As the world continues to discuss the season four finale of Netflix’s Stranger Things, its creators are preparing what stories will come after the tale in Hawkins, Indiana finally concludes. According to Deadline, Matt and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines) have initiated their own production company – Upside Down Pictures – to create a slate of various projects for the streaming platform. Under this banner, future projects will develop as they prepare to write season five of Stranger Things this August.
According to Deadline, the upcoming projects vary from original live-action series and adaptations to the theater. Building upon their already massively successful franchise, the brothers have a Stranger Things spinoff series in the works. And a stage play set in the universe will be produced by Sonia Friedman (The Book of Mormon, Jerusalem), Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott, The Hours) and Netflix. Daldry is set to direct with Kate Trefry (How to Be Alone, Fear Street 3) elected to write. The Duffers will also develop an original series from Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance creators Jeffrey Addiss (Life in a Year) and Will Matthews (Punk’D).
The Duffers will adapt two iconic stories for the streamer: the Japanese manga and anime series, Death Note, and Stephen King’s (The Shining, Mr. Mercedes) 1984 novel, The Talisman, via Deadline. Created by Tsugumi Ohba (Platinum End: Vol 1.), Death Note follows a high schooler who discovers a notebook with the power to give or take life. As he begins passing judgment, assigning death to immoral individuals with a stroke of a pencil, he becomes blinded and somewhat bound to the new ability. If this story sounds familiar, Netflix produced a 2017 film adaptation starring Nat Wolff (Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars) and Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Sorry to Bother You).
King and Peter Straub’s (Ghost Story, Black House) The Talisman, which made a rare appearance in this current season of Stranger Things, is a story about a teenage boy who traverses between our world and another in order to save his ailing mother’s life. According to Deadline, the series will be produced by Paramount Television, Amblin Entertainment, and series creator, Curtis Gwinn (Death by Roo Roo, Death Valley).
The imprint itself has a goal to continue telling stories inspired by the Duffers’ imagination as children and adolescents. According to Deadline, the brothers described it as “stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism.” To see these stories come to fruition, the duo elected former BBC America and MRC executive, Hilary Leavitt (Orphan Black, Ozark), to head Upside Down Pictures.
“It didn’t take long into our first meeting with Hilary, where we bonded over films like Jaws, Home Alone, and Speed, to know we had found a kindred spirit,” the Duffers stated in a statement via Deadline. “Hilary’s passion for storytelling is perhaps matched only by her passion for the storytellers themselves, for whom she is fiercely protective. No wonder so many writers and directors are drawn to working with her. She is a rare talent indeed, and we feel extremely grateful to have her at our side as we build Upside Down Pictures.”
“I remember the first movie I saw in the theater, the first VHS tape I got for Christmas, the first international one-sheet I bid for on eBay because it was cooler than the domestic. And the first time I met Matt and Rossm,” Leavitt told Deadline. “All of these seminal moments have led to this ridiculously cool opportunity to build a company with the Duffer Brothers where we produce movies and television because we love movies and television. This love is at the core of Upside Down Pictures, where we’re able to collaborate with other artists on projects across the full spectrum of genre. We all love what we do and are excited to do more and more.”
Someone else who loves this new partnership is Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos. And for good reason. According to Deadline, the fourth season of Stranger Things was the platform’s biggest English series premiere with 286.79 million hours viewed during the first weekend. And it’s the streamer’s second series to reach a billion views, topping 1.15 billion hours in its first 28 days of availability. This does not include the Volume two episodes that were released on July 1. Topping the Netflix list in 91 countries, it’s the streamer’s all-time popular English series with 335.o1 million hours viewed in one week.
“Matt and Ross are an exceptionally unique talent with a vision so crisp and clear,” Sarandos said via Deadline. “They are all about the details — it’s no accident that Stranger Things has pierced the zeitgeist to become the epic pop culture phenomenon it is today. We’re excited to continue telling new stories with them as they grow Upside Down Pictures and to welcome Hilary as creative partner.”