Stranger Things has been hinting at an expanded universe beyond the wildly popular Netflix series for quite some time, and today they’ve finally shared new details for an upcoming stage production. Ahead of the show’s Season 4 return in May 2022, creators Matt and Ross Duffer announced that Season 5 would be the last for the Netflix series. Thankfully, just because we’re saying goodbye to Eleven and the Party, doesn’t mean Season 5 will be our last trip into the upside down. Today Netflix has unveiled the official title for the stage play, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, as well as other key details about the production. Tickets will go on sale later this month, and fans who pre-register at Stranger Things on Stage will be given priority access.
Following the finale of Season 4, The Duffer Brothers announced several new projects along with their new production banner Upside Down Pictures. In addition to unrelated works including a series adaptation of Stephen King‘s Talisman, the Duffers also announced plans for a live-action Stranger Things spin-off series, as well as a stage play set within the universe. Tony-winner Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot the Musical) was announced to direct, with Netflix and Sonia Friedman Productions producing alongside the Duffers who serve as creative producers, and associate producer 21 Laps.
A previous casting call posted for the play served up some major HellCheer vibes with two character descriptions, seeking a pair of 14-year-old Hawkins residents—a goody-two-shoes preachers daughter who finds herself falling for the “moody and pale” school outcast. While many fans would love to see more of Eddie (Joseph Quinn) and Chrissy (Grace Van Dien), yesterday’s teaser hinted that we’ll be going back a little bit before their time to explore something more closely linked to Vecna’s history. The brief teaser showed an outline of the Creel House, a location featured heavily in Season 4, and the number “001” tucked into the words “coming soon.” As we learned in Season 4, Henry Creel was a gifted child with abilities very similar to Eleven’s who became Dr. Brenner’s (Matthew Modine) first experiment aka One before he turned into the villainous Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) prior to the events of Stranger Things Season 1.
Everything We Know About Stranger Things: The First Shadow
Daldry will be joined by Justin Martin as co-director, and the play is written by Stranger Things series writer and co-executive producer Kate Trefrey and is based on an original story by Trefry, the Duffer Brothers, and Jack Thorne. In addition to the show’s title Netflix also revealed the official synopsis for The First Shadow:
Hawkins, 1959: a regular town with regular worries. Young Jim Hopper’s car won’t start, Bob Newby’s sister won’t take his radio show seriously and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town. When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family finds that a fresh start isn’t so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very long reach.
Brought to life by a multi-award-winning creative team, who take theatrical storytelling and stagecraft to a whole new dimension, this gripping new adventure will take you right back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story – and may hold the key to the end.
When a fan asked if the stage play would be included in the show’s in-universe canon, the Stranger Things Writers Room confirmed that it would. Friedman also confirmed the play’s canon status in a statement saying, “Set within the canon of Stranger Things, this new play opens in London, with the West End hosting the only place in the world to experience this new story – for now.” Fans of Stranger Things’ Joyce and Hopper will no doubt enjoy this look at their history as we learn that they’ve been close to this mystery for longer than they ever knew. While the play will be exclusive to the Phoenix Theatre when it opens in London’s West End later this year, Friedman‘s statement leaves room for the possibility of a recorded performance eventually making its way to the streamer.
Along with the announcement, the Duffer Brothers said:
“We are beyond excited about Stranger Things: The First Shadow. Collaborating with the brilliant Stephen Daldry has been nothing short of inspiring, and Kate Trefry has written a play that is at turns surprising, scary, and heartfelt. You will meet endearing new characters, as well as very familiar ones, on a journey into the past that sets the groundwork for the future of Stranger Things. We’re dying to tell you more about the story but won’t – it’s more fun to discover it for yourself. Can’t wait to see you nerds in London!”
Stranger Things: The First Shadow will feature set design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Jon Clark, sound design by Paul Arditti, illusions design by Jamie Harrison & Chris Fisher, video design by 59 Productions, movement direction by Coral Messam, wigs, hair and make-up design by Campbell Young Associates, casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG, international casting consultancy by Jim Carnahan, Gary Beestone for Gary Beestone Associates is Technical Director, with further creative team members to be announced along with cast members, further details, dates, and ticket information.
What Can We Expect From Stranger Things Season 5?
With the stage play confirmed to be a part of the show’s canon, it may be essential content to get fans ready for the show’s fifth and final season. Recently, Noah Schnapp revealed that he begins filming for Season 5 in May, and David Harbour is also planning to pull double duty filming the series and the upcoming Marvel movie Thunderbolts in Atlanta this summer. The Duffer Brothers have teased that the show’s final chapter will be different from its predecessors in that we’re going to hit the ground running from the moment the show returns, while also promising a return to the series’ roots, circling back to the core dynamics of Stranger Things introduced in the show’s early episodes. While exact details are still under wraps Schnapp told Forbes: “The way they closed the show is just perfect — the story started with Will, and it’ll end with Will.”
Stranger Things Season 5 will begin filming sometime this summer, and Seasons 1-4 are currently available on Netflix.