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Duffer Brothers Say ‘Stranger Things’ Final Season Pitch Made Netflix Execs Cry

"The only other time I've seen them cry is, like, budget meetings," Matt Duffer said during a SAG panel for the series this weekend.

"Stranger Things"

“Stranger Things”

Netflix/Everett Collection

Stranger Things” is set to end with its highly anticipated final season. And while creators Matt and Ross Duffer remain tight-lipped about how their hit science-fiction TV show will conclude, they have promised an emotional conclusion to the show.

“[For] two hours, we pitched the full season to Netflix. We did get our executives to cry, which I thought was a good sign,” Matt Duffer said during a Netflix SAG FYC event on Sunday. “The only other time I’ve seen them cry is like, budget meetings.”

The Duffer brothers spoke about the final season of their blockbuster streaming series at the Tudum Theater in Los Angeles, in a panel hosted by comedian Patton Oswalt. Also present was director and executive producer Shawn Levy and cast members Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joseph Quinn, and Eduardo Franco. Series star Millie Bobby Brown made a virtual appearance to talk about the show’s recent fourth season, which saw the kids of Hawkins, Indiana, fighting against a mysterious psychic serial killer known as Vecna.

During the panel, moderator Patton Oswalt asked the Duffers and Levy for the latest on the show’s fifth season. Ross Duffer explained that the script for the season premiere — titled “The Crawl” — was turned in several weeks ago, and the writer’s room is currently working on the second episode. He described working on the show’s final season as a “balancing act,” as the season has to service the show’s sprawling ensemble cast while wrapping up the mythology of the Upside Down and the show’s supernatural elements.

“We have so many characters now, most who are still living,” Ross Duffer said. “It’s important to wrap up those arcs as a lot of these characters have been growing since Season 1. So it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs and also tying up these loose ends and doing our final reveals.”

Ross Duffer also spoke about the tone of the final season, explaining that each installment of the series has its own unique influences that helped shape the story — Season 3, for example, was a summer blockbuster, while the recent fourth season was influenced by psychological and slasher horror films. For Season 5, the brothers wanted the show to celebrate the show’s entire history, while also harkening back to the first season that put them on the map.

“Five, the way we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it’s sort of got a little bit from each,” Ross Duffer said. “I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of one.”

While Levy joked that he was “paralyzed” with fear about spoiling the show’s upcoming season, he promised that the final season would remain true to the show by focusing on the characters that fans have come to love.

“The thing about these Duffer Brothers is that even though the show has gotten so famous, and the characters have gotten so iconic, and there’s so much about the ’80s, and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people,” Levy said. “It’s about the characters. And Season 5 already is so clearly taking care of these stories of characters, because that’s always been the lifeblood of ‘Stranger Things.'”

Marcus Jones contributed reporting.

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