Stranger Things creators and showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer have a "general sense" of where the Netflix series is headed but say they've known how the show will end "for quite a while." The Duffer Brothers manage each season as a complete story — the filmmakers were once unsure whether the 1980s-set genre show would continue beyond its first season before Stranger Things proved a hit for the streaming service — and going into its fourth season, the series will continue to unravel the expansive "mythology" surrounding Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Hopper (David Harbour) and other residents of the supernaturally plagued town of Hawkins, Indiana.
"We like to look at each season as kind of its own complete story. We do have a pretty large mythology," Matt Duffer told Deadline. "I think when we were developing Season 1 — and to Netflix's credit, they sort of pressured us to make sure we had this mythology really hammered out — we had like a 25-page sort of Stranger Things mythology that only maybe a small handful of people have seen. So season by season, we're kind of turning the page and revealing a little bit more and more."
"So we do have a general sense of where we're going," Duffer continued. "We've known the ending of the show for quite a while."
Because the Duffers didn't know if Stranger Things would return for a second season, the brothers made it so the show's first season in 2016 "could function basically as its own standalone piece, like almost as a limited series, but it had the potential to go beyond that. And that if it were to go beyond that, we had an idea of where it would go."
"We have an ending in mind. We don't want to just keep churning it out," Duffer added, saying it's important for the creators to "stay excited" about Stranger Things.
"Because I feel like if we lose excitement or enthusiasm for it," Duffer said, "I think the audience's enthusiasm will drop as well."
More mythology will be revealed in Stranger Things Season 4, this time concerning the personal history of gulag prisoner Hopper. In May, Harbour teased the fourth season will reveal a "huge" piece of Hopper's backstory, a revelation the actor has kept secret "since the first frame of the first shot" of the series.
Stranger Things 4 is currently on production pause after Netflix in March ordered work be shut down amid the coronavirus crisis. Netflix has not announced a release date for the new season.