

Noah Schnapp, Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, Winona Ryder, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, Amybeth McNulty, Charlie Heaton, Brett Gelman, Maya Hawke, Natalia Dyer, Jamie Campbell Bower, Priah Ferguson, Linda Hamilton, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Ross Duffer, Matt Duffer, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink of "Stranger Things."

Noah Schnapp, Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, Winona Ryder, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, Amybeth McNulty, Charlie Heaton, Brett Gelman, Maya Hawke, Natalia Dyer, Jamie Campbell Bower, Priah Ferguson, Linda Hamilton, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Ross Duffer, Matt Duffer, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink of "Stranger Things." (Image credit: ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA/NETFLIX)

Confirmed "Stranger Things" season 5 cast members include almost all series regulars from Season 4, including: 

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven: A powerful young girl with telekinetic and telepathic abilities who escapes a government lab and is now trying to help her friends seal off the "Upside Down" and its horde of monsters forever.

Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler: Eleven's best friend and central connection to the human world.

Noah Schnapp as Will Byers: After being abducted to the Upside Down, Will Byers maintains a mysterious connection to the Upside Down, and wants to help his friends discover the mysteries behind this otherworldly realm. 

Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson: The undeniable heart of the group, Dustin keeps his friends close despite overwhelming odds. 

Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair: Athletic, brave, and logical, Lucas sometimes feels like an outsider, but he knows his friends always have his back. 

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield: A skateboard-loving and independent girl who becomes a close friend to the group, and a love interest for Lucas. 

Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair: Lucas's no-nonsense younger sister who gets drawn into the group's mysteries.

Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler: A resourceful and intelligent high school senior who uses her journalistic skills to investigate the strange happenings in Hawkins.

Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers: Will's older brother who becomes romantically involved with Nancy.

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington: A former high school jock who develops a protective bond with Dustin and the others.

Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley: A quick-witted girl who works with Steve at Scoops Ahoy and becomes a member of the crew.

David Harbour as Jim Hopper: A gruff but caring police chief who becomes Eleven's adoptive father and Joyce Byers' love interest.

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers: Will and Jonathan's protective mother who will do anything to keep her kids (and Jim Hopper) safe. 

Jamie Campbell Bower as Henry Creel/Vecna: A dangerous being with telekinetic powers who threatens Hawkins from the Upside Down.

In addition to this cast of regulars, a new face will be joining the cast on their final trip to the Upside Down: Linda Hamilton of "Terminator" fame.  Hamilton's role in the series has not yet been revealed, but the star has been confirmed to be appearing in multiple episodes. 

Sadly, one actor who won't be back is Joseph Quinn who played fan-favorite character Eddie Munson in Stranger Things 4.  The Duffer Brothers confirmed that the character would not be back for season 5 on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, and despite hopeful fan theories, said that the character truly died in season 4 during the demo-bat showdown with Dustin. 

As for the crew, the series will be ending just as it began with the Duffer Brothers back at the helm one last time to close out the Netflix phenomenon they helped first bring to the screen back in 2016.

'Stranger Things' season 5 plot

Sadie Sink as Max, is levitating with her eyes going weird in Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

The first four seasons of "Stranger Things" cover a lot of ground. The series starts off in 1983 with the disappearance of Will Byers into the mysterious realm known as the "Upside Down" His friends, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, search for him, encountering Eleven, a mysterious girl with telekinetic powers, who has a mysterious connection to another dimension she calls the Upside Down, which is populated with monsters that the group of friends call Demogorgons, who are beginning to make their way into our world. 

The first season ends with the gang saving their friend (with some help from Sherrif Jim Hopper and Will's mother Joyce) but also unwittingly unleashing an even bigger monster. 

Season 2 fast-forwards to a year later: 1984. Things appear normal in Hawkins, but unbeknownst to the group of friends, Will is being possessed by something called the Mind Flayer, who has its sights on learning more about the town. Making matters more complicated is the new girl Max and her brother Billy, who immediately draw attention and suspicion from the group.  

Though the Mind Flayer is seemingly defeated at the end of season 2, Will alerts the group during season 3 that he believes this entity hasn't actually left and is now targeting the citizens of Hawkins as part of its plan to reopen the gate to the Upside Down. Romance and conflict blossom in equal measure within the friend group, and emotions run high as a climactic battle takes place inside the Starcourt Mall, where sacrifices are made to defeat the Mind Flayer once and for all. 

Season 4 picks up in 1986, with the group scattered. Eleven and the Byers family have moved to California, while Mike visits them on spring break. But their attempt at normalcy is shattered following several gruesome murders back in Hawkins. Though Eleven gave up her powers, she must re-discover them at a secret laboratory to help defeat Vecna, an evil creature from the Upside Down who is later revealed to be Henry Creel, or 001.  

Once again, all roads lead to Hawkins, as Vecna claims victim after victim in Hawkins, and his connection to Eleven is revealed. And while the team is able to temporarily deal with this threat, it is clear that Vecna isn't done with his evil plot just yet...

A Demogorgon bristles in Russia

(Image credit: Netflix)

When "Stranger Things" season 5 picks up, a lot of time will have passed following season 4, and the Duffer Brothers have confirmed a substantial time jump will be used.   The brothers have also revealed in multiple interviews that the main focus of season 5 will be to break down the mythology of the Upside Down and defeat Vecna once and for all.

The "Stranger Things" crew has been sharing periodic teases about what fans can expect from the final season, confirming the first episode of the fifth season will be called "The Crawl," and the first scene will open in darkness with the sound of cold wind and groaning trees with an unnamed child singing “a familiar song."

Of course, we have no idea what that means, but it definitely sounds like the final season will be getting off to a very spooky start!

More From Tom's Guide

Amanda Kondolojy

Amanda Kondolojy is an entertainment journalist based in Florida with over 15 years of experience covering film, TV, theme parks and more. When not in front of a screen you can find her reading something at the beach (usually by Neil Gaiman, Grady Hendrix or Brandon Sanderson) or dancing around the kitchen to her favorite showtunes.