Take a deep breath: That Stranger Things episode 7 ending wasn’t, y’know, The End. We promise. Snatching a page from the Ozark playbook, Netflix’s deliriously anticipated thriller Stranger Things is stretching its fourth season into two parts—sorry, volumes—which means fans will have to wait a teensy bit longer for the final, actual, we-mean-it-this-time ending.
Perhaps even more confusingly, the seasonal split is lopsided. Volume 1, out as of May 27, features seven episodes, but volume 2 will feature only two. But each of those two episodes will be, as one Jason Bateman once put it, “super sized”—more like feature films than traditional television. (We can all stick around after the credits roll and argue if “television that’s more like film” is really a good idea.) As Netflix attempts to squeeze some juice out of its cash cow, here’s what we know about the next chapter.
Okay, so don’t shoot the messenger, but it’s gonna be a painful wait. The final two episodes are expected to drop at 12 a.m. PST on July 1, just in time for a Fourth of July weekend binge. Bad news: Those five weeks between May 27 and July 1 are going to pass slowly. Good news: More time for theorizing!
Prepare for an, er, extended binge. Volume 2 might consist of only two episodes, but they're each feature-length: Episode 8 clocks in at 1 hour and 25 minutes, while the grand finale runs 2 hours and 30 minutes. So, not as long as The Batman, but still really long!
Let's break it down simply. The following episodes premiered at the same time on May 27:
And then the remaining episodes premiere at the same time on July 1:
Apparently, the Duffer brothers—the masterminds behind Stranger Things—felt it was warranted. “Episode 7 is as big as any season finale we’ve ever had, so it made sense to everyone involved to split the season there,” they told Variety in a joint email interview. “Episode 7 really serves as the end of the second act—and we feel that our final act had enough meat on the bone to make up Volume 2.”
As for why a split was warranted in the first place: “As we began turning over episodes, everyone began to feel the season was too big to be released in one batch—at nearly 13 hours, it is really more two seasons than one. We discussed various release options with Ted [Sarandos, Netflix’s CEO], and early on he proposed the two volume split, which would allow us to break up the season while also staying true to Netflix’s binge model.”
In other words, blame Ted Sarandos!
Unclear. Per TVLine, Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s head of scripted series for the United States and Canada, told industry members that season 5 will be released as a binge-watch just like its Netflix compatriots—meaning most, if not all, of the episodes will drop at once—but it’s possible the final season could be “batched” like season 4.
“When you see something like a batched season with Stranger Things, this is our attempt at making sure we can get shows out quicker to the members,” Friedlander said.