The conclusion of Stranger Things won’t come to fruition until Netflix and other companies come to the table with a fair deal. Production on Season 5 of the streamer’s flagship series was slated to begin in June, but the streamer’s refusal to pay writers their due has left Matt and Ross Duffer with no choice but to join the picket line along with the rest of the writers’ room. The brothers took to the official writers’ room Twitter to release a statement expressing their support for the Writers Guild of America‘s strike, saying that filming won’t get underway until a fair deal is negotiated.
Stranger Things Season 4 marked a high point for Netflix in terms of viewership as the series crossed the coveted 1 billion hours viewed mark. Thanks to the efforts of the writers, it also made an impact on fans, crafting some of the best storylines the series has seen surrounding its beloved characters as they battled Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). It all bleeds into an exciting Season 5 which looks to tie up every loose end in Hawkins, finally exploring what the Upside Down is as it begins to infect the real world. Not to mention, the new season will bring Will (Noah Schnapp) back into the spotlight in a throwback to how the series began. Major plot points are being kept close to the vest, but producer Shawn Levy admitted, “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room,” after hearing the emotional pitch out for the storyline.
Regarding the strike, the Duffers hit on a reality that studios seem to ignore about the process of creating a film or series — “Writing does not stop when filming begins.” As major studios like Disney and HBO attempt to order their showrunners back to work and shows like House of the Dragon try to finish filming without writers around for consultation, there’s little acknowledgment of everything writers are responsible for and how far their duties extend. The Stranger Things writing team wants that effort properly recognized through fair pay before they can get back to working on the epic Season 5 story. “While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike,” the Duffers added. “We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work.”
More Projects Continue to Be Shelved as Companies Fail to Pay Fair Wages
This writers’ strike marks the first occasion writers have put their pencils down since 2007. Over the past several weeks, they’ve negotiated with studios to earn better wages and working conditions as their responsibilities become more extensive and their opportunities to earn plummet with old shows leaving streaming services. With the rise of artificial intelligence, writers are also fighting for job protection in fear of production companies increasingly turning to machines over real people. Many of these reasonable asks were non-starters for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, leaving Stranger Things and much more in limbo as writers step out.
Late Shows went dark at first, but the strike’s effects have already spread to nearly every major studio. Marvel recently felt the sting as the Mahershala Ali-led Blade reboot went back on the shelf while fans missed out on two great SNL hosts because of the networks’ obstinance. Netflix itself has also been hit with another major series, Cobra Kai, pausing work on Season 6.
Already, the strike is hitting certain studios in the pocketbook hard. The entertainment industry as a whole lost approximately $10 billion in share value following the first day of the strike. This fight is likely to drag on though as studios turn to increasingly ridiculous methods to create and monetize content without considering the writers. In the streaming age, companies also have content set aside and ready to go out for some time, meaning it might be a while before we fully see the effects of the strike. We have no idea what the long-term ramifications of this strike will be even with the precedent of 2007 to look to, but it’s clear the writers’ asks won’t be easily won.
A full explanation of the strike is available from Collider‘s Therese Lacson and Mike Muney for those who want to learn more. Read the message from the Stranger Things writers’ room below.