While certain shows in recent years, such as Cobra Kai and Squid Game, have given it a run for its money, the biggest Netflix original series is traditionally considered to be Stranger Things, as the sci-fi ’80s-set drama has achieved cross-generational, international appeal since its launch in 2016. With the fourth season on the way, Netflix users everywhere can’t wait to return to Hawkins for what promises to be another smash-hit run. So it’s ironic to think that the cast was originally prepared for things to end after only a single year.
Speaking on the Inside of You podcast, star Gaten Matarazzo — who plays fan-favorite Dustin Henderson — revealed that the young cast members were frequently encouraged to appreciate making the show while it was happening because it seemed so unlikely that it would get recommissioned for another season. “We kept getting told ‘Enjoy while it lasts, because it’s probably not going to get a season two,'” Matarazzo told host Michael Rosenbaum.
Although it’s easy to mock the idea that Stranger Things would’ve been canceled after just one batch of episodes in hindsight, it was a fair enough assumption back in the day. It’s hard to predict what TV shows are going to strike a chord with audiences and which won’t, and while Netflix must’ve hoped ST would find a sizeable audience, producers were no doubt floored when it went nuclear upon its release in July 2016.
As it is, that poorly predicted prophecy was four seasons off. It was just announced that Stranger Things will officially conclude with its fifth season, as per the rough plan creators the Duffer brothers had for a four-to-five season arc right from the beginning. Though the end is in sight, fans don’t need to start mourning just yet as the nine-part season four is set to feature super-sized episodes, making it essentially double the length of previous runs.
While Stranger Things ended up lasting far longer than expected, hopefully, Gaten Matarazzo and his co-stars took the other part of the advice on board and continue to enjoy their time making the show as much as possible. Season four, part one, hits Netflix on May 27. The second half follows on July 1.