‘Stranger Things’ Officially Replaced, Tim Burton Leading Effort

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(L to R) Argyle, Jonathan, Eleven, Will, and Mike in 'Stranger Things' Season 4

Credit: Netflix

Legendary Director Tim Burton has big words as the Stranger Things franchise comes to an end.

For four seasons, Stranger Things has masterfully blended elements of horror, the supernatural, and the trials of adolescence, leading to its massive success. The narrative unfolds over subsequent seasons, with Stranger Things 2 (2017) delving deeper into the mysteries of the Upside Down and introducing new threats.

Dustin and the gang ready to play D&D in 'Stranger Things' Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things 3 focuses on the group of friends as they navigate the challenges of growing up while confronting otherworldly forces. Most recently, Stranger Things 4, released in May of the previous year, received critical acclaim for its nine episodes, addressing a fresh threat that endangers both Earth and the Upside Down.

Set against the nostalgic backdrop of the 1980s, the series artfully weaves elements of supernatural intrigue, horror, and the challenges of growing up into a captivating narrative. Its clever blend of homage to ’80s cinema and a coming-of-age story, coupled with its compelling characters and supernatural mysteries, has resonated with audiences of all ages. The show’s distinct blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary has ignited a wave of nostalgia for that era, revitalizing interest in ’80s music, fashion, and pop culture. It has also propelled its young cast to stardom and inspired a resurgence in Dungeons & Dragons and other elements of ’80s geek culture.

Stranger Things shattered numerous streaming records with each new season, including the debut of Season 4, which garnered 286.79 million hours of viewership in its opening weekend. Nevertheless, despite fervent hopes among fans for the show’s perpetuation, Netflix has officially disclosed its intentions to explore different avenues in the near future.

Stranger Things Mike Wheeler and Eleven dating
Credit: Netflix

The ensemble cast of Stranger Things features a constellation of talented young actors, including Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, David Harbour as Chief Jim Hopper, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley (introduced in Season 3), and Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair (introduced in Season 2). However, as with all good things, there comes a point when they must conclude.

While Stranger Things Season Five is confirmed, and writers have reportedly resumed work on crafting the final season, Netflix is already exploring life beyond the show. A prequel stage play titled Stranger Things: The First Shadow showcases an entirely new cast, and the Duffer Brothers have announced plans for a spinoff series, although specifics are yet to be revealed.

So, what lies in store for Stranger Things‘ successor? It appears that Netflix is placing substantial emphasis on Jenna Ortega and her hit series, Wednesday. Recent reports indicate that Netflix aims to expedite production for both Stranger Things and Wednesday. As Stranger Things approaches its conclusion, the buzz is growing around which series might fill the void it leaves behind, and it appears that Wednesday is poised to become Netflix’s new flagship show. Multiple reports suggest that Netflix envisions multiple seasons with Jenna Ortega before the show reaches its conclusion.

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams
Credit: Netflix

The first season of Wednesday achieved a remarkable milestone, amassing over one billion viewers, ranking second only to Stranger Things Season 4 and Squid Game in terms of popularity. With ongoing narrative development and expansion in upcoming seasons, Wednesday holds the potential to eclipse even the phenomenon that Stranger Things has become.

Netflix is in need of a worthy successor, and it’s evident that Wednesday will be given the first opportunity. The initial season of the television series exceeded Netflix’s expectations, and fans are eagerly anticipating its second season. Netflix must continue to deliver high-performing content to maintain its audience and enforce its controversial password rules, making it intriguing to see if Wednesday can successfully assume the role of Netflix’s official replacement for Stranger Things atop the streaming charts in the future.

Tim Burton, who directed the series, recently shared insights during an interview with bfi.org, shedding light on the factors contributing to the show’s success. According to Burton, the standout element is none other than Ortega, whose exceptional talent plays a pivotal role in the series’ success.

“When I worked on ‘Wednesday,’ the reason I loved it was because I identified so much with the character,” Burton said. “But, for me, it couldn’t have been done without her (Jenna Ortega). You can write well, you can do whatever you want, but this kind of character requires such clarity, purity, and strength. A person must possess these qualities. Essentially, it was her who made the series possible.”

Jenna Ortega dancing as Wednesday Addams in 'Wednesday'
Credit: Netflix

The acclaimed filmmaker also speaks highly of the young actress, saying, “She is one of the most aware individuals, not just as an actress but also in her understanding of everything behind the camera and on the set. She’s a very special talent, and she’s no stranger to horror films, which I also appreciate. This endears her to me. ‘Oh, you’re making another horror movie. That’s great.'”

Interestingly, Jenna Ortega has admitted to grappling with her character and certain script choices at the outset of filming, making her journey all the more remarkable.

With big plans for the future, Netflix will have to work hard to keep Jenna Ortega in its grasp. The young actress is already set to star in Warner Bros.’ Beetlejuice 2, and she’ll reprise her role in the Scream franchise, as well, as another installment is set to be filmed at the conclusion of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.

What do you think the future holds for Netflix following Stranger Things? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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