Stranger Things should feature a major time jump like Riverdale

Stranger Things - Courtesy of Netflix
Stranger Things - Courtesy of Netflix /

Stranger Things should pull a Riverdale and time-jump into the future

The future of Stranger Things is one of the most discussed things when it comes to Netflix shows. Stranger Things season 4 is currently in the works, although the cast and crew have yet to resume production after it was shut down in March.

Thanks to the Duffer brothers’ recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, we know Stranger Things season 4 won’t be the final season of the series, which means Stranger Things season 5 is all but confirmed.

In the interview, the Duffers also mentioned that the production delays allowed the creative time to think about the future of the series more than they normally would have been able to do if production was happening.

There are a few challenges facing the Stranger Things creative team, and this delay probably isn’t helping.

Obviously, and this is the main problem pointed out by fans, the young cast is getting older and much more quickly than the characters are aging in the show. So far, the show has covered about two full years. We meet these characters in the fall of 1983, and the third season ends sometime in the fall of 1985. Nearly five years have passed since the start of filming, so the younger characters clearly look so much older than when the series started.

TV shows always have older characters playing high school kids. Some actors are in their 30s and still playing high school-aged kids. So, I don’t think this is that much of a problem, but there’s a very clear workaround for the Stranger Things creative team: a big time jump.

Why a time jump could work in Stranger Things

We’re going to see Riverdale, another popular teen series, feature a huge time jump in the upcoming season. Riverdale started filming in 2016, and while more than four years of real-time have passed, the show has only covered about three years of time.

So, to breathe some fresh air into the series and fix the problem of the cast getting older while the characters remain the same age, Riverdale is going to feature a seven-year time jump in season 5. It’s going to bring these characters into adulthood and add a new layer of drama to the series.

Looking into the future, Stranger Things season 4 probably won’t air until late 2021 at the earliest. If they wait until after that release date to start filming, we could be looking at a late 2022 or even 2023 release date for Stranger Things season 5.

Most of the cast will be well into their 20s at that point, which could lead to some continuity issues between the seasons. The difference in ages of the main cast at the start of the series through the end of the series might not match up very well, especially if the season 4 begins shortly after where season 3 ended.

A time jump clearly and easily solves the problem of the cast getting older. That’s a no-brainer, but a time jump could mean so much more to the series.

The characters need time to deal with the past 

We’ve seen so many bad things happen to these characters. Like, the trauma they’ve endured and how strong they’ve had to be, mentally, physically, and emotionally, is incredible. Do the Duffer brothers and the creative team want to do that year after year after year? I don’t think so.

The best way to move this story forward and allow those characters to grow and experience life outside of what it’s like to be hunted by monsters and Russians is to use a time jump to move the show into the future.

In my mind, I think that solves two problems with the show. Obviously, it fixes the age thing, and it also changes the dynamic of the series a little bit in a good way. We need to see these characters process what happened to them. That can only happen with time and space outside of Hawkins and everything that comes with it.

The Byers are already on that trajectory in the new season. They left Hawkins with Eleven at the end of season 3. Surely, they’ll be pulled back into the mix with Hopper still missing, but I’m hoping they have a little bit of a break from the tragedy at some point.

A time jump could pay home to Stephen King’s IT 

As I’ve written about before, I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s IT, which has been referenced in Stranger Things. For those who are unaware, IT is told in dual timelines. In one timeline, the characters are kids, and in the other, they are adults. After the kids grow up and leave Derry, Maine, they are pulled back to their hometown years later as adults.

I’m hoping Stranger Things could pull off something similar. I don’t mean, necessarily, that we have to wait 15 or 20 years or anything like that, but a time jump into early adulthood for these characters would be really interesting. In my vision, I see the Stranger Things characters growing apart as they get older before being thrown back together again in Hawkins for some reason.

Maybe it’s during college, maybe it’s immediately after high school graduation after most of the kids have moved to other places, or maybe it’s somewhere in between, I think any of those options present a different look at this story and could be really cool for fans.

On the flip side of that, there’s nothing wrong with Stranger Things. And, in TV and movies, if there’s nothing wrong, studios and even creators probably question whether such a drastic change would be worth it. That line of thinking is the antithesis of everything the creative team and the Duffer brothers have done with Stranger Things. 

The show has always done something different in every season we’ve seen so far. It’d be so easy to stop taking story risks and just do a missing person’s case every season and collect the check, a very big check from Netflix, but they don’t do that. Every season feels much different than the previous season, and while the protagonists might win in the end most of the time, I’m not sure that will always be the case.

We’d get to see Stranger Things in the ’90s 

Stranger Things has already mastered the nostalgia of the1980s. We’ve seen so many incredible pop culture references.

Wouldn’t it be cool to see similar references to the pop culture of the 1990s? I think so! And, I think it’d add another dynamic and layer of nostalgia for this great series.

What do you think? Do you want to see a time jump in Stranger Things? Let us know in the comments below!

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