The premiere of Stranger Things Season Five is still far off, but the writers' room is ready to share what they’ve been working on. Last night, the Stranger Writers X (formerly known as Twitter) account posted a picture of the script for Season Five. The picture shows the opening scene, which reads, “Darkness. The sound of cold wind. Groaning trees. And… a child’s voice. Singing a familiar song.” The song must be Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," right?

Meanwhile, the Stranger Things cast is preparing to film Season Five. Earlier this year, Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers in the series, said that filming was set to begin in May of 2023. Since then, production has been paused due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. Until production begins, all we know for sure is that Season Five is the final chapter of the show.

The Duffers confirmed as much in an open letter to fans via The Hollywood Reporter. “Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things," they wrote. "At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but—as you’ll see for yourselves—we are now hurtling toward our finale.”

Let's change the subject, shall we? When you're ready, here's everything else we know about Season Five of Stranger Things so far.

How many episodes will there be in Season Five of Stranger Things?

Don't worry, Stranger Things heads. There are still anywhere from 80 to 120 hours of the show left, depending on how many volumes the brothers divvy Season Five up into. Kidding, mostly because it seems like Season Five will consist of eight episodes. In the meantime, though, we have one question—well, more of a worry—on our minds. After we lost the great, late Eddie Munson, are we in for another heartbreak?

We hate to say it, but yes, most likely, especially considering the Stranger Things crew is out and about, teasing their counterparts' deaths. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Maya Hawke (who plays Robin), said, “I would love to die and get my hero’s moment. I’d love to die with honour, as any actor would.” Maya, stop it! Stop it right now. We can't take much more. Regardless, she added, "It’s the last season, so people are probably going to die." Ugh.

Are there any new characters in Season Five of Stranger Things?

Linda Hamilton, who famously starred in The Terminator, is joining Season Five of Stranger Things. It makes me wonder: What’s harder, dealing with a cyborg assassin or Vecna? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see!

Hamilton announced the casting news at Netflix’s Tudum event in Brazil. After greeting her former co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is Netflix’s chief action officer (!), she said, “Good to see you, Arnold. Let’s get dinner soon... and everyone else, I’ll see you in Hawkins.”

Will Eddie Come Back in Stranger Things Season Five?

In our interview with Joseph Quinn, who plays the show's resident deviant, we asked whether or not the actor would like to return to Hawkins. (Despite his character's fate.) "Yeah, of course," Quinn said. "He's great fun to play and they're great people to play with. So yeah, I would be up for coming back, but it feels like his story's been told, slightly, to me." Ugh. At least there's a chance.

Regardless, Eddie's death is sure to affect our heroes—especially Dustin, who had to watch his buddy die in front of him. In an interview with TV Insider, Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, seemed to have very specific thoughts about how his character will live with the trauma. As Matarazzo said, "there’s no denying that there’s going to need to be a shift there and there’s going to need to be a bit of focus on the fact that nobody can really come back from seeing that." The rest of the actor's thoughts are worth checking out here:

[Dustin] has dealt with loss in the past. He’s seen horrible things, but to have a very close friend of his brutally die, not just there in front of him, but directly with him is [another thing]. The one thing that I’m always thinking about going into it is that we don’t necessarily see it happen, but Dustin would’ve had to have left [Eddie] there to get out and leave himself. And that’s something that I was thinking about during the scene with Eddie’s uncle. Because of the leg injury and because of Dustin’s lack of upper body strength, he would’ve needed to leave [Eddie’s] body there while needing to get out himself. And if they’re going to play with that, it’s something I’ll be thinking about quite a lot.”

What Will Happen in Season Five of Stranger Things?

How about we start with the interdimensional rift that turned Hawkins into a disaster site? The war between the Upside Down and Hawkins is fully on. The final shot shows massive, hellish clouds looming above the neighbourhood—and a field of flowers slowly dying. It nearly goes without saying that by opening the doorway between the Upside Down and Hawkins, the oft-terrorised Indiana town will slowly morph into the red-and-black hell our favourite kiddos have fought to destroy for the entirety of Stranger Things. TBD how long residents will be able to convince themselves that it was all just an earthquake.

Does the gang have one last fight in them? They better. Even though Vecna, you know, will be busy creating a new world order, he’ll surely seek out Eleven to get some sweet revenge. Since we’re slowly learning that the Hawkins Lab prodigies essentially have god powers—they can resurrect the dead, I guess!—she’ll most likely level herself up before the final battle. Here’s my one theory: she’ll have some help. And not the Dusty-Bun-with-a-garbage-can-lid kind.

