Follow TV Tropes


WMG / Stranger Things

Go To

The Upside Down isn’t a completely independent dimension
We’ve seen it has the exact same structures, and it appears to be easier to communicate from it, than communicate to it. The shadow monster appears to be cognizant of this and is able to follow the main characters despite not being physically there.

This suggests its closer to a layer on top of reality. All the building structures are built by humans. The creatures can see the structures being built, but not any of the life doing the building.

This would also suggests the recent human experiments didn’t actually create the creatures and their world. It just created bridges.

There’s an earlier test subject who mastered all the powers
Considering El and Kali were part of the same experiment, unless their trials were fundamentally different in some way, there’s no real reason for there to be a hard line between their capabilities. Kali learned hallucinations because her personality is pre-disposed to stealth tactics. El took on a more direct approach with her powers, injuring / killing her threats instead of escaping from them.

If this is true, then one of the surviving earlier test subjects had time to manifest their powers across the board. This person will be more like a humanoid abomination, and likely to be either a tragic hero / mentor or one of the big bads.

The Upside Down races are specifically like locusts, specialized in going from reality to reality.
All the gates are biological. The demogorgon can create small temporary gates. They only recently overtook Upside Down, which explains why the locations are so similar. The universe itself was similar to normal Earth, and without any significant points of diversions. The real point of diversion is contact with the demogorgon. At which time, the reality was taken over, and presumably, all the humans were harvested. At the time of the story, the demogorgons need to move on to their next reality, with fresh hosts for procreating.

It can be amped up further as a cosmic horror story, if a new reality is created each time the demogorgons take over the initial reality. This suggests there’s always a reality where humanity lost its fight against the invaders.

Stranger Things and Eerie, Indiana take place in the same universe.
The latter takes place in 1991 but in the same state. It's a little goofier, but it could be the after effect of the Mind Flayer's grasp on a section of the state itself.

Hawkins is actually Silent Hill.
A town with a dark mirror background with Eldritch Abominations living in it and something that looks like ash falling from the sky.
  • Considering the state of the Otherworld, Hawkins may have just been close enough to Silent Hill to have been corrupted by it.
    • Well the writers did say SH was an inspiration.

Hawkins is a sister city of Twin Peaks, Gravity Falls, Night Vale, etc.
Do you have any evidence that disproves my claims?
  • On the contrary, as Night Vale itself reveals that broken versions of Night Vale exist in countless universes thanks to Huntokar. Hawkins and the other towns mentioned may actually BE Night Vale in other dimensions. Especially given that Huntokar broke reality in November 1983 - the same month the Gate appears in Hawkins.
  • As supporting evidence, the Mind Flayer's return in season 3 is backed by We'll Meet Again, which is already connected to Bill Cipher.
  • It could be a twin town of Winden, Germany (Series/Dark). Extrapolating on that, what if Winden is Dr Brenner's birthplace?
  • Dustin is related to the Pines family. His boyhood fashion style influenced his younger cousin Dipper. Dipper once came across drawings of what looked like the Demogorgon and Mind Flayer in one of the Journals, and was reminded of stories Dustin once told him.

Stranger Things and Welcome to Night Vale take place in the same universe.
Cecil mentions watching the documentary series "Stranger Things".

Stranger Things is set in the same universe as Warhammer 40k
There are a great many parallels
  • Eleven and Kali are psykers; telekinesis, telepathy, and mental manipulation are all key abilities of human psykers, and latent psykers are frequently come into their powers in response to stress, such as the experiments at Hawkins Laboratories
  • The Upside-Down is the Warp, a dark psychic reflection of reality where the laws of physics don't apply and inhabited by malevolent beings that seek to spread their corrupting influence and destroy the material world
  • The Demogorgon is a lesser Daemon, some form of Warpspawn
  • The Mind Flayer is really one of the Gods of Chaos, Tzeench, Lord of secrets and plots. Hope also falls under his domain, which is why he was able to corrupt Will just as he attempted to stand and resist
  • Or... The Mind Flayer is a Greater Daemon of Nurgle, with the "Upside Down" being a part of Nurgle's realm in the warp (given the 'ick factor' and the generalized sense of slimy decay of everything associated with both). Nurgle and his realm are simply a bit less "evolved" here than in the era of 40k, due to the smaller size of the human race, and the comparative rarity of 20th Century psykers.
  • Both the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer are drawn to psykers and in the case of Will, those who have been tainted by the warp. Additionally, while normal guns are ineffective against them, extreme physical trauma (Steve's bat, Hopper with a shotgun) and the holy, cleansing touch of fire can drive them back

Will has been "possessed" by the Demogorgon.
The Demogorgon "dies" a few seconds before Will is reanimated by Hopper and Joyce. In the epilogue, Will is seen having visions of the Upside Down, vomiting an alien slug and, perhaps most importantly, lying to his family about "just having to wash his hands". Note that Will's defining trait, established as early as Episode 1, is his honesty. What if the Demogorgon, who has the ability to move through dimensions, escaped to Will's body and took control of it?
  • Additionally, the lyrics from the song by The Clash that Will used to communicate from the Upside Down may be foreshadowing: If I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double.
  • Will ends up being possessed by the Mind Flayer, not the Demogorgon, though considering that the Demogorgon was apparently controlled by the Mind Flayer...

