Gaten Matarazzo is trying hard to accept that “Stranger Things” is coming to an end.
While cast and crew members are preparing for the fifth and final season, Matarazzo has been weighing the pros and cons. The 20-year-old actor, who plays Dustin in the Netflix series, talked about his concerns on “The Tonight Show” on Monday.
“There’s an excitement there because you always want to wrap it up and see how these characters are going to finally develop one last time, and how they’re going to finish their journeys,” he told host Jimmy Fallon. “But also, there’s like a deep fear.”
“Not only has it been amazing, but it’s been pretty great job security for a while,” Matarazzo continued. “Back to freelance.”
Matarazzo had just become a teenager when the Duffer brothers cast him in the show, which premiered in 2016 and involved him as a lead actor ever since. The ’80s throwback series became a cultural phenomenon, which isn’t lost on Matarazzo.
“It’s interesting to constantly just be reminded how much people have resonated with it,” he told Fallon. “I mean, it’s something that’s so important to all of us and has just been essential to the growth that I’ve had over all of my teenage years into my 20s.”
“It’s the defining aspect of the past 10 years of my life, practically the past decade,” he continued.
The show has been a defining aspect for viewers, as well. Nielsen reported “Stranger Things” clocked in as the No. 1 streaming series of 2022 — with 52 billion minutes viewed.
Season 4 concluded with Max (Sadie Sink) being rescued from Vecna and his Upside Down world in an interdimensional battle that destroyed the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. While (most of) the gang is back together, what’s next is a mystery.
The final season begins production this summer. Matarazzo said he’s hoping for a satisfying sendoff for all the characters when the series finally concludes.
“I’ve never really given myself the opportunity to think what they might want to do,” he said. “I’d love to see a good launchpad for growth, and I’d love to see these characters thrive and move on from the trauma they’ve endured over the past few years.”