A Weird Stranger Things Prequel Is Coming And It’s The Oddest Possible Production

A Stranger Things prequel called Stranger Things: The First Shadow is on its way not to the small screen, but to the stage.

By TeeJay Small | Updated

stranger things prequel
Promotional image for Stranger Things: The First Shadow

A Stranger Things prequel by the title of The First Shadow is set to premiere later this year, in an unusual capacity. Given that Netflix produced the smash hit nostalgia-fueled science fiction series, you’d be forgiven for expecting the follow-up to appear on the streaming library, however, according to a report from Deadline, The First Shadow will be performed as a stage play in London’s West End theater. A brief teaser trailer has been released for the production, which promises to take place a quarter century before the Stranger Things series begins.

Since the flagship series first arrived on Netflix back in 2016, fans were instantly hooked. The series, which follows a group of teenagers engaging in paranormal science fiction adventures in 1980s Indiana, is very reminiscent of Steven Spielberg classics. After it was announced in 2022 that the fifth season would be the closing chapter of Stranger Things, many fans immediately found themselves wondering if there would be prequels, spinoffs, or other accompanying media within the franchise.

Given the current state of the media landscape, wherein streamers are constantly trying to capitalize on the hype of a franchise, it only seems natural that Stranger Things would continue in the form of a prequel. This trend will see Stranger Things following the path of other hit series such as Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, which each had prequel installments released in recent years. For Breaking Bad, the prequel came in the form of a six-season series focused on Walter White’s criminal lawyer, titled Better Call Saul, whereas The Sopranos‘ showrunner David Chase opted to write a prequel film to continue the series, titled The Many Saints of Newark.

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The Stranger Things prequel has changed the format, of course, by being performed in front of a live audience as a stage play. The play is set to be the first in an apparent series of upcoming collaborations between Stranger Things creators, the Duffer Brothers, and Tony award-winning stage play director Stephen Daldry. While little is known about the plot of The First Shadow at this time, the show is scheduled to premiere in the Phoenix theater this coming Fall.

Veteran Stranger Things staff writer Kate Trefry is attached to write the prequel production based on an original story by the Duffer Brothers and Jack Thorne, who is best known for writing the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Based on what little information is provided by the teaser trailer, we can glean that the play will take place in the Stranger Things characters’ hometown of Hawkins, Indiana in the year 1959. Daldry is said to have spent over a year perfecting the art of illusions and live magic in order to bring the Netflix series’ flagship blend of mind-bending spectacle to the stage.

Stranger Things Season 5 is set to begin filming in May, with a possible release in early 2024.