The show takes place in Stephen King's multiverse.
The story shares a lot of elements that Stephen King himself has used in novels in the 1980s. As we know from The Dark Tower series, most, if not all, of his stories takes place in multiple universes that ties into the DT universe. This show could very easily be a part of the same universe as Firestarter, as Hawkins Research Labs and their experiments with Eleven were born of MKUltra, much like The Shop and the Lot 6 experiments were. Hawkins Labs may even be a project of The Shop. People may say, "We see someone reading a Stephen King novel in one episode. This WMG is false." However, what those who make that claim may not realize that in the DT novels, Stephen King himself is a character involved with the events, being someone who is able to write stories about the multiple universes, including the DT universe itself. Even his novels are critical to the DT universe within the novels themselves. Will, his friends, family, the Sherriff, and Eleven all can easily fit into the ka'tet model (as its showed up in many of King's stories such as The Stand and It), which each having their own roles.

Not only do psychics exist in the Stranger Things universe, but also mages.
Hear me out on this, we've got a universe which is stated to be right out of a Stephen King novel (the theory above or quoted from Eleven's aunt herself), where often not only psionic powers exist but so do sorcerers and magic. Maybe they just operate on different rules. For example, in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, magic users like Walter O'Dim exist and so do telepathic people like the breakers used by the Crimson king. Both are implied to operate under different rules, but co-exist nonetheless. Maybe we can see this possibility done in future seasons (let's just hope the Duffer Brothers read the TV Tropes pages about their show).

The Upside Down is the Nevernever from The Dresden Files.
It actually makes sense when you think about EL is a young mage with a penchant for telekinesis. She unknowingly opens a portal to the nevernever but because they involved science something that was never done before it became an open wound anything could use.

The show takes place in the Cthulhu Mythos, and the Demogorgon is a Dimensional Shambler.
The story shares a lot of elements in common with HP Lovecraft's more "weird fiction"-y stories. Many of Lovecraft's stories dealt with dimensional travel and strange, otherworldly beings crossing over into our reality. The Demogorgon is almost identical the Dimensional Shambler creature first described by Lovecraft in his story "The Horror in the Museum." A Dimensional Shambler is described as a gaunt, humanoid with crouching gait, long arms with huge claws and gray, mummy-like skin. Dimensional Shamblers come from a parallel universe and attack by dragging their victims back to their home dimension, a place described as "a long, gray, oozing plain, beneath skies where the fumes of Hell were writhing like a million ghostly and distorted dragons." Stop me if this is all starting to sound familiar. The only difference is that Dimensional Shamblers are described as having a canine snout with hooked fangs rather than the Demogorgon's lamprey-like mouth.

Keep in mind that this WMG is not mutually exclusive with the Stephen King verse WMG. Recall that Leland Gaunt, proprietor of the eponymous Needful Things, was heavily implied to be Nyarlathotep.

  • The Mind Flayer is a deviously intelligent entity with a passing resemblance to Nyarlathotep's Bloody Tongue form, making this even more fitting as a WMG.

Dr. Brenner is Eleven's biological father.
The odds are strong that he knew her mother back in the day. El's conception was an unorthodox side effect of the two of them becoming acquainted in a scientific context, producing one more test subject than they'd initially planned on being exposed to experimental material. (Even worse, it's possible it was on purpose, without the woman's knowledge.) It's possible Brenner wanted a test subject who was completely accessible to his experiments from birth, as well as receiving influences from the project while in utero. And it'd be a nice capstone to all the first season's Star Wars references.
  • Some arguments against this:
    • Brenner, as we see throughout the series so far, seems to be all about science. Screwing a doped-up test subject (with or without her consent) is something he would probably regard as beneath him; worse, it could adversely affect the experiment by compromising his objectivity as a researcher.
    • Additionally, given that this is part of a Government Conspiracy, the CIA is no doubt keeping Brenner and his colleagues under surveillance, if anything, making sure none of them grow a conscience and blow the whistle on the operation. If the CIA had any idea that Brenner was having sex with his test subjects, they would have shut his lab down immediately. After all, they aren't funding his lab so he can slake his lusts, and the presence of a relationship (sexual or blood) between the lead scientist of an experiment and his test subjects would automatically lead to the presumption that any data that was collected was fake.
      • In fact, the presence of so much fake data is why the government cut funding for even ethical paranormal research in Real Life.
    • Thus, assuming Brenner has a sex life, he probably keeps it strictly separate from his work. The whole idea of having a child he can control completely is already accomplished by kidnapping the newborn child of said doped-up test subject, since legally, the child doesn't exist, and any claims to the contrary are dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic with a history of drug use.
      • Being the father of a legally existing child would give him less rights, since the then-prevalent Tender Years doctrine favored the mother in custody disputes, and in any case, the courts would retain jurisdiction over the child until she reached majority.
    • Moreover, even leaving the scientifically problematic nature of such a liaison aside, the scenario outlined could have played out three ways:
      • If Eleven's mother was knowingly physically involved with Dr. Brenner, she could have argued that he took advantage of her to bolster her case. This allegation was not mentioned in the newspaper articles, and on the show, and it is unlikely that it would have been left out.
      • If she wasn't aware of the sex, and was not otherwise sexually active, she might well question how she could have become pregnant and used that in her case. Again, such a thing should have been mentioned on the show, and wasn't.
      • Finally, if she was unaware of the sex and was otherwise sexually active, Brenner might have no guarantee that the child would be his, especially in an era before DNA testing.
    • I wouldn't be surprised if Brenner just considered himself to be superior to most people, therefore obviously (in his mind) any child with powers would have to share his DNA. Even supposing that he doesn't have a sex life, he could arrange for women of interest to be artificially inseminated without their knowledge. (He is an evil conspiracy guy, after all.)

