CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

'Stranger Things' Is Getting a Prequel Featuring Young Hopper

The First Shadow is a play set in 1959 and will open in London later this year.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture | Video Games | Breaking News
Sean Keane
2 min read
A person stands in front of a window, casting a monstrous shadow in Stranger Things: The First Shadow

Stranger Things: The First Shadow will dive into Vecna's arrival in Hawkins, Indiana.


Stranger Things is getting a '50s-era prequel, but it won't be on Netflix. 

Stranger Things: The First Shadow is a play that will debut in London's Phoenix Theatre in late 2023, and a synopsis reveals that it will focus on younger versions of some familiar characters.

"Hawkins, 1959: a regular town with regular worries. Young Jim Hopper's car won't start, Bob Newby's sister won't take his radio show seriously and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town," the synopsis reads. "When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family finds that a fresh start isn't so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very long reach."

You might remember Henry Creel as the troubled boy who becomes supervillain Vecna in the TV series, while Bob Newby will go on to manage the town Radio Shack (as seen in season 2, where he's played by Sean Astin).

The '80s-set Stranger Things kicked off on Netflix in 2016 and is among the streaming service's most beloved shows. It will return for season 5 at some unspecified point.

The First Shadow is written by Kate Trefry, who worked on the show, and is based on an original story by series creators the Duffer Brothers and Jack Thorne (who also wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

Ticket information, performance schedule and casting will be announced at a later date, but you can register for priority ticket access.

"You will meet endearing new characters, as well as very familiar ones, on a journey into the past that sets the groundwork for the future of Stranger Things," Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer said in a statement. "We're dying to tell you more about the story but won't -- it's more fun to discover it for yourself. Can't wait to see you nerds in London!"

2023's Best TV and Streaming Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

See all photos