Shawn Levy Reveals Why Stranger Things Season 4 Is Split Into Two Parts

"Stranger Things" executive producer Shawn Levy, who also directed two episodes in season 4, Volume 1 (including the brilliant fourth episode, "Dear Billy") has revealed why the latest season has been split in two.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Levy explained that as all nine episodes of "Stranger Things" season 4 were not ready at the time, they decided to provide a "satisfying breaking point" after episode 7, so that viewers did not have to wait longer for the whole installment:

"We didn't think nine episodes were going to be ready in time, and we have made the world wait long enough. We always knew that if we could deliver the first seven, it's such a satisfying breaking point and pay-off moment, that it'll keep people fed for enough weeks so we can finish up volume two."

This does make sense, as the first seven episodes in this season are way meatier than its predecessors, packing several narrative strands while introducing a host of new characters to reckon with. Moreover, as almost all of the episodes exceed the 30-minute mark, it makes sense for the season to be split in two, even if it was done for practical or logistical reasons alone.

Heading towards a grand finish

This season's big baddie, Vecna, is much more complicated than the usual creatures that have sprung forth from the Upside Down so far. While the Mind Flayer was a formidable nemesis, Vecna is infinitely more terrifying, as he harbors a personal grudge against Hawkins, and has a master plan that he wishes to carry out.

Keeping in mind that the gang remains divided for the most part, with the Byers, Eleven, and Mike in Lenora Hills, while the rest are back in Hawkins, their potential reunion in episode eight will have a massive payoff in terms of the plot moving forward. As Vecna's hold over the town strengthens over time, it is essential for everyone to band together and face him as a united front in the final two episodes.

Levy went on to explain that as streaming platforms are experimenting with different release models for shows, it felt right to divide the season into two, as the latter half had a "very ambitious" story to tell:

"Every streamer is playing around with different models. We've seen full-season, binge-worthy streaming, aka Stranger Things 1, 2, and 3. We've seen Disney+ and Hulu try a weekly model, which didn't feel quite right for this. So, we're happy that we were able to give our audience a huge meal of story.

But it also gives us time to stick the landing by finishing the last two episodes really strongly and, as you've already now seen, this season relies on next-level visual effects and world-building, and as you can imagine, Volume Two is very ambitious in its storytelling, and we need a little more time to finish strong."

The stakes are much higher than ever before, and the final episodes seem to be worth the wait. Volume 2 of "Stranger Things" season 4 will premiere on July 1, 2022, on Netflix.