The Duffer Brothers, creators of Stranger Things, explain why they decided to give Season 4 longer episode runtimes than the show’s previous seasons.
Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer give their reasoning for why Season 4’s episodes are longer on average compared to previous seasons.
“If you look at one of the episodes — like, you couldn’t cut it out 15 minutes early,” Matt Duffer told Variety. Ross Duffer then brought up the Season 4 finale, saying, “Reel one is build-up dread. Reel two is action, chaos. And then, reel three is our traditional coda, come down after all of that. You didn’t really want to break it after just the build-up. It wouldn’t feel like a satisfying episode. So, at a certain point we just said, ‘Well, it’s just a mega episode.’ If someone wants to pause it, they can!'”
If the Duffer Brothers’ logic is applied to the seventh episode of Stranger Things Season 4, “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab,” cutting the episode fifteen minutes early would rob fans of some major series revelations. The episode serves as the finale of Season 4’s first volume, with its last twenty minutes revealing the origin of the series’ newest villain, Vecna, and what happened to all the other telekinetic children at Hawkins National Laboratory. If the Duffer Brothers decided to not make this episode feature-length, the reveals would have to occur during a following episode.
Prior to Volume 1 releasing, it was announced that most of the episodes for Stranger Things Season 4 clock in at around 75 minutes. For the show’s previous seasons, most episodes range between 45 minutes and an hour long, save for the Season 3 finale, “Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt,” which features a runtime of 78 minutes. The upcoming Season 4 finale dwarfs this figure with a runtime of two hours and 30 minutes, though both episodes of Volume 2 will be movie-length.
The trailer for Season 4’s final two episodes tease a death coming to Hawkins. A narration by Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) claims that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) herself and her friends “are not prepared” for the fight against Vecna, with a series of dramatic shots showing them geared up to enter the Creel House and the Upside Down. While an edited version of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” can be heard, a song launched back up the charts by the series, Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke) tells Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), “It might not work out for us this time.”
Stranger Things Season 4 will be the penultimate season of the series, though it remains to be seen if the final season will also feature supersized television episodes. The first three seasons of Stranger Things and Volume 1 of Season 4 are now streaming on Netflix. Volume 2 hits the service on July 1, 2022.
Sean is a Weekend Comic News Editor for CBR. His typical trip to the comic store always follows the same sequence: promising to limit how many issues he will buy, seeing them on the shelf and buying them all anyway. He dreams of writing his own someday. Aside from comics and superhero TV/movies, Sean also enjoys musicals (both movie and stage), classic rock, stand-up comedy and podcasts. If you are interested, feel free to follow him on Instagram, Twitter and/or TikTok as your @localcomicsean for his personal jokes, thoughts and feelings about comics!