Either Will or Max will develop powers, somehow. Maybe Will’s time in the Upside Down imbued him with abilities he’ll only uncover as he nears adulthood. And Max? After just surviving Vecna’s grasp, maybe the Duffer Bros. will write in a Harry Potter-esque, Boy Who Lived situation, where she’s scarred from the near-death experience but has some kind of an edge against the baddie because of it. Either way, she’ll probably wake up from her coma soon enough, but Eleven will have to pull more mind tricks to make it happen. However it all goes down, Season Five will most likely pick up with our heroes struggling to put the Upside Down back in the Upside Down—or destroy it entirely.

Speaking of Will, it seems like the poor kid is in some serious trouble. In an interview with Variety, Noah Schnapp seemed to know something that we don't. Check this out. After Schnapp said that he has "hope for a coming out scene" and clarity on Will's connection to the Mind Flayer, he said, "And I’ve always been wondering, why was Will the first victim and the first one captured?" Interesting! Noah, you can mess with Doja Cat. Don't mess with us.

Elsewhere in the Stranger Things-verse, if you have any doubt that Vecna will return, the actor behind the baddie, Jamie Campbell Bower, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the baddie will come back. "Let me put it this way: I know about Season Five. Take from that what you will," Campbell said. Want a good laugh? At the time, he teased how Vecna would change in Volume Two. "I think what you will see is more of the human aspect of Vecna," he said. “Let me say that much. And there’s a huge, great, cool thing—I need to keep my mouth closed!—but there’s a huge, great, cool thing you see as well!” A huge, cool, thing, man? Your character turning out to be the singular evil force behind the entirety of Stranger Things is a wee bit more than a huge, cool thing?!

Now, begin your prayer circles, so that none of your favourite characters will die at the monstrous hands of Vecna in the series finale. Brace yourselves for the horror, people.

Originally published on Esquire US

Broadcasted live from São Paulo, Brazil, Netflix Tudum unveiled previews for their shows throughout 2023 and beyond. Teasers range from the live-action One Piece to the announcement of Linda Hamilton joining the cast of Stranger Things' fifth season. We pore through the announcements made and present the ones that matter.

One Piece

Remember the English live-action remake of Death Note? What about the English live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop? The last two adaptations didn't fair great but this is Netflix, damn it, they will perfect the formulae! And from the teaser above for the best-selling manga, One Piece. It looks to be brimming with... potential? We'll see when the full-length trailer drops next.

Speaking of adaptations...

Avatar: The Last Airbender

The problems with the M Night Shyamalan-helmed movie were a-plenty: the whitewashing in its casting; the lacklustre bending; the grimdark tone of the film. Producers of the TV series will adhere more to the cartoon series... except that Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the co-creators of the original Avatar series left the TV adaptation over creative differences.

Squid Game 2

The ghost of Battle Royale returns with... a cast announcement. New players join the second season like Kang Ha-neul and Park Sung-hoon, along with last season's cast—Lee Jung-jae (hopefully without the new dye job); Lee Byung-hun; Wi Ha-jun. We did not see Jung HoYeon mentioned in the announcement. We know of her fate in the last series but a viewer could hope that through the magic of disbelief and a narrative loophole, Jung would return.

Squid Game The Challenge

When the production of a real-life Squid Game was announced, there was a furore about the morality of staging a real-life showcase about capitalism and class systems. We doubt that Netflix's Squid Game The Challenge would kill off the losers (right?) the show came close to doing so. Reports about contestants' "inhumane conditions" came to light with some of them needing medical aid on site.

Still, we reckon there would be eyeballs to the real-life competition. But The Challenge has a steep hill to overcome as YouTube's Mr Beast came out with his Squid Game-inspired challenge a year ago.

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer-Prize-winning book was adapted into a limited TV series of the same name. Directed by Shawn Levy (the director of Night of the Museum), we get a first look at the WWII four-parter about a blind French woman, Marie-Laure (played by Aria Mia Loberti) and a German soldier named Werner (Louis Hofmann), whose paths cross in occupied France. The series is expected to be released 2 November 2023.

Stranger Things

A Terminator alumnus joins Stranger Things. Linda Hamilton, a badass who rivals the likes of Ellen Ripley, joins the cast for the fifth and final season of the ground-breaking series. No word yet on whom she would play but it should give the show a strong sense of female empowerment when it comes out.

3 Body Problem

Will this adaptation from Liu Cixin's seminal work redeem David Benioff and DB Weiss? Best remembered for their work behind Game of Thrones and the dead-before-it-was-made TV series, Confederate (an American alternate history where the slaves never got their freedom), Benioff and Weiss will finally make a comeback with this sci-fi series that will stream on Netflix.