The Upside Down is a hellish, nuclear-apocalyptic, parallel universe.
In the show, Mr. Clarke (and later Mike) refer to the multiverse when describing The Upside Down. The world itself is shown as a "dark mirror" of the world the characters know, with familiar structures like Byer's house/Castle mostly intact, just covered in meat moss. But it isn't really a mirror version of the world, since objects (like the Christmas lights and traps) don't magically appear in The Upside Down when placed in the real world. Considering the world seems devoid of people, full of weird, mutant-like monsters, is relatively up-to-date as far as houses/structures are concerned, and the "air is toxic" (according to Hawkins Lab scientists), it's possible that the world of The Upside Down had recently ended, and considering The Cuban Missile crisis had just occurred a year before the events of the show, it's possible we were looking into a world where the crisis went the other way and the world is coated in a layer of fallout.
  • This would certainly explain the constant "ashfall" seen in The Upside Down, as well as the aforementioned toxic atmosphere. Although, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during JFK's administration, which was over a decade before the setting of this series.
    • More like two decades since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although 1983 did have the Able Archer scare, in fact right as the show's events are playing out.
    • An interview has revealed that the "ashfall" is actually spores.
    • The immaterial and virus-like entity, the "Mind-Flayer," makes nuclear radiation being the explanation unlikely.
      • Since when is the Mind-Flayer immaterial? Isn't "Mind-Flayer" just another name for the Shadow Monster? Doesn't the Shadow Monster have a material form (in the upside-down, at least)? But yeah, point taken.
      • Its "physical form" in the upside down is a fast-moving cloud of darkness that can't possibly be a gas according to conventional physics, and the evil affecting will is described as anomalies in his brain activity, not actual damage to his brain (otherwise he couldn't be cured, of course), meaning it's not even physically noticeable in him until it tries to leave. If it is physical in some way, it's definitely not physical in any conventional sense of physics. Still adds to the point about it being unlikely it's just born of nuclear radiation.

Alternatively, the Upside Down is the aftermath of an Alien Invasion.
And now the alien species that took over the planet in that universe has been alerted to the existence of our world...
  • Season 2 heavily implies that the Mind Flayer, the demonic alien creature which rules the Upside Down, actively seeks to take over as many dimensions as possible.
  • The Fridge Horror of this WMG, of course, is that a parallel version of Earth recently suffered an Apocalypse How event. Everyone is dead. A duplicate world, with all the main characters from Season 1 and 2, and more, they are all gone.

MKUltra already knew of the Demogorgon's existence.
Brenner and the others seem eager and unconcerned about making contact with it, apparently after Eleven just saw it once, without trying to have her study it before. However, there have been ten others before her, so possibly they already got information from those, and used Eleven for the first actual contact.

The Upside Down was a regular universe before.
The Upside Down is taken by The Corruption, the same kind that grows in the lab, and seems to keep growing.So, the upside down could be a universe where the same things happened and months/years later is in that Silent Hill style.One can conclude that this universe is doomed if nothing is made or there is no season 2.
  • Season 2 definitely doesn't seem to do much to Joss this theory. The enormous, shadowy monster that attempts to spread The Corruption is nicknamed the Mind Flayer, after a dimension-hopping monster from Dungeons & Dragons. The creature that it's named for goes from world to world, conquering one after another and building its army. It also looks alien to the Upside Down, with a very different appearance from the Meat Moss and Demogorgons, and a red color pallet associated with it in some of its appearances (in contrast to the cool colors more common in that dimension). It isn't hard to reach the conclusion that someone in the Upside Down might have made the mistake, decades or centuries ago, of opening up a gate to another world that the Mind Flayer had already taken, or even to whatever frozen hell its home really is.

The Demogorgon is not originally from the Upside Down.
The Upside Down is supposed to be a dead version of our world – nothing lives there. The Demogorgon shows an innate ability to move between worlds, so it seems likely that it came to the Upside Down from another, third, world.
  • While not exactly jossed, the Demorgogon has been shown to be a proxy of the Mind Flayer, an alien hive mind that seems completely linked to the upside down. However, it is possible the Demogorgons were a race from another world the Mind Flayer enslaved.
    • It also seems possible (and not altogether unlikely, given how different the Mind Flayer appears from pretty much everything in the Upside Down) that the Demogorgon is from the Upside Down while the Mind Flayer is not. The roots, the Demogorgons, and all of the other things in that Universe look like corrupted swamp animals, while the Mind Flayer has a different aesthetic to it altogether. It's smoother, less organic, and seems to be made up of a swarm of tiny viral particles like nothing else in the dimension. The comparison to a creature from Dungeons & Dragons that travels from world to world conquering each one makes that seem even more likely.

