Shawn Levy Teases the 'Heart and Soul' of “Stranger Things”' Final Season (Exclusive)

The Netflix series' beloved characters will be "intact and are as central as spectacle" in season 5, Levy tells PEOPLE

<p>VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty; Courtesy of Netflix</p> Shawn Levy is the executive producer of

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty; Courtesy of Netflix

Shawn Levy is the executive producer of 'Stranger Things.'

According to Shawn Levy, the heart of the final season of Stranger Things is, well, heart.

At the 76th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards, the executive producer of the hit Netflix series gave PEOPLE a cryptic teaser about the series’ long-awaited fifth and final season.

“If I was a fan who had nothing to do with Stranger Things, I would presume that the final season was going to be big in scale,” Levy, 55, tells PEOPLE. “But I'd also want to note that the heart and soul of that show, which is its characters, are intact and are as central as spectacle.”

“And indeed, they are,” he adds.

Related: Stranger Things Season 5: Everything to Know

Nominated for a DGA Award for All the Light We Cannot See, Levy also brought up Stranger Things while discussing how the limited series — which is set during World War II and stars Mark Ruffalo — was his first true period piece, not the hit sci-fi show.

“I've never done a straight-up drama,” he tells PEOPLE. “I've never done a period piece other than Stranger Things — but that doesn't really count because I was alive in the '80s.”

<p>Netflix</p> The cast of 'Stranger Things'


The cast of 'Stranger Things'

Levy’s new Stranger Things teaser echoes what Stranger Things showrunners the Duffer brothers — twins Matt and Ross Duffer, 39 — told Indiewire in 2022: They are being extremely mindful as they wrap up the existing characters' arcs.

"We're doing our best to resist [adding new characters] for season 5," Matt told the outlet, noting that the duo is "trying not to do that so we can focus on the OG characters, I guess."

Added Ross: "We've got a great cast of characters here, and actors, and any moment we're spending with a new character, we're taking time away from one of the other actors."

Related: David Harbour Says He Is 'Thrilled' to Return to Stranger Things: 'I'm Ready to Work' (Exclusive)

Last month, Netflix revealed that production on the final season of the beloved Millie Bobby Brown-led show is underway.

Along with the long-awaited announcement, the streamer also shared a picture of the series’ cast — including Brown, David Harbour and Winona Ryder — as they reunited for the first time since filming the fourth season, which debuted in May 2022.

The new cast photo also featured stars Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Sadie Sink, Priah Ferguson, Cara Buono, Amybeth McNulty, Brett Gelman and Finn Wolfhard — who appeared to have a script in-hand.

Also in the photo were the Duffer brothers and Jamie Campbell Bower, who took last season by storm as the latest Big Bad, Vecna.

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While the upcoming season of Stranger Things will be the last, Netflix has additional projects in the series’ universe in the works — including an animated spinoff show and a prequel play, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, which debuted in London's West End in December.

Stranger Things’ first four seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.

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