Will ‘Stranger Things’ season five have a time-jump?

Noah Schnapp and Caleb Mclaughlin of Stranger Things
Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Consider Stranger Things season five the puberty stage of the show; unforeseen changes and leaps in time are on the horizon.

As the first half of Stranger Things 4, part one, came to a (for-now) conclusion, we were struck by how this season feels like a bunch of amazing storylines and ideas mashed together in the COVID pandemic-induced interim since season three ended.

The familiar faces we came to love as the Stranger Things kids have all entered a different era of their lives.

As that part one finale revealed, the upside-down is actually stuck back in time, in 1983, while the regular world is in the show’s present-day time, April 1986. Season one was set in 1983, and the nexus event for the time-jump — well, maybe time-stop — happening in the upside-down seems to be the day that Will (Noah Schnapp) was first abducted, as Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is forced to confront the day that her best friend, beloved character Barb, was killed.

That means we have one time jump already established.

Could another jump further into the past be in the cards, or a leap ahead into the future?

Jump around

You can count on it, like a built-in storyline of the blossoming (well, by now fully in-bloom) kinship between Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve (Joe Keery).

As the creators, the Duffer Brothers, try to figure out how to pull off the fifth and (supposedly) final season, they have to consider where things are on the timeline of the show and in the actors’ real lives. As Ross Duffer let us in behind the gate, er curtain, recently, in an interview with TV Line, a jump is coming.

“I’m sure we will do a time jump,” Ross said in the interview. “Ideally, we’d have shot (seasons four and five) back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that.”

Matt Duffer added, “I’m not sure we’re ready to say yet a start date for shooting. But a lot of it is pretty well mapped out.”

As we contemplate not just the two feature film-length episodes of season four we have left, it leaves a lot in our mind about season five: Are we delving further into the past, as we’ve been revisiting the backstory of Vecna, and Hawkins Laboratory’s first “student,” One (001)? Or are we heading into the future?

The part one finale felt a bit like a prequel movie, and kudos to the Duffers and crew for pulling that one off, in which we learned not just about Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) past, but the past of the Hawkins Lab, as well as Martin Brenner, aka Papa (Matthew Modine).

But in season five to come, given the ages of the kids — or, well, preteens … nope, teens, not to mention the full-grown adults, such as Steve and others in their ‘20s and ‘30s who are getting older too, it’s gonna be mighty tough to keep up the premise that everyone is younger than their real-life counterparts.

So maybe the story joins the characters in the future — in college, or even senior year of high school, with the explicit understanding that X amount of time has passed so that the character ages line up better with the actual actors’ ages. Perhaps the upside-down somehow warps time, or we even get an MCU-inspired blip-like event (hello, multiverse) that involves some aging or not-aging, depending on where they spend the time between season four and five.

Coming soon… and later

Well, it seems we’re not the only ones unsure of what’s to come — both on July 1, and beyond.

“So these are all discussions we’re going to have with our writers when we start the room up,” Ross Duffer added in the interview. “Believe it or not, we’re still working on Season 4 [sic]. We’re trying to finish the final two episodes, they’re so massive.”

It seems that even the season currently streaming, and the rest of the season to come, will continue to influence the way the showrunners approach season five.

“We learn a lot every time we make a [season],” Matt said. “We’ve learned a lot just working with all of our new actors and the ones that we’ve worked with for a long time over this year (making season four), so I’m sure it’ll change a little bit from that outline…The ending is the hard thing. That’s obviously the stressful thing. We really want to stick the landing.”

As we mentioned, the final two episodes of season four will be released on Netflix on July 1. Meanwhile, the first seven episodes of season 4 — as well as the previous three seasons — are all available on Netflix right now.