Season 1 spoilers are ahead!
The first season of Stranger Things was released more than one freakin’ year ago. This means that we’ve had one whole year to ponder the many unanswered questions we were left with at the end of Season 1 (WTF is the Upside Down? Who or what is Eleven? Is Will part monster now?!), so you could say we’re ready for answers. While Season 2 will hopefully explain what the hell is going on—all nine episodes drop this Friday on Netflix!—we decided to prep by exploring fandom’s best theories for what’s to come.
1. Sheriff Hopper is Eleven’s dad
YouTuber Planet Calvin argues that Hopper’s “memories” are actually delusions, and Hopper’s daughter did not actually die. According to this theory, Hopper is using death as a coping mechanism for an arguably even worse reality: that his daughter is gone, possibly even kidnapped. Which all sounds very familiar… Terry Ives was pregnant when she participated in Dr. Brenner’s government experiment, but she supposedly miscarried. However, Ives believes that Brenner kidnapped her child so that he could conduct experiments on her and the miscarriage story was a cover up. Could it be that Ives’ and Hopper’s missing children are the same kid? And that she’s Eleven? Another fan noticed that Eleven’s drawing, which Hopper comes across the first time he sneaks into Hawkins National Laboratory, resembles the child’s drawing hanging in Hopper’s house (presumably made by his daughter). If you re-watch the first episode of Season 1, the camera lingers on the drawing for more than a few seconds and it’s def hard to ignore.
2. The Upside Down is an alternate reality where tensions between Russia and the U.S. resulted in nuclear war
One Redditor focuses on the fact that Will described the Upside Down as cold and dark, and science says that the resulting fallout from a nuclear explosion would not only block the sun’s light causing darkness, but also prevent solar radiation from causing heat. Another user thinks this makes perfect sense because Stranger Things is set during the early 1980s, a time period during which people were extremely anti-Russia and fearful of nuclear war.
3. The monster doesn’t want blood or people to eat, it wants energy
In trying to capture the monster, Nancy and Jonathan theorize that it is attracted by blood since Barb’s hand was bleeding profusely when she was taken. But, as this Redditor noticed, the monster most often appears at the Byer home, where Joyce has plugged in practically every light in Hawkins. As well, Will wasn’t bleeding when he was taken, but there was a very bright light both on his bike and in the shed where he gets the gun. If the monster is in search of energy, who has the most energy, like, ever? Eleven! And Eleven’s nose and ears bleed every time she expels her powers. So, although the monster seemed like it wanted blood, it just associated blood with Eleven.
4. The pumpkin patch is where new monsters are born
This Reddit user believes that pumpkin patch pictured in this Season 2 teaser is actually a breeding ground for new monsters. It’s thought that the gross slug thing Will coughed up in the Season 1 finale may find its way to these pumpkins, and then use the vegetables as a safe, cocoon-like structure where it can grow up into a big, strong, murderous monster.
5. Eleven and the Demogorgon (the monster from Season 1) are the same
Some fans think that, since Eleven was kept in captivity and experimented on her entire life, the monster is a product of Eleven’s childhood trauma. According to this theory, the monster has since become its own separate and independent entity, though they still share some kind of mental link. After she saves Mike from jumping off the cliff, Eleven tearfully says, ““I’m sorry. The gate… I opened it. I’m the monster.” While we didn’t think twice about this the first time ’round, it seems plausible that Eleven was being literal.
Shannon Purser (a.k.a. Barb) Talks Stranger Things, Riverdale and her Emmy Nom
How to Pull Off 6 Last-Minute Stranger Things Costumes
Stranger Things Just Released a New S2 Trailer and It. Is. Everything