Hawkins is in northeastern Indiana, around Fort Wayne.
Steve is playing Trooper's "Raise a Little Hell" which was a Canadian hit from a band that never had much exposure in the US. The Fort Wayne area can pick up CKLW but in places much farther south and west it's drowned out by other high-powered "border blaster" stations based in Mexico.
  • Having grown up around there (specifically in Columbia City, about 20 miles west of Fort Wayne), I'm not so sure. The climate is wrong, especially in season 2 - the winter of 1984-85 was exceptionally cold in the area. I've never seen a 7-11 in the area. The nearest big city is implied to be Indianapolis. And a trip to southern Illinois (Murray has a 618 area code) would take the better part of a day from there. My guess would be that it's in the southern half of the state, maybe in Brown or Monroe County.

The Island from Lost is a gate to the Upside-Down.
We learn from Elouise in the Lamp Post that there are many spots with electro-magnetic anomalies in the world, which may not necessarily be indicative of a gate being there, but could hint to the veil between the real world and the Upside Down being particularly thin in those locations. Maybe it broke in one of those spots, for reasons unknown, and whatever magical progenitor civilization/entity used the properties of the Upside Down to create a plug to seal the rift. Jacob describes the Island as a cork that keeps evil in a bottle, and, assuming there's more, different weird shit over there, the Upside Down and its inhabitants may be exactly what he's talking about. The Island's time- and location travel capabilities might be a result of its closeness to another dimension, or functions built into it because they are necessary to keep the rift sealed. Also, following the theory that Smokey isn't what people turn into when they're thrown into the Hole, but an entity that absorbs and assumes their identities and personalities, it might be something native to the Upside Down, like the Demogorgon.
  • After season 2, this WMG can be expanded: Esau/Abel/MiB/Smokey from Lost is an entity similar to the Mind Flayer that requires a human host to escape through The Source. It appears to adopt memories and personality traits of the people it takes over, which is not exactly the same as the Mind Flayer, but it can also manifest in its pure form in the physical world, so we know the two are at most related, not identical. Both have a desire to take over the world, both are trapped (though MiB is trapped in a slice of the real world), and both are beings made of black smoke. Additionally, it is not unlikely that Desmond is a person with special abilities like 011 and 008. While their powers were barrier-crossing and telekinesis, and telepathy respectively, Desmond can see the future. It is never explained how exactly people acquire these abilities, and it seems as though they can be acquired later in life such as with Elle's mum. This is also supported by Miles, who, born on the island and exposed to the same electromagnetism, can communicate with echoes of the dead. Said electromagnetism might be the ancient technology used to keep the breach into the Upside-Down sealed, and could also be the medium on which The Island "hovers" through space and time. Exposure to the electromagnetism means one becomes temporarily part of the medium that is in contact with the Upside-Down, a time during which contact and infusion with powers can occur. Will certainly seems to have acquired the power to enter the place, though he is not in control of it.

Season Two will be a metaphor for the AIDS crisis of the '80s.
At the end of season one, Will coughs up some strange, alien slug creature into the sink and it presumably goes into the sewers. What if it sees the sewers as a means to nest and asexually reproduce? Now, with more and more of the alien slugs forming and possibly taking up to infecting people (maybe being inside a human is suitable to nest before moving to a new environment to raise its young?). With the town noticing the monsters, they might find the infection started with the Byers' home.

Since there has been some hints that Will is Ambiguously Gay the metaphor will be given more credibility due to how people perceived AIDS as a "gay person's disease," and since he'd be patient zero, the town would be out for his blood for "infecting them", not to mention how the Demogorgon seems to be Alien-inspired, and look at all the sexual undertones in that creature.

  • Arguable: As Will's actor pointed out, all mention of Will being gay comes from the two bullies, which makes it something to take with a pinch of salt.
    • Don't forget his father. "Lonnie used to say he was queer. Called him a fag."
      • Still not anything like reliable testimony, since Will's dad is effectively just a third bully, and likely considers anyone gay who'd rather play D&D than go hunting.
  • Jossed. While Will does cough up an entire swarm of Demogorgon larva that eventually mature into dangerous monsters, they don't infect anyone else, and nobody aside from the main characters (and others involved in The Masquerade) even know about them. That being said, Will being ill from a virus and receiving inadequate at best care from a Reagan-funded medical system is one hell of a parallel.

The Uncanny X-Men Issue #134... a foreshadow.
Will Byers tells Dustin he wants his X-Men #134. Anyone who is familiar with the comic is the first appearance of Dark Phoenix. Now, the comic does include a scene where Jean uses her powers to pin a villain against a wall (foreshadowing the event in the show). However, Jean Gray has died and resurrected multiple times throughout the comics. However, the inclusion of this reference to the comic suggests that maybe Eleven will be back, but she won't be the cute and cuddly El we knew in Season 1, but a Dark Eleven, making her a potentially dangerous enemy for one of the upcoming seasons for the group.
  • Jossed for Season 2.
    • Eleven doesn't really go dark, but for what it's worth, her scene where she closes the gate can bring Jean-Grey-as-Phoenix to mind.

