Since its launch in 2016, the Duffer Brothers’ gripping sci-fi series, Stranger Things, has been an unmitigated success for its home platform, Netflix. With a nostalgic trip through the 1980s and a toe-curling battle through the “Upside Down”, the young cast is now growing toward adulthood and the fifth and final series.
As fans brace themselves for an emotional farewell to the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, they will be relieved to hear that a Stranger Things prequel will hit London’s West End later this year. The play, titled Stranger Things: The First Shadow, is set more than 20 years before the events of the Netflix series and follows the characters Jim Hopper, Bob Newby and Henry Creel in their youth.
The West End show is written by scriptwriter and co-executive producer Kate Trefry and directed by Stephen Daldry, famed for his popular work on The Crown. The producers have kept much under wraps but revealed that the story would open in Hawkins in 1959 as a young Hopper’s car fails to start and Joyce Maldonado – who viewers know as Joyce Byers in the Netflix show – tries to graduate from school and leave town.
A new character called Creel is also introduced, according to producers. His family finds that “a fresh start isn’t so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very long reach,” according to a press statement. The beginning of Stranger Things “may hold the key to the end”.
Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators, directors and executive producers of the original Netflix series, commented: “You will meet endearing new characters, as well as very familiar ones, on a journey into the past that sets the groundwork for the future of Stranger Things.
“We’re dying to tell you more about the story but won’t – it’s more fun to discover it for yourself. Can’t wait to see you nerds in London.”
Greg Lombardo, the vice president of live experiences for Netflix, said: “Stranger Things has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we are incredibly thrilled to expand this exciting universe with Netflix’s first live stage production.”
The play will open in late 2023 at the Phoenix Theatre in London. Further details regarding ticket sales will be announced in April.