"Stranger Things 4" EP/Director Shawn Levy Talks Shutting Down Prod Over Coronavirus Concerns

Less than a week after production on Stranger Things 4 shut down due to growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, executive producer and director Shawn Levy is opening up about breaking the news to the cast and crew.

● When Levy called the team together the morning of March 13, it wasn't to discuss the situation – Netflix had already made the decision. Levy makes it clear that no one was sick or showing symptoms, and that the decision was made out of serious precaution:

"I was having phone calls with Netflix while directing takes and blocking scenes. We shared the news with our cast and crew that we would be pausing production out of an abundance of caution. There were no sick crew members, no one was exhibiting symptoms, but it seemed like the right thing to do."

stranger things
Netflix

● The season was a month into production when the plug was pulled – a moment Levy described as "bittersweet," as the team was beginning to hit its stride:

"When you're shooting, you create this micro society, this community. You're aware of the world beyond, but in all of my years directing and producing, I'm hard pressed to come up with any comparisons for this truly global situation."

● Levy also revealed that Netflix is paying the crew for two, 40-hour work weeks during the shutdown.

Now let's venture back to a simpler time (earlier this month), when the cast of Stranger Things took us inside the show's fourth season "secret" table read. We can't help but smile at what looks more like a family reunion or a return to summer camp… if there with Demogorgons in the woods, that is:

Last month, Noah Schnapp aka Will Byers revealed that he had gotten his eyeballs on the first four scripts when asked about starting production on the fourth season:

"I look forward to this so much. It's my favorite thing in the world, and I love working with these people. It's like a family. I read the first four scripts, and they are amazing. I can't wait to see where they go with the rest of the season."

To mark to occasion of "Stranger Things Day 2019", the writers revealed the title of the first episode of the fourth season (written by the series' creators) that appears to be a friendly nod to 80's X-Men comics:

Stranger Things
Netflix

Confirmation of the series' return came more than three months after the show's third season debut, and with the Duffer Bros. signing an overall multi-year television/film deal with the streamer:

stranger things
Netflix

"We are absolutely thrilled to continue our relationship with Netflix. Back in early 2015, Ted Sarandos, Cindy Holland, Brian Wright and Matt Thunell took a huge chance on us and our show — and forever changed our lives. From that first pitch meeting to the release of Stranger Things 3, the entire Netflix team has been nothing short of sensational, providing us with the kind of support, guidance and creative freedom we always dreamed about. We can't wait to tell many more stories together — beginning, of course, with a return trip to the Upside Down!"

– Matt and Ross Duffer

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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