Roman will also have superpowers, but different ones than Eleven's.

There was always more than one Demogorgon.
The creature Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan fought and wounded was a different entity from the one which attacked the school. Thus why the creature in the climax was apparently uninjured. The injured one is still out there, perhaps having lost its mate.

Barb will Come Back Wrong in a bad, bad way.
I owe this WMG to Jimmy Fallon's "Stranger Things" skit, but here goes anyway:

With the implication being that the Demogorgon's targeting of humans is of a reproductive nature, and given that Will was still affected despite the interruption of the process, expect things to get bad if any attempt is made to recover her. Which Nancy might be considering, given that she is shown in mourning during the denouement...

Sheriff Hopper is Will's real dad.
Both he and Joyce probably had an affair some time ago. Depending on this, if we find out it was around the same time as when Will was conceived, well... That puts Hopper's actions in a whole new light.
  • It's stated in series that Hopper has been chief for four years and that he used to be a police officer in the city, and he is shown to have been happily married at that time. It is implied that before this he was unfamiliar with Hawkins.
    • While true that Hopper has been away from Hawkins too long to be Will's dad, he actually was from there. He went to school alongside Joyce and her generation of Hawkinsites. He just left after high school, and only came back once his marriage fell apart and his life went down the drain.
    • In the season 2 opener, Will's doctor address Hopper as Will's "Dad," so you're not the only one who gets that vibe, likely due to his and Joyce's shared history.

The Upside Down is the mental construct of Subjects 1–10.
And the Demogorgon is the embodiment of their pain and fear from the experimentation they were subjected to. (Think the Clown from "The Thaw" on Star Trek: Voyager.) This would explain the existence of structures in the Upside Down despite it being a nightmarish unpopulated world and Eleven's connection to the monster.
  • Structures are still unexplained, but the Demogorgon has been revealed to be a slave to the insidious Mind Flayer.

The Thessalhydra partly explains the upside down.
The monster briefly glimpsed in the season 2 trailer is huge and the multiple appendages lend credence to the theory that the game they played at the end of season 1 was about season 2 with the Thessalhydra being the monster. It's been establish that the ash/fog in the upside down is spores with some kind of growth covering the whole world. Possibly we'll find out that the upside-down is an alternate reality like earth until something happened and likely that huge creature from will's vision has something to do with it as implied by the lines from the trailer "the world is turning upside-down" implying the same thing could happen to the "right side-up" world.
  • While not exactly jossed, the "Thessalhydra" (actually called the Mind Flayer) is shown to be an immaterial, hive mind–creating virus-like being that wants to take over multiple worlds. The spores appear to simply be another bioweapon in its employ, and possibly part of how it spreads tunnels throughout worlds it invades.

The Thessalhydra shown in the season 2 trailer is the result of killing the Demogorgon.
The Demogorgon was described by Nancy and Dr. Brenner as a predator, which begs the question of what it ate before it came out of the upside down. In nature, when a prey species has no predator to keep it in check it will continue to multiple until either it runs out of food or it finds something else to eat. Therefore, since there is no Demogorgon to keep the Thessalhydra in check anymore, it will come out of the upside down in search of new food once it has multiplied to the point where it ran out of its original food source.
  • Jossed. The Demogorgon was a slave to the insidious, intelligent Mind Flayer, the true nickname of the "Thessalhydra" seen in the trailers.

The Demogorgon Was Once a Man.
The Monster formerly being human could be why it apparently needs a human host to reproduce.
  • Jossed, see the next theory below.

The Demogorgon is a former test subject of Hawkins Lab that became trapped in the Upside Down, mutating into the monster it is now.
The Demogorgon is shown to have telekinetic powers like Eleven. It doesn't have eyes anymore because it doesn't need them, instead using its powers to see with its mind. Brenner doesn't seem very surprised when Eleven finds the monster. He just assigns Eleven to make contact with it, possibly because he was hoping to find the monster all along.
  • Jossed. Demogorgons are alien creatures native to the Upside Down (or another world altogether), used as soldiers for the Mind Flayer.

This shares a multiverse with The OA and there will be a crossover, possibly in their third seasons
Both shows feature a multiverse and crossing between them. Both shows are Netflix originals, so there's no legal barrier to a crossover. As for the shows taking part about thirty years apart from each other, if they have a multiverse, then time travel isn't out of the question.

It's possible Hap works for the same company that took Eleven (or a splinter company).

El is the Demogorgon.
When El first found the Demogorgon, it was in a totally blank space, not the upside down. Also, it has similar powers, and when it vanished, so did El. Not to mention her line "I am the monster." El is too literal to mean this like the boys took it, I.E. "I am A monster."
  • The problem is, we clearly see El and the Demogorgon are two completely separate entities, particularly in the finale.
    • On the other hand, El only defeats the Demogorgon by sacrificing herself. They vanish at the same time, mysteriously. Perhaps they are linked in some way?
  • Jossed, as Season 2 reveals that there are many other creatures of the same species.

