‘Stranger Things’ to Replace Lead Roles, Season 5 Takes Dark Turn

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Stranger Things Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard, left) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown, right) dating

Credit: Netflix

It looks like Stranger Things is about to shake up their cast list in a way many have not been expecting.

stranger things maya hawke joe keery
Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things has become one of the most surprising hit shows on Netflix, the 1980s-styled horror series exploded onto the world, and the fourth season is the current third highest-viewed property in the history of the streamer. Everyone knows this fifth season is meant to be the last, but Millie Bobby Brown has decided about her fate with the franchise. The fiction horror drama television series was created by the Duffer Brothers for Netflix. Produced by Monkey Massacre Productions and 21 Laps Entertainment, the first season was released on Netflix on July 15, 2016. The second and third season followed in October 2017 and July 2019 respectively, and the fourth season aired in two parts in May and July 2022. In February 2022, Stranger Things was renewed for a fifth and final season.

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things has hosted many great characters, like the main children, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), and Max (Sadie Sink). There have also been supporting characters adding their tales of triumph and sadness to the series, like Max’s brother Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). Billy gave his life to save his sister in the third season. There is also Sean Astin, who portrayed Bob, one of the most beloved side characters from the entirety of the series.

At the center of the story is the disappearance of a young boy named Will Byers and the appearance of a girl with psychokinetic abilities known as Eleven. The series quickly became a cultural phenomenon, earning critical acclaim for its nostalgic references to 80s pop culture, compelling characters, and suspenseful storytelling. The heart of Stranger Things lies in its nostalgic homage to ’80s pop culture, drawing inspiration from the works of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and other iconic creators of the era.

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Sadie Sink, and Galen Matarazzo in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

While Stranger Things has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon, recent reports have indicated that major changes will be coming to the show as fans wait for Stranger Things Season 5, as well as the prequel Strangers Things: The First Shadow, which is set to be a live play.

With the announcement of the prequel, it was confirmed that Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), as well as the rest of the cast, which includes Will Byers, Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, or Dustin Henderson would not be in the play, as presumably none of them have even been born yet.

Recently, we discussed how Netflix will have to find a replacement for the show as it is ending. Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday has seemingly had the same effect on Netflix’s audience, pulling in massive numbers on a somewhat quirky and dark show. There is a second season in the works, however, it will not contain Xavier Thorpe, Percy Hynes White, as the actor had been written out due to pending allegations. While the Tim Burton show is a major Netflix hit, it is just getting started and Stranger Things has an entire franchise of fans supporting every season.

Millie Bobby Brown screaming as Eleven in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

In turn, with Netflix’s new password-sharing ban, this may mean less and less people will be able to watch both Stranger Things and Wednesday in their upcoming seasons. 

While Stranger Things Season 5 is likely a few years from release, there’s still a lot to be excited about where the world of Hawkins and the Upside Down is concerned.

A brand-new Stranger Things trailer recently emerged from the Upside Down. In true Stranger Things fashion, it’s pretty mind-bending and enigmatic; however, it suggests a potentially massive change for Season 5 and the series as a whole.

In other words, time travel could be on the cards.

Stranger Things stars Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink
Credit: Netflix

As we have shared, season 4 contains many clues that point towards potential time travel: the emphasis on the grandfather clock cannot be overstated (at one point, “dark wizard” Vecna even uses his telekinetic powers to move the fingers on the clock backwards), and it’s also revealed that the Upside Down is “stuck in the past”, suggesting that time and space don’t exist there.

There’s also a line in Season 4 that references time travel. When Eleven/Jane Hopper (Millie Bobby Brown) is writing a letter to her boyfriend Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), she says, “Joyce [Byers] says time is funny like that. Emotions can make it speed up or slow down. We are all time travelers if you think about it.”

If we think to past seasons, we can look back at what characters had the story centered around them.

Right now, the overarching cast hierarchy places Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) as the two main protagonists of the show.

That being said, the two have been slowly pulling themselves out of the Upside Down for some times now.

Millie Bobby Brown and FInn Wolfhard in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Millie Bobby Brown  went in-depth about her life and her career in a past interview. Naturally, one of the biggest questions posed to the young actress was about her success with Stranger Things. She revealed that though she loved being on the series, she must step away. According to Brown:

“I think I’m ready. It’s been such a huge factor in part of my life, but it’s like graduating from high school, it’s like senior year. You’re ready to go and blossom and flourish, and you’re grateful for the time you’ve had, but it’s time to create your own message and live your own life.”

Millie Bobby Brown has actually been doing this for years. Her talent in the show did not go unrecognized, and now the 19-year-old is already a published author with “Nineteen Steps: A Novel”. She is also engaged to Jacob Hurley Bongiovi and has starred in mega-blockbusters such as Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Finn Wolfhard, who plays the role of Mike Wheeler is also taking off. The actor has been in a prolific amount of films since his time filming the first season of Stranger Things, including It, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and more. Considering the actor began on Stranger Things at age 12, his growth has truly been astounding.

(L to R) Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

He also recently spoke out about being grateful to be a part of YSL’s Cologne campaign. Not only do we see Finn doing a lot more than just Stranger Things, but we can see him taking on more mature projects and campaigns as he ages, and leaves the role of Mike Wheeler behind.

Regardless of what Millie and Finn want, however, their fate may already be decided by Netflix and the Duffer Brothers.

When the first season came out, we watched Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) be the first character to enter the Upside Down, and as each season has passed, the character has seemingly been the only one to never lose his connection to it, even though many others have gone to the Upside Down as well. Considering the entire first season focused on Will’s disappearance, even with Eleven being a very unique character, the plot was moving to get Will back. Placing him as the underdog lead character of the first season. He’s connected to both the Mind Flayer and Vecna, which will surely prove handy during the gang’s final battle. Plus, Mike and Eleven would not even be together if not for Will.

Vecna feeding in the Upside Down in Stranger Things Halloween Horror Nights 2023
Credit: Netflix

Now, it seems Will might return to the spotlight in season 5.

Screenrant noted, “Many fans are concerned that Will Byers might die in Stranger Things season 5, and the theory actually makes a lot of sense. He’s connected with the Upside Down in a way that seems to be impossible to undo, so destroying the dimension might require Will to sacrifice himself.” Will has been a major protagonist throughout the series, so this would not be an impossible plot point.

Photo Credit: Netflix

On top of that, Stranger Things’ writers also promised to give Will Byers a larger role in season 5, according to the publication, which would mean more screen time and a bigger role in the overall plot of the show. Plus, if our earlier suspicions of time travel prove to be true, we may be traveling back to a time when Will would have to return to the Upside Down.

What do you think? Will Will make a come back in season 5 of Stranger Things?

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