In the wake of its release, Stranger Things caused a phenomenon: fans were won over by its charming cast and 80s nostalgia, which assured the show's place in pop culture for the foreseeable future (and provided people with countless easy-to-achieve Halloween costumes). But the future of the show seems less guaranteed now that it looks like Stranger Things Season 3 will be the Duffer brothers' last season.
Moviefone reported that "according to a source with knowledge of the production," the Duffer brothers would likely depart after the show's third season, which is set to air sometime in 2019. That thought might fill you will serious dread if you're a dedicated fan of the show; as the showrunners and series creators, Stranger Things is very much the Duffer brothers' unique vision. Once they're gone, there are really only two options: either the show continues on without them, or it ends. Stranger Things ending after just three short seasons isn't what anyone wants, but there's no guarantee that the show would feel the same with someone new at the helm.
The brothers had always made it clear that the show wouldn't go on indefinitely, though previous reports had indicated the series might cap off at four or five seasons total. In August 2017, the Duffers talked to Vulture about the show's future, explaining that they weren't sure they could justify something bad happening to their cast of kids once a year. "We're thinking it will be a four-season thing an then out," Ross said.
However, that seemed far from definite. In an interview with E! News in October 2017, the brothers appeared to be less sure about the exact number of seasons Stranger Things would have. Ross said, "We don't actually know. I think, you know, four to five seasons is likely where we'll end up, but who knows? I mean, none of this is official, and we know where we want to go. We're still trying to figure out how long it'll take to get there, so we'll see."
Matt added, "It's hard, like four seems short, five seems long. So I don't know what to do."
It's possible that in writing Season 3, the Duffers determined that they didn't need several seasons after all; they could wrap up everything they wanted to do with just one more. Netflix could also continue the show without them, since they wouldn't want to miss out on all the benefits that come with hosting such an immensely popular show. In September 2017, executive producer Shawn Levy told Entertainment Weekly:
"Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors' agents. The truth is we're definitely going four seasons and there's very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely."
Fans shouldn't get too worried yet, because there's still plenty of time before the eight or nine episodes of Season 3 air — which means that any of this could be subject to change. And there's plenty to look forward to when it comes to the upcoming third season. Vanity Fair confirmed that there would be another time jump between seasons to catch up with the ever-growing cast, and that the Mind Flayer would still be a concern going forward. There are also the other children experimented on alongside Eleven to catch up with, as well as the possible return of Matthew Modine's Dr. Brenner. There are a lot of possibilities to explore.
The future of Stranger Things is uncertain right now, but that's not cause for alarm. Until more information emerges, fans should focus on all the excitement Season 3 will bring.
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