One thing that stood out about Stranger Things Season 4 is the length. Even though Season 4 only had 9 total episodes, the runtime for each one was a different story. In total, Season 4 of Stranger Things ran for well over 13 hours, with the season finale clocking in at nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Granted, every minute you spend watching a Stranger Things episode is time well spent, but it appears that even the showrunners thought that the length was excessive.
In an exclusive interview with Collider's Steve Weintraub, the Duffer brothers revealed that they want to keep Season 5 closer to the ten-hour mark.
Here is what Matt Duffer had to say about Season 5's potential length:
We thought Season 4 was going to be eight [episodes], and they were going to be regular length. So if you had interviewed us before four, that's what I would've said. I think we're aiming for eight again. We don't want it to be 13 hours. We're aiming for more like 10 hours or something. I think it's going to be longer than Season 1 because we just have so much to wrap up, but I don't think it's going to be as long as Season 4.
For what it's worth, this isn't just a personal choice by the Duffer brothers. Matt Duffer elaborated in the same interview that there is a narrative reason behind the shorter runtime. Matt explains that the show's characters "know what the threat is now", adding that this "will help speed [the story] up." Unfortunately, the Duffer brothers did not talk about when Season 5 will start filming let alone when it will come out.
The showrunners shouldn't be in a hurry to release Stranger Things' final season. Even if the Duffer brothers don't have to worry about the COVID-19 pandemic anymore, wrapping up a show as big as Stranger Things can make or break its legacy.
After comparing Season 4 to Game of Thrones, the Duffer brothers could learn plenty from HBO's award-winning series. People forgot about Game of Thrones following the show's unsatisfying conclusion in 2019. It wasn't until HBO confirmed House of the Dragon, which comes out in August, that the show started making rounds on the internet again. The main reason for this is how Game of Thrones ended. The Duffer brothers will want to make sure it avoids making the same mistake.
If it's true that Season 5 will start filming by next year, we could be in for another time skip. Most likely, Stranger Things' final season will pick back up around 1989 to coincide better with the actor's real-life ages as they have now outgrown their teenage selves.
In the meantime, audiences can keep on rewatching Stranger Things Season 4 to help boost its numbers. The sci-fi horror probably won't be beating Squid Game's record anytime soon, but it sure wouldn't hurt to try.