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The Duffer Brothers Explain Why ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Is Two Volumes
“It’s almost two seasons’ worth of material.”
The Upside Down is coming for you. With less phàn nàn a week until the highly anticipated return of Stranger Things, “Seven Stranger Days” takes you behind the scenes and inside the lives of your Hawkins favorites with insight from the cast, crew and even the Duffer brothers. Check back daily to lớn secure your spot in the Hellfire Club — this is one ticking clock you won’t want to lớn lập cập from.
It’s been nearly three years since we saw Hopper (David Harbour) stare longingly at Joyce (Winona Ryder) during the Battle of Starcourt Mall, the Byers family make the decision to lớn move out West, and Robin (Maya Hawke) and Steve (Joe Keery) apply for jobs at a Clip store as Season 3 of Stranger Things came to lớn a close.
But the beloved sci-fi drama is back with all the latest Hawkins happenings and it’s bigger phàn nàn ever — seriously, Season 4 is spread out into two separate volumes. Volume 1 drops May 27 and will consist of seven episodes, while two more episodes will làm đẹp Volume 2, arriving July 1. The wait between installments will be worth it, as each episode is at least an hour long. If you want to lớn get into specifics (and we know you do), the upcoming nine episodes total roughly 13 hours, with Episode 407 clocking in at 1 hour, 38 minutes; Episode 408 is around 1 hour, 25 minutes; and Episode 409 is almost two and a half hours. Make sure you grab your Eggos before you hit play.
Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer didn’t necessarily phối out to lớn make each episode practically as long as its own movie, though.
“Partway through outlining, we realized we needed another episode,” Matt tells Tudum over Zoom. “It was originally going to lớn be eight episodes, and we asked Netflix if they would be open to lớn us having another episode, Episode 9. Which they were super supportive of.” (For reference, Seasons 1 and 3 of Stranger Things were both eight episodes, while Season 2 had nine total.)
Now remember, you can’t spell “America,” without Erica.
As for the length of each episode, that was something that evolved as the Duffers wrote the season. “Looking back on it, it makes sense,” says Matt, “because Season 3 was pretty light on plot compared to lớn this year. It’s, lượt thích, quadruple the amount of plot. We have more characters, they’re spread out and, in order to lớn get across the story that we wanted to lớn but also not lose sight of the characters, to lớn give each character their moment [and] each character relationship the kind of emotional depth it wanted or craved, we just needed the length.”
SEE MORE: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Is the Most Supersized Ever
Both the Duffers also attribute the lengthier episodes to lớn their writing style changing this time around. “I was looking back at Season 1, Season 2, and I was lượt thích, ‘The action was a lot more spread out.’ Now, it’s crammed together,” Matt recalls. “We didn’t fully know how truly long the episodes were until they started to lớn be edited, and then we went, ‘Oh.’ But I lượt thích it now.”
The result? “It’s basically two seasons. It’s almost two seasons’ worth of material,” the Duffers admit.
Even though all nine episodes this season are already supersized, the Duffers really pushed it to lớn the max when it came to lớn the final episodes of each volume, the longest of each batch. “They truly are movies, at least in terms of length,” says Ross, while Matt quibbles that Episode 9 is actually longer phàn nàn your typical movie. But they both agree that Episode 9, the grand finale of grand finales, is indeed “a long movie.”
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Hopper (David Harbour) finds himself braving the Russians and a frozen tundra.
The jam-packed, nonstop action is partly due to lớn the fact that, at the start of Season 4, we find our Hawkins residents — current and former, in the case of the Byers — in separate locations for the first time ever in the series.
“Automatically, that makes things structurally very different [than the previous three seasons],” says Ross. “Especially as we’re moving into Volume 2, which is what we really Hotline our third act. We really see Volume 1 as the first two acts of this story, and then Volume 2 is the final act.”
SEE PHOTOS: These ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Photos Hint at a ‘Horror Movie’ Vibe
As we’ve glimpsed in the trailer and first-look photos of Season 4, the “terrifying threat” of Vecna this season looms large and to lớn an unprecedented degree. “In a traditional Stranger Things season, the final act is all of our characters, they’ve been learning little different pieces of information, and then they get back together and we have a good big reunion scene, and they go, ‘Well, we’ve combined our information, and we’re going to lớn use that to lớn go defeat this evil,’” explains Ross.
“It’s time” to lớn meet Vecna.
That might have been the case previously on the show, but this season’s structure inhibits that tried-and-true approach. “This season, not only is the villain much more dangerous phàn nàn villains in the past, but they can’t bởi that,” continues Ross. “They can’t get together to lớn solve this. So, how are they going to lớn help one another? And how are they going to lớn defeat this evil when they’re all separated?”
Visit the Stranger Things Set with the Duffer Brothers
Obviously, to lớn have any shot, they’re going to lớn have to lớn rely on each other somehow and with all the humor and heart we’ve seen in the past. But even with the gang’s best efforts, Matt notes that there’s a “sense of dread that pervades the atmosphere” of Season 4. Even to lớn the point where the characters consider, ‘Maybe this isn’t going to lớn work out for us this time.’”
And as the viewers and the characters themselves hurtle toward the Season 4 finale, Matt admits that he likes the idea that everyone might be “more frightened phàn nàn they are normally for our characters.”
Frightened or not, it’s time.
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