Eleven summoned the Demogorgon the finale.
She was pinned with no hope. Even after killing several agents, more would just come. She would be willing to do anything to escape. We know she can tap into the Upside Down. Maybe while unconscious, she used a little energy to summon the monster there. Or she passively summoned it by intentionally created a blood bath, knowing that it would attract the monster (she could just as easily have broken all the agents' necks bloodlessly). Either way, she knew the monster would provide the distraction they'd need, and intentionally attracted it.

As to why she would put the boys in danger, she knew they could at least temporarily get away. And from the season two trailer, we know she survives her supposed Heroic Sacrifice, so maybe she knew she could kill it when she needed to.

Steve got Nancy pregnant.
And that's why she's still with Steve at Season 1's end – she'd just found out that their tryst led to a pregnancy, subverting yet another '80s movie convention (the one about sex happening without consequences), and further motivating her to stay with Steve. Season 2, which will take place in October the following year, will show them living together and taking care of their infant.
  • Not only is this jossed, but Nancy breaks off with Steve and gets with Jonathan in the new season. That's gotta sting.

Troy will suffer a Sanity Slippage
Everything he experienced in Season 1, along with Will's unexpected resurrection, will turn him psychotically paranoid. When bad things start happening in Hawkins, he will immediately point fingers at Will.
  • He's already pretty psychotic as it his.

Troy and James will be Killed Off for Real in the second season
Let's face it, they're a pair of completely one-note bullies who will never contribute anything to the overall narrative and there's only so many times you can show the kids putting up with their sociopathy. It would be better to have some monster off them to get them out of the way and establish the new threat.
  • Jossed. Troy and James aren't even mentioned in Season 2.

Troy and James are in juvie.
Troy and James don't appear in season 2 because they've been sent to Juvie over the altercation at the quarry. The last we see of Troy, his mother brought him to the police station to complain about his arm having been broken by Eleven, but it wouldn't take Hopper long to suss out what actually happened from Mike and Dustin. At the very least he can slap them with assault with a deadly weapon for Troy's threats to cut out Dustin's baby teeth with a switchblade, if not attempted murder for trying to force Mike to jump, which almost certainly would have killed him without Eleven's intervention. James would likely have been put away along with him as an accomplice.

The Demogorgon is a member of Species 8472.
An extremely dangerous, telepathic being from an alternate dimension accessible by punching a hole in space that shrugs off traditional weapons and starts killing people whenever the home dimension is violated. Which did I just describe, the demogorgon or Species 8472? The only issue is that Species 8472, despite being very aesthetically similar, is tripedal. However, Species 8472 seems to evolve quickly, makes heavy use of biotech and would have 300 years to gain a third limb. If they can perfectly mimic humans, then they can probably give themselves a third leg. If the Upside Down is Fluidic Space, then this may also tie into some of the theories that the Upside Down is a post-apocalyptic world, though not necessarily one that was originally dominated by humans. If their world is in such a state, it would explain why their reaction to human incursion is less overwhelming than their later one to the Borg.
  • While obviously not that serious a theory, this is pretty much jossed by how the Demogorgons have been revealed to be the hive mind–enslaved servants of the Mind Flayer.

Upside Down is an alternate The Mist!Earth in which the portal wasn't closed and the eponymous mist covers the world
.Dark and eerie atmosphere? Eldritch creatures out for blood? Accessible through a portal? It is possible that Upside Down is what happens when the mist manages to completely cover a world for long periods of time. Stranger Things pays a great many homages and references to Stephen King already so it is not a stretch that it was at the very least a concept in the writers' minds when it was conceived.

Billy is Jason from Power Rangers (2017)
After when Jason loses his teammates to the demodog invasion in 2017. Zordon and Alpha 5 send him back to 1984 to destroy the demodogs before the invasion starts. Jason chose to go under the alias of Billy to honor his friend's memory.
  • What turned him into a racist asshole?
  • And what turned him into someone who'd try to run down some kids in his car?
  • And how'd he get a sister?
    • Max is only his stepsister. In which case, where did he get an abusive father...?
    • Jason does have a little sister in Power Rangers (2017), though she's mainly seen in deleted scenes.
    • Wait... are we seriously debating this? For one, that was Jason's biological sister, who wasn't a redhead and likely wouldn't have survived something that four superheroes with giant robots couldn't.
  • Was their anything in that movie that suggested they had a time machine? And why wouldn't Zordon revive the Rangers like he did with their Billy?

The Mind Flayer wants to use El as his next vessel
.In the final shot of Season 2, we see the Mind Flayer (or Shadow Monster) looming darkly over the middle school, implying that we're not done with him yet and that he probably even has other ways of spying on Earth. Other than an It's Personal approach, it's possible that he's going to be very interested in El's powers, which he personally witnessed in the climax. Considering that It Can Think and more than once showed that's he's actually a surprisingly cunning mastermind, using a kid with supernatural abilities as a direct vessel (even more than Will) to personally get rid of those puny humans who already thwarted his plans once would kinda make sense.
  • If not El, then maybe Dustin. That dude did get a face full of Upside-Down spores. And, Dart may not have just let him go for the chocolate and fond memories alone (although his and Dart's interaction might have got MF interested, amid all the chaos).
  • While not confirmed, the Duffer Brothers have stated that the Mind Flayer is now aware of Eleven's existence, and recognizes her as a threat to its goals. So at the very least it's now factoring her into its next move.

