Stranger Things' New Director Proves Season 5 Is Returning to its Roots

The King will reign.

Stranger Things

Stranger Things is such a cultural behemoth that it’s hard to picture it as the risky sci-fi period piece it once was. But one name was a balm for wary viewers: the Duffer brothers, who created the show, made it very clear the work of horror fiction icon Stephen King was a major influence on the series’ tone and plot.

Later seasons of Stranger Things, however, veered towards constant attempts to one-up itself. But now, with the fifth and final season in pre-production, there are hints that the show will return to the basics.

The InSneider claims Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont is in talks to direct two of the eight episodes of Stranger Things Season 5. Darabont is a longtime King devotee, having also adapted The Green Mile and The Mist from King stories. He’s also no stranger to television; he created and ran The Walking Dead for its first season before a nasty clash with AMC saw him depart the show.

Frank Darabont is in talks to direct two episodes of Stranger Things Season 5.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Such a high-profile director could help Stranger Things make a splash in its last season, especially if the feature-length runtimes and ever-expanding budgets from Season 4 continue. But this move also feels like a nod to what made the show so great in the first place: paying homage to the classic sci-fi and horror that inspired it.

Darabont may not be the only high-profile director approached to direct Season 5. While Shawn Levy has directed two episodes of every season so far, his commitment to the upcoming Deadpool 3 may make returning one last time difficult. Even if he does make the schedule work, Stranger Things has incorporated multiple high-profile directors before, like how Season 2 included episodes directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton and Electrick Children’s Rebecca Thomas.

We may see more King-adjacent talent get involved with the final season of Stranger Things.


Maybe Stranger Things’ victory lap will include big directors with the King-esque pedigree that suits the series so well. Season 5 might need to be flashy to make an impact, but it needs to understand what made everyone fall in love with the series to begin with too.

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