Stranger Things spin-off just confirmed for Netflix — everything we know

(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)

Yes, we're getting a Stranger Things spin-off show (as it's more than just a rumor now) — but only one of the Stranger Things-related announcements that Netflix just dropped in our laps. In a press release sent today, Netflix broke a lot of Stranger Things-adjacent news, taking a victory lap in this moment where it's got high visibility as one of the best streaming services.

The story all kinda begins with a new production company that the Matt and Ross Duffer, the Stranger Things creators duo known as The Duffer Brothers, have started. Upside Down Pictures "will produce film and televisions projects as a part of [The Duffers'] overall deal with Netflix." The company is going to be run by a venerable name in current TV history, producer Hilary Leavitt (Ozark, Orphan Black).

This new studio, unsurprisingly, will create content that has a similarity to Stranger Things. The Duffers are quoted as saying Upside Down Pictures will "aim to create the kind of stories that inspired the Duffers growing up - stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism."

Here's what we know about the Stranger Things spin-off and the other projects that Upside Down Pictures is delivering.

Stranger Things spin-off details

(L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, and Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS

(Image credit: Netflix)

The press release states the "live-action Stranger Things spin-off series" is "based on an original idea by The Duffer Brothers." Which isn't a whole lot to go on. Chatter online has speculated that the series would be about Steve and Dustin, or possibly Eleven, but the Duffers have spoken to how this series will be very different. 

On Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Matt and Ross Duffer explained that the details about the spinoff that they hadn't told Netflix about the spin-off details yet (they also sorta-debunked the Stranger Things 4 fan theory giving some hope for next season). Not only will they not direct this show, but the duo said to not expect any of the current Stranger Things characters to show up, saying "It’s not following – I’ve read these rumors that there’s gonna be an Eleven spinoff, that there’s gonna be a Steve and Dustin spinoff, or that it’s another number." 

That's not the case. They continued, stating "That’s not interesting  ... because we’ve done all that. We’ve spent I don’t know how many hours exploring all of that. So it’s very different." The biggest connection, without any known characters would be the manner in which it's told: "The most important connective tissue I would say is the storytelling sensibility of it," they continued. "There is story that connects to the Stranger Things world, but it really is more about how we’re telling that story."

The other Stranger Things and Duffer projects announced

That's not all, though. The Duffers are also working on "A new stage play set within the world and mythology of Stranger Things." This will be delivered by producers Sonia Friedman, Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader) and Netflix. Daldry is on tap to direct.

In non-Stranger Things content news, three other projects are coming from the duo and Netflix:

  • An all-new live-action version of Death Note, the Japanese manga and anime series that Netflix already tried to adapt once.
  • A new series from creators Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance)
  • A series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub‘s The Talisman. Produced alongside Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Paramount Television, and created by Curtis Gwinn.

Outlook: Netflix doubles down on Duffers

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, wearing her white vest

(Image credit: Netflix)

The press release also announced that Stranger Things 4 ranks as the No. 1 all time most popular English-language TV shows, as audiences viewed 1.15 billion hours viewed in its first 28 days.

But with a season as long as Stranger Things season 4, we're not entirely surprised. Netflix also claimed Stranger Things is the first English-language series to hit No.1 on the Top 10 lists in 91 countries, and that it has the highest premiere weekend on the service ever, with 286.79 million hours viewed.

In a year where Netflix's headlines have had more to do with its fails than its wins —as subscriber numbers are not great — it's not shocking to see the service buddy up with the Duffers as they prepare to deliver Stranger Things season 5.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.