Season 3 will show us all the other experiments.
The gate is closed, but Eleven was able to contact the Upside-Down before it was created, which means the psychic kids created by the Do E could all potentially create another breach. The Mind Flayer knows this and will draw them towards Hawkins, where it will attempt to possess them or at the very least hold contact long enough to forge another gate.

Will was supposed to be Experiment #012.
We don't know a lot about Joyce's past, though it's clear that the Byers family has always had money struggles. It's possible that she participated in the same or similar experiments as Terry Ives for money. However, she showed little to no potential, and thus Will's birth was brushed off by the Do E. However, he had enough latent psionic ability to draw the Demogorgon to him. Think about it – after escaping, it doesn't linger around the lab but goes out into the woods and specifically targets Will. These psionic abilities may also have been what enabled the Mind Flayer to hunt down and eventually control him.
  • There's a problem with that theory: at the beginning of the series, Joyce didn't seem to really know or care much about the Laboratory until Will disappeared. You'd think if they really did experiment on her, she would be asking them some more questions about that experience.

There will be a Pietà Plagiarism scene in Season 3.
The season likely takes place in 1985. What else occurred then? Crisis on Infinite Earths and the death of Supergirl.
  • Well the season 3 finale had possessed Billy carry an unconscious El.

Mr. Clarke will join the main cast in Season 3.
Since Dustin would still want him to look at the dead demodog he stuffed into Joyce's fridge.
  • Jossed, although he does appear in one episode to answer Joyce's questions about electromagnetism.

Kali is Jane Ives
.Since season two opens on her, it made me expect she'd have a bigger role in the season than she ended up having, but I think the Duffer brothers are playing a long game.In episode five, when Eleven communicates with Terry Ives, Eleven addresses her as "Mama" and refers to herself as "Jane", and Terry replies "No." She then shows her memories, and the actual birth scene is so oversaturated it's hard to make out the baby's skin tone, especially since she's covered in blood, and the scene where Terry tracks Jane down to the rainbow room has her see two kids, but it's shot in a way that makes it impossible to tell which one she actually reaches for. At best, we know that one of the two of them is Jane, but it's never actually confirmed that it's Eleven; Joyce and Hopper track down Terry because they suspect the lab have something to do with Will's disappearance and she claimed that her daughter was taken, and everyone just connects Eleven to the story with no actual proof, and I feel like a woman who could finally communicate with the daughter she got her brain fried trying to save would have more to say to her than "No" before sending them to track down an unconnected girl.
  • Except that Kali is clearly several years older than El. Terry's sister would have noticed if "Jane" was significantly younger than she should have been. Plus, Kali's article reveals she was taken from London as a small child while Jane was kidnapped as a newborn.
  • The flashbacks show that while there is an age gap between Kali and Eleven, it's nothing too crazy – I thought it was a year or two. Eleven's going through adolescence, and it isn't unusual for people at that age to mature at different rates. Add to that the fact that Eleven turned up out of the blue, promptly insisted that she was Jane, and then showed off her powers, Becky'd be in no place to dispute her claims. As for Kali disappearing from London, she makes it clear in "The Lost Sister" that she escaped from the lab after Eleven disappeared from there and ended up far away. Everyone assumes that London is where she was taken from in the first place, but for that to happen her parents must have had British citizenship, planning to emigrate, or actively running from the government after the MKUltra experiments, before they recaptured her and took her back to the states as a young kid to continue the experiments where she'd go on to escape again. Morton's Fork says that it's more likely that she ended up in London after escaping the first time and finding a foster family there.
    • Some points to consider:
      • Who says all of the kids being experimented on were children of MKUltra volunteers? Ain't No Rule saying they couldn't have kidnapped potential subjects who weren't even connected to the original project, as Terry's baby is the only one clearly established in the series to have been the child of a former subject.
      • Also, for your theory to work it would have to mean that Kali vanished or disappeared three times: Once when taken from Terry, the second time when she escaped from Hawkins lab, and a third time when she wound up in London. Occam's Razor says the simplest explanation is that Kali was indeed kidnapped from London for Brenner's experiments as a young girl.
      • And as noted in the point above, that Kali was kidnapped from London is corroborated by the article shown in Terry's files. Remember that not quite a year (353 days between the destruction of the first Demogorgon, and El and Mike's reunion) has passed since the end of season 1, which means if Kali escaped after El, she hasn't been on the run that long. The photo attached to the article is of a much younger girl than who we see in the series. There's simply not enough time for her to have escaped, gone to London to be placed in foster care, ran away again, and aged enough from the girl in the picture to the one that appears in the present.
      • Kali's escape can be taken as "They took Jane to experiment on her because she showed powers earlier so Kali escaped" and not just after the first season.
      • As a final point, Linnea Berthelson is 24. For Kali to be only a year or two older than El would require Dawson Casting to a ridiculous extent from a series that largely averts it.note 
    • I don't really have an answer for the first part outside of a hunch; how would you track down the kids capable of these things if you didn't have something to go by, like the fact that their parents were all MKUltra volunteers to narrow it down.
      • I meant escaped from the lab, not vanished. It makes more sense to me that she escaped from the lab and ended up in London, especially when you consider the logistics of finding a psychic child who is, presumably, a citizen foreign country, then kidnapping her. If the scientists were caught, that'd cause an international scandal. However, if her foster home was in London while she originally came from the States, it'd be a much simpler situation. Unfortunately, since we don't know where Kali's foster home was, it's hard to give a definitive answer one way or the other.
      • Given that Eleven didn't remember Kali, that implies that they were separated long before Eleven escaped from the lab. We don't know the exact circumstances of their separation, but I don't think it's feasible for Eleven to completely forget someone she referred to as her sister in the space of under a year; it's more likely in my opinion that they were separated at a younger age, easily giving enough time for Kali to escape, get to London, then return to carry out her mission, as well as giving Eleven time to forget about her.
      • Yes, Linnea Berthelsen is over ten years older than Millie Bobby Brown, but the fact that there's nowhere near ten years between the children we see as rainbow room implies one of two things: either Dawson Casting is, indeed, in effect, and Kali is meant to be in her mid-to-late teens, or the other girl in the Rainbow Room wasn't Eleven, which would disqualify her from being Jane Ives anyway. I think it's just a case of they found a talented actor outside the age range who they thought would work for the part, especially when you consider that Linnea is a little over five foot, and a little shorter than Millie.
    • You're still ignoring the context of the article in the files. That snippet was collected by Terry. Which means it dates to the time she was hunting for Jane, before her mind was destroyed. It could not have been printed after Terry broke into the Rainbow Room and tried to rescue her daughter. For Kali to be Jane would require Kali to be taken from Terry, somehow ending up in London, and then recaptured again for someone to run an article about her disappearing from there. That's infinitely more complex than Kali being kidnapped in London and put into the project with no connection to Terry at all. This is Jossed.

