Stranger Things season 5 gets big Netflix filming update from one of its creators, and I'm worried we won't see it until 2026

Eleven, Mike, and Will stare into the distance from a hill in Stranger Things season 4
I still don't expect to see Stranger Things season 5 until 2026 at the earliest. (Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things season five has officially hit the midpoint of its lengthy shooting schedule, according to one of its co-showrunners.

Taking to his personal Instagram account yesterday (July 3), Ross Duffer confirmed that filming on the wildly popular Netflix show's final season had reached the halfway mark. In a caption accompanying the post, which comprised a behind-the-scenes (BTS) shot of its 100-plus cast and crew, and a BTS video of Mike Wheeler actor Finn Wolfhard, Duffer wrote: "Week 24. Happy halfway to the best cast and crew ever."

Principal photography began on Stranger Things' fifth and final season on January 8, which all but confirmed one of the best Netflix shows of all-time wouldn't make its grand return in 2024. And, with six months marking the midway point of season five's lengthy production, it'll be another 24 weeks before filming officially wraps on the highly anticipated project. 

By the time its shooting schedule ends, Stranger Things season five will have taken 48 weeks (i.e. 11 months) to film in its entirety. It'll be a long time before it debuts on the world's best streaming service, too, with a protracted post-production phase necessary to add in its visual effects, soundtrack, automated dialog replacement, potential pick ups and/or reshoots, and edit the eight episodes that'll make up the series' last chapter.

Speaking of said episodes, Stranger Things season five's runtimes sound like they're going to test our runtime limits, with another of its stars – Maya Hawke, who's played Robin since the third season – suggesting we're getting the equivalent of "eight movies" worth of storytelling. Start training for an ultramarathon TV binge session now, everyone.

When will Stranger Things season five get released on Netflix?

Eleven and Doctor Brenner stare at something off screen in Stranger Things season 4 volume 2

It's going to be a very long wait for news on Stranger Things 5's official launch date. (Image credit: Netflix)

The honest answer is "whenever it's ready". Thanks to one of the Duffer brothers' latest Instagram posts, we know that principal photography will, production issues aside, wrap in December 2024.

That doesn't mean we can expect to see it next year, though. As I mentioned earlier, there'll be a very long post-production stage that'll not only require many months to complete, but also ensure that Stranger Things season five delivers a fittingly epic end to the incredibly successful franchise's main show. After all, none of us want the sci-fi horror-thriller series to go out with a whimper.

Putting my speculation hat on, then, I wouldn't be shocked if Stranger Things 5 doesn't land until early 2026. Sure, Netflix could decide to split the show's final season into two parts, just like it did with Stranger Things season four. That entry's two parts were released one month apart but, if season five's latter installments need more work, Netflix could opt to release season five part one once it's ready, and then deliver season five part two a few months down the line. Netflix will experiment with its new multi-month gap release schedule with Cobra Kai season six, which is not only launching in three parts, but will see a five month break between season six part one's arrival on July 18 and season six part two' on November 28 (a release date for part three hasn't been announced yet). So, by the time Stranger Things 5 rolls around, the streaming titan will have set a precedent for its new-look launch schedule.

If Stranger Things season five's first few episodes are primed for release, we could see season five part one land on our TV screens in late 2025, with part two arriving in early 2026. I don't think, though, that Netflix will want to leave viewers hanging with a mid-season cliff-hanger over the 2025 festive season. That'll be especially true as – in the northern hemisphere, anyway – it'll be winter, meaning people will stay indoors and catch up on shows they've missed during the Christmas work/school holidays. Stranger Things will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2026, too, so it seems even more plausible that Netflix would celebrate that landmark occasion and release season five (in however many parts it arrives) throughout that year. We'll see if I'm right in approximately 12 months' time. Or, you know, whenever Netflix officially confirms its release date(s).

You might also like

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.