In a nutshell:

After its record-breaking fourth season, the Duffer brothers’ sci-fi behemoth is hurtling towards its conclusion—but, after that, the pair will explore other stories within the world they’ve created.

Is a Stranger Things spin-off definitely happening?

Yes, it looks like it. Back in February 2022, in an open letter to fans confirming that Stranger Things would end with season five, the Duffer brothers hinted that the door was open for another series set in the same universe. “There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things: new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes,” they wrote. “But first, we hope that you stay with us as we finish this tale of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, of a broken police chief and a ferocious mum, of a small town called Hawkins and an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down.” The phrasing suggested that any potential spin-offs would be released after the original show concludes.

Then, on 6 July, Deadline reported that the Duffers had formed a new production company, Upside Down Pictures, and recommitted to Netflix with a slate of new projects. Among these was “the aforementioned live-action Stranger Things spin-off series, based on an original idea by the Duffer brothers, with Upside Down and 21 Laps producing.”

What do we know so far about the plot of the Stranger Things spin-off?

Very little, though the two showrunners did share some clues with fans via Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast on 4 July. “We are working on a spin-off idea that we haven’t told anybody about. I think it drove Netflix crazy that we were talking about it in the press and they don’t know what it is.” One person who does know, however? Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things.

“It’s not like [Finn] machine-gunned ideas out,” they said. “He was just like, ‘Is it this?’ And it’s so off the wall, it’s not what anyone would think so I don’t know how Finn picked it out. He’s a smart kid. So, we have that idea, but the idea, ultimately, is to sort of pass the baton to someone who is really talented and passionate. Even the idea of say, us doing a pilot and then leaving it – it just feels silly to me. You need to be there from the beginning to the end. We need to find a partner to help us with that. This show has taken up a decade of our lives. I’ve loved every second of it, but I don’t want to do another decade. But, we do want to be involved.”

Asked if the spin-off will include any familiar characters or settings, they replied: “It’s a 1,000 percent different. I’ve read these rumors that there’s going to be an Eleven spin-off, a Steve and Dustin spin-off, or it’s going to follow Four or another number [another child from Hawkins Lab]. It’s nothing like that. That’s not interesting to me because we’ve done all that. There’s connective tissue but almost the most important connective tissue, I would say, is the storytelling sensibility of it. There are stories that connect to the Stranger Things world but it really is more about how we’re telling that story.”

Will the cast of Stranger Things return for the spin-off?

From what the creators have said, it seems unlikely, but that hasn’t stopped actors from the original show speculating about who could make an appearance. In a recent interview with GQ, David Harbour, who plays Chief Jim Hopper, said of a potential spin-off: “At this point, I think Hopper is a character that can exist independent of me. If they want to go back in time, forward in time… I’d love to see another actor play Hopper, and see what they can bring to it.” His pick? Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi. “He could pull off being as handsome as I was at 20.” Now that’s a spin-off we’d love to see.

When will the Stranger Things spin-off be released?

Of the fifth and final season of Stranger Things, Harbour said: “I think we’ll [shoot] next year. They’re finishing writing it this year, and they need to prep and stuff. So it’d probably come out mid-2024, based on our track record.” If the Duffers then move on to the spin-off, rather than shooting in parallel, it may not land on screens until 2025 or 2026.

What are the other projects the Duffer brothers currently have in the works?

Four other projects were confirmed by Deadline: a new stage play set within the world of Stranger Things, due to be helmed by Stephen Daldry; an original series from Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’s Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews; a series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s 1984 novel The Talisman; and a new live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Death Note. Let’s hope the pair don’t stop there.