“Stranger Things” the series is heading for its finale, but “Stranger Things” the franchise will continue. As fans wait to hear when the fifth and final season of the sci-fi show will launch in 2024 (or 2025, or 2026, or…), the first spinoff has been announced: an animated series also on Netflix.
Netflix revealed very little info — there’s no title, logline, or premiere date — for the upcoming project. The series is described as being set “within” the universe of “Stranger Things,” so it’s presumably not just an animated adaptation of the O.G. and instead will tell its own story.
The series will be animated by Flying Bark Productions, the Australian studio behind Marvel cartoons like “What If?” and “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.” Eric Robles is developing the show and will executive produce for Flying Bark Productions. Matt and Ross Duffer, the brothers who created and showrun “Stranger Things,” will executive produce for their Upside Down Pictures banner, which was established last year. “Stranger Things” executive producers Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen executive produce for 21 Laps.
In a statement, the Duffers hinted that the series, like the live-action show, will be heavily inspired by media from the ’80s; they pointed to the “Saturday morning cartoons” from their childhood as an inspiration for the upcoming show. The statement also said “the adventure continues,” possibly implying that the animated show will take place after the events of “Stranger Things 5.”
“We’ve always dreamed of an animated ‘Stranger Things’ in the vein of the Saturday morning cartoons that we grew up loving, and to see this dream realized has been absolutely thrilling,” the Duffers said in their statement. “We couldn’t be more blown away by what Eric Robles and his team have come up with — the scripts and artwork are incredible, and we can’t wait to share more with you! The adventure continues.”
The animated program is the first “Stranger Things” spinoff to get the greenlight from Netflix, but it’s not the first announced. During promotion for Season 4 of the show last year, the Duffers confirmed they were working on a live-action spinoff series. The two also revealed very little about that project, which comes from Upside Down and 21 Laps, beyond describing it as “1,000 percent different” from the original show, and that it would likely follow an entirely different set of characters. We did not get an update on that one, but the animated series is definitely a separate project, a person with knowledge of the plans told IndieWire.
The news of the animated series comes two weeks after Netflix officially ordered an animated adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim” graphic-novels series, which will feature the entire cast from the 2010 film version reprising their roles — including Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, Kieran Culkin, and Brie Larson. Casting has yet to be announced for the “Stranger Things” animated series, so it’s unclear if the show will follow suit and feature the voices of Winona Ryder as Joyce or Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven.
The animated series and other future “Stranger Things” spinoffs will have big shoes to fill at Netflix. The series, which premiered in 2016, is one of the streamer’s most popular programs ever, and Season 4 is the most-watched season of English-language TV in the streamer’s history.
“Stranger Things” focuses on citizens of Hawkins, Indiana as they fight supernatural monsters from an alternate dimension. It stars Ryder, Brown, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Brett Gelman. The Duffers executive produce along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, Iain Paterson and Curtis Gwinn. Filming for the fifth and final season is expected to begin sometime this year.