- The recent pause in filming season 5 of Stranger Things due to strikes led to concerns about the young actors aging too much, but filming is now set to start in 2023, easing those concerns.
- The producers of Stranger Things plan to use hair, makeup, wardrobe, and the ’80s setting to maintain the appearance of the young actors in their high school roles.
- While a time jump could have solved the issue of aging, the cliffhanger ending of season 4 makes it difficult to incorporate a significant time jump in season 5.
Fans have typically waited a long time between Stranger Things seasons because of the nature of the television series and how it’s produced (and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed season 4). But the recent pause on season 5 filming worried some that the young actors in the show would be too old by the time they got around to shooting it. Thankfully, new information surrounding production on the upcoming (and final) episodes should ease their concerns.
Principal photography for season 5 was set to start in May 2023, but the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which began on May 2, delayed production. Even though the WGA strike ended on September 27, allowing the Netflix science fiction television show’s writers to resume crafting the last episodes, the 2023 Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike was still ongoing as the union fought with the studios for a fair contract for the actors, further delaying production. The SAG-AFTRA strike ended on November 9, though, meaning that Stranger Things season 5 can finally start filming as soon as possible.
Stranger Things Season 5’s Filming Plans Can Put The Age Concerns To Rest
Following the end of the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, when the union reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the Stranger Things cast and crew plan to begin filming the final episodes before the end of 2023. Netflix has not released an exact date for the start of principal photography, but it is expected to begin in the coming weeks and roll over into early 2024. Since filming the last season is happening soon after the end of the strikes, many worried that the young cast members would look much older than the ages of their characters in the upcoming episodes can rest easy.
Stranger Things season 4 ended on a cliffhanger with the Upside Down bleeding into Hawkins, causing ash to fall from the sky and fires to rage through the town. So, it would only make sense if season 5 picked up right where the previous finale left off, which is why some were concerned about actors like Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, and Noah Schnapp aging out of their high school roles. Although a couple of years have passed between the production of season 4 and season 5, the difference in the cast’s ages shouldn’t be too noticeable since they’re filming the final episodes soon.
How Stranger Things Has Already Addressed Age Concerns
Before the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike ended, Stranger Things executive producer and director Shawn Levy addressed worries about the young actors becoming too old for their roles. Levy told Variety, “Our hair and makeup and wardrobe department are pretty exceptional, using costumes and wigs and makeup. The ’80s are also our friends in returning these young adult actors to their iconic Hawkins characters. So we’re going to use all the tools available to us.” He also explained to Deadline that they wouldn’t use artificial intelligence to de-age the cast members.
So, the producers are aware that some actors might have noticeably aged between filming season 4 and season 5, and they’re taking the necessary steps to ensure that they resemble their characters’ ages as closely as possible in the last episodes. Of course, a time jump could solve this problem. But as stated above, the Stranger Things season 4 finale makes a time jump difficult.
Sources: Variety, Deadline