Duffer Brothers Drop Bombshell with New ‘Stranger Things 6’ Cast and Plot Details

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Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

If you are a fan of Stranger Things and are sad that the Duffer brothers’ story is ending, we have news that may leave you both excited and worried about the fandom. 

Two characters from "Stranger Things" face each other intently in a clinical room with a rainbow-striped wall behind them; one in a blood-spattered white shirt, the other in a hospital gown
Credit: Netflix

The Duffer brothers harbored a deep appreciation for everything Eighties, drawing inspiration from the likes of John Carpenter, Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and more. As they embarked on developing the pilot, they also crafted a somewhat enigmatic show bible, laying out the themes, homages, and inspirations driving their creative vision.

Matt Duffer spoke with The Daily Beast and said, “When we were selling it, we made a fake Stephen King paperback cover for the show. We used the Firestarter paperback and put our title and an image of a fallen bike on top of it, so when we were trying to come up with titles, we would type them out onto this paperback cover, which would help us. And Stranger Things sort of sounds like “Needful Things”—it sounded like it could have been a Stephen King book from the ’80s.”

(L to R) Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) dressed as Ghostbusters in 'Stranger Things' Season 2
Credit: Netflix

The road to success for Stranger Things wasn’t paved with immediate acceptance.

Despite the Duffer brothers’ dedication to the pilot script and pitch materials, at least 15 networks rejected their concept. These networks insisted on significant changes to the core elements of the story, including the fact that kids should not lead it. Many networks actually wanted Montauk (the initial name of the show) to focus on Jim Hopper as the lead (played by David Harbour) and not Eleven escaping the Hawkins lab and finding Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, Lucas Sinclair, Will Byers, and eventually, Max Mayfield, Billy Hargrove and Eddie Munson.

Matt Duffer recounted the initial struggle, stating, “We had 15 pitches in the first week, and all were passes.” A central sticking point for these networks was the unconventional choice of having kids as the lead characters in a show not explicitly targeted toward a young audience.

Facing a string of rejections, hope emerged for the Duffer brothers when Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museum, entered the picture. The script for Stranger Things landed on his desk thanks to the VP of Levy’s production company, 21 Laps Entertainment. Intrigued by the story, Levy invited the brothers to his office and ultimately acquired the rights, although the Duffer brothers remained the show’s creators.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) looking at the sky in 'Stranger Things' Season 4's final scene
Credit: Netflix

Interestingly, Netflix wasn’t initially on the Duffers’ radar during their initial round of pitches. However, once Levy and 21 Laps became involved, Netflix became their first stop in 2015. The response from Netflix was overwhelmingly positive, with Levy expressing to Variety Magazine in 2016, “Netflix was the first buyer we pitched to. By the next morning, they bought the season. Netflix was our dream home.”

Those other 15 studios are likely wallowing in their cashless tears, as Stranger Things has proven to be one of the most popular series on the streaming platform. It is the second most popular English-speaking show, after Tim Burton’s Wednesday starring Jenna Ortega, with 1,838,000,000 hours streamed.

Even after the main Stranger Things series concludes, fans can rejoice! The world of Hawkins, Indiana, and the Upside Down will continue to expand with a variety of exciting spin-offs.

An animated Stranger Things series is in the works, promising a lighter tone reminiscent of classic Saturday morning cartoons. The Duffer Brothers are teaming up with Eric Robles, known for his work on Random! Cartoons and Glitch Techs to bring this project to life. Specific plot details are under wraps, but with the Duffers and Shawn Levy on board, fans can expect an entertaining and visually stunning addition to the Stranger Things universe.

The Duffer Brothers haven’t stopped there! Their newly formed Upside Down Pictures is developing a live-action spinoff series. While plot details remain tightly guarded (even from Netflix), the Duffers have hinted that this series will significantly depart from the original show. It will explore an entirely new narrative, picking up after the main characters’ adventures have concluded. The Duffers even revealed that one of the young stars, Finn Wolfhard, somehow managed to guess the concept of this spinoff. Millie Bobby Brown is confirmed to not star in the series.

A young boy with a buzz cut and neck brace, wearing a plaid shirt, yells intensely in a barren, sandy landscape.
Credit: Netflix

For those who prefer live theater, there’s Stranger Things: The First Shadow. This stage play, currently running in London’s West End, offers a unique opportunity to experience the world of Stranger Things from a different perspective.

There is also another show in development from the Duffer brothers that is not necessarily in the world of Stranger Things, but it fits into the same type of show.

Instead of going with a young cast, now, the Duffer brothers are going senior.

Giant Freakin Robot shared, “With Stranger Things wrapping up its run on Netflix soon, the show’s creators, The Duffer Brothers, have been planning their next move. Last year, they announced they’re producing a new Netflix show called The Buroughs, and now I can exclusively report that it’ll star Geena Davis and Richard Gere.”

Similar to Stranger Things, The Buroughs will explore the supernatural realm. However, rather than focusing on children, the series will center around the elderly inhabitants of a retirement community. Geena Davis and Richard Gere will lead the cast of retirees.

This show sets the stage in a New Mexico retirement community, where the seemingly idyllic lives of its residents take a dramatic turn when they’re confronted by a mysterious threat from another world.

Whispers surrounding the show hint at the possibility of time travel playing a central role in the plot, or at least the concept of time running out being a significant element of the story. This element of urgency adds an intriguing layer to the narrative.

Comparisons have been drawn between The Buroughs and the 1980s film Cocoon, which featured a group of seniors interacting with extraterrestrial beings. While the Duffer Brothers haven’t confirmed the show’s specific timeframe, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they opted for an 80s setting, creating a nostalgic homage along the lines of Cocoon but with a twist – this time, the focus is on a group of resourceful retirees facing off against an otherworldly threat.

stranger-things-duffer-bros
Photo Credit: Netflix

Luckily for the brothers, while a senior-aged cast is not typically seen as a prime-time successful show, they have already earned Netflix’s trust when it comes to off-the-beaten-path concepts. The streaming platform’s number one show of all time is Squid Game, a show spoken entirely in Korean that hit the American audience with such forceful positivity, proving that taking a risk is often worth it.

We do not yet know when The Buroughs will strike Netflix, but it is exciting to see that the Duffer brothers have their own original story coming down the pipeline after Stranger Things 5 wraps.

Stranger Things 5 is currently filming in Atlanta, Georgia, and will wrap shooting in January 2025, making a late 2025 debut seem likely. Right now, we know that Will Byers (played by Noah Schnapp) will be a central focus as he connects with Vecna in the Upside Down, much like in season one. We also know that the show will start with a time jump to 1987 and that there will likely be more time jumps in the season, primarily due to the casting of Linda Hamilton as Eleven, which proves there will be a much older version of the character typically played by Millie Bobby Brown.

Are you excited to see what the Duffer brothers will create with their new show, or do you wish Stranger Things would continue? 

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