• David Harbour reflects on watching his young Stranger Things co-stars grow up, admitting he was pleasantly surprised by their individual paths.
  • The actors on Stranger Things have aged faster than their characters, causing potential continuity issues for the final season.
  • There is speculation that a time jump will be used in season 5 to align the ages of the characters with their older actors. Harbour hinted at this possibility in an interview.

Stranger Things star David Harbour opens up about his experience watching his young co-stars grow up. Premiering in 2016, Stranger Things took the world by storm with its nostalgic, heartwarming story about a group of kids, one of whom possesses incredible psychic abilities, who work together to stop horrors from an alternate dimension from wreaking havoc on their small Indiana town of Hawkins. When Stranger Things season 1 aired, its main cast was very young, only around 12 years of age. By the time its upcoming fifth and final season airs, that same cast will be in their early twenties.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter conducted prior to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, Harbour, whose character Jim Hopper takes on a paternal role toward the kids, shares his thoughts on watching his castmates grow up over the past four seasons of Stranger Things. Harbour shares that he had thoughts on which directions he suspected the young actors would take, only to be pleasantly surprised. Read his comments below:

I’m sure there’s something to your question, but early on, it was very funny to see the sprouts of Stranger Things kids. We had, like, five of them that first season. The brood keeps growing, but they were all little saplings. So we all put bets on various ones going in various ways, and I was wrong about every single one of them. So it’s gratifying, sometimes, and not gratifying the next. But it’s been interesting to see kids surprise me in this business.

How The Stranger Things Cast’s Ages Will Affect The Final Season

Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard in Stranger Things Season 4

When Stranger Things season 1 was filmed, the young actors’ ages matched those of the characters, as they were all around the age of 12. By the time season 4 aired in 2022, the characters had aged, but only to around 15, and they were in their first year of high school. The actors, on the other hand, had already reached their late teens and early twenties. Stranger Things season 5 hasn’t even started filming yet and is facing further delays due to the double strike, so the previously child-aged cast will be fully grown adults by the time they inhabit their iconic roles for the last time.

Related: Stranger Things Season 5 Delays Make 1 Major Ending Theory Way More Likely

The actors’ ages potentially pose a problem to the series’ continuity. If Stranger Things season 5 were to pick up immediately after the events of season 4, that would mean the actors would return to playing 15-year-olds. Actors in their twenties commonly portray teenagers in film and TV, including in Stranger Things, where 21-year-old Natalia Dyer portrayed Nancy Wheeler in season 1, who was estimated to be 15 or 16 at the time. However, Stranger Things was celebrated for using age-appropriate actors, so keeping the characters young while their actors aren’t anymore would be inconsistent.

There is a widely circulating theory that Stranger Things season 5 will include a time jump, which will age the main cast up, decreasing the disparity between characters and cast. Harbour himself seemingly confirmed this theory, sharing in an interview that the final season will not take place immediately after the events of season 4. Depending on how large the time jump is, it could be the key to restoring balance between the ages the characters are supposed to be and the more mature appearances of their actors.

Source: THR

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