Nancy and Jonathan's actions in implicating Hawkin Labs in Barb's death ends up biting the town of Hawkins in the ass for next season.
Though responsible for the events in the show's first season, it did look like the lab was trying to keep the gate at bay, though unaware of how they were making things worse. However, due to Nancy and Jonathan exposing them on a national level for Barb's death, which results in the lab being closed down a month later, when the events of next season comes around and the Upside-Down breaks into the world again, there's no one there to help contain it. Nancy and Jonathan's action of getting retribution for Barb may have set up a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! situation for next season.
  • Partly confirmed. Due to Hawkins Labs being closed down, the Russians were able to move in, build the Starcourt Mall and attempt to open the gate to the Upside Down again, even raiding the now abandoned lab. If Nancy and Jonathan hadn't gotten justice for Barb, Hawkins Lab could have been there to help in the fight much sooner instead of coming in late to the party.

The Season 3 trailer will be set to...
  • "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears. Kind of self-explanatory.
  • "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo. Since the Upside-Down has been locked down for the time being, the third season is likely going to focus on the other child experiments, who resulted from Brenner's own weird science.
  • "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell. It could serve as a bit of an ironic echo due to the use of "Every Breathe You Take" by The Police at the end of the season, as that hinted that the Mind Flayer may be watching and waiting for the right time. Plus, it has the same creepy vibe as "Thriller" did.
  • "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.G. It's a song that goes for "fun", which would fit the Summer setting, but also lends. itself to building up the idea of there being a near apocalyptic event, such as the return of the Mind Flayer.
    • Jossed. We got Mötley Crüe 's "Home Sweet Home," and then "Baba O'Reilly."
Lucas's dad is a Vietnam War veteran.
That's why he manages to acquire some equipment from that war for Operation Mirkwood.
  • Confirmed by Lucas's actor in an interview, though it has yet to be addressed in the show.

Hopper is a Vietnam War veteran.
He seems to be about the right age, and it would further establish his character as a grizzled badass with a traumatic past.
  • He does have a box in the cellar of his father's cabin marked "Vietnam", doesn't he?
  • Interestingly, Hopper has never once mentioned serving in the military. Though it's very understandable if he doesn't have any pleasant memories about that experience.
  • The way he handled his assault rifle in the season 2 finale (ie: keeping it in semi-auto at all times, as the early-model M16s were notoriously jam-prone) also seems to imply this.
  • After the first time we see Will see Dr. Owens, Hopper says something about PTSD being real, in a tone that suggests he's either known people with it or experienced it. It would make sense also for him to have been diagnosed with it from his daughter's death, but having been in the military is plausible too.

At least one of the main characters (appearing since the first season) will eventually be Killed Off for Real in a future season.
So far, almost everyone important to the story has been protected by sheer dumb luck, Deus ex Machina, Plot Armor, and even Disney Death (in Eleven's case), with only secondary characters and antagonists getting killed off. Just for the dramatic shock value, someone whom we've known since the beginning will probably suffer a premature demise. Bets on who would be most likely to die include:
  • Hopper. Given that he's a middle-aged badass action hero with a cynical personality, and somewhat of a mentor figure to the kids. It would be natural for him to die as a motivation for the other characters to avenge him, and defeat whatever it was that killed him.
    • Hopper seems the most likely since David Harbour has been filming Hellboy (2019).