The first volume of Stranger Things season four was released last week, and now we know, once and for all, just how long volume two is going to be. Episode eight will clock in at just over an hour, while episode nine, the season finale episode, is two hours and 19 minutes long. So two episodes of television, about three and a half hours, and it’s not even the final season.
Entertainment Weekly spoke to Shawn Levy, one of the executive producers of the show, who said, “There’s no question that season four is built as a prelude to and springboard for the fifth and final season. When you watch Volume II, you’ll know what I’m talking about.” He continued, saying, “It’s important to the [Duffer] brothers, and all of us who make the show with them, that we finish strong, stick the landing, and not tell one fragment of story more than has purpose.”
This is a bold statement to make about a show that seems intent on delivering a cinematic universe instead of a television show, but okay Shawn Levy. I don’t have much more to add beyond what I discussed in a previous blog on the subject, but it’s clear now more than ever that the chopped-up schedule and massive runtime feels more like a marketing ploy meant to entice viewers to resist the pull of other shows (like The Boys on Prime Video and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+) that are in competition with Stranger Things. By having a broken-up schedule bookending both the release and finale of the other shows, it can guarantee viewership... and justify that $30 million per episode budget to make season five.
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