Stranger Things 5 is shaping up to be the deadliest season yet

Eleven, Mike, Will, Argyle, and Jonathan stare at someone off screen in Stranger Things season 4 volume 1
(Image credit: Netflix)

Prepare yourselves for an emotional crescendo, Stranger Things fans – the show's fifth and final season could feature multiple character deaths.

The Duffer brothers, aka Stranger Things' creators, appeared to secretly tease the fate of some of the hit Netflix series' main cast at a For Your Consideration (FYC) awards event on November 13 (per The Hollywood Reporter). 

During the Los Angeles-based chat, the duo hinted that Stranger Things season 5 will be the deadliest entry yet. Given the heightened level of secrecy surrounding the show's final season, the Duffer brothers didn't give anything specific away. However, the wording of their answers to one particular question suggested that some of our beloved heroes won't make it to the end of the Netflix series alive.

"Just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now – most who are still living," Ross Duffer said. "And it’s important to wrap up those arcs. A lot of these characters have been growing since season one so it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs and also tying up loose ends and doing our final reveals."

It's that "most who are still living" line that hints at some characters' fates. Okay, maybe we're reaching for something that's not there, but why make the distinction if there's nothing to read into it? 

A group of some of Stranger Things' main cast stare at something off screen in season 4 volume 1

Which characters might we say goodbye to in Stranger Things 5? (Image credit: Tina Rowden/Netflix)

Other parts of the Duffers' answers also provide clues that something big will go down in Stranger Things 5, lending further weight to the prospect that we'll see numerous characters die in their final showdown with Vecna, the Mind Flayer, and the Upside Down.

"I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit in the tone of [season] one, but scale-wise it’s more in line with what [season] four is,” Ross Duffer continued. “Hopefully it’s got a little bit of everything."

"We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying," Matt Duffer added. "The only other times I’ve seen them cry were like budget meetings."

Stranger Things season 5 is shaping up to be an electrifying end to one of the best Netflix shows of all-time. Recently, the series' writers revealed the title of the fifth season's opening episode – The Crawl – and we have four big theories about what that Stranger Things 5 episode 1 title means.

Meanwhile, the Duffer brothers previously stated that Stranger Things season 5 will have shorter episodes than the fourth season, which should make binge-watching the fifth season a lot easier than its predecessor. If you missed our coverage of Stranger Things 4, read our spoiler-free Stranger Things season 4 review or check out our Stranger Things season 4 ending explained article.

Stranger Things 5 doesn't have a release date, but filming will begin sometime in 2023. The Crawl is the only episode that's been written so far – the Duffers revealing as much during their FYC talk – so don't expect news on an official production start date for some time.

Analysis: time to kill your darlings, Netflix

Max sits in front of Billy's grave during the day time in Stranger Things season 4

Sadie's fate is already up in the air at the start of season 5. (Image credit: Netflxi)

The deaths of Barbara Holland, Bob Newby, and Eddie Munson – in seasons 1, 2, and 4 respectively – aside, Stranger Things has had a problem with killing off fan favorite characters. Or any of the main cast in general.

It's a delicate problem that the series' fans and some of its cast have had for some time. Okay, a lot of it has been tongue in cheek, especially on the cast's part – we're looking at you, Millie Bobby Brown – but it's a debate worth having, and one that's only grown more prominent with each passing season.

We've enjoyed seeing these characters evolve across four seasons but, if Stranger Things 5 is going to have the massive emotional impact it needs to, the show's final season has to kill off some of its darlings. 

It doesn't matter if it's Brown's Eleven – although she's recently said she doesn't want Eleven to die in Stranger Things season 5 – or someone else. For instance, Sadie Sink's Max looks the most likely to perish at this stage, with the character being in a coma at the start of the fifth season. Although, Sink doesn't know what Max's fate is as we head into Stranger Things 5.

Regardless of which characters might die, the Duffer Brothers need to bite the bullet and commit to killing some of them off. We expect that'll be the case but, after a few too many character death fake outs – Doctor Brenner and Jim Hopper being the most obvious – Stranger Things 5 must be the end for a few of our favorite Hawkins-based heroes.

For more Stranger Things-based content, check out our thoughts on five ideas for those upcoming Stranger Things spin-off projects. Alternatively, watch one of these five spooky sci-fi shows while we wait for Stranger Things 5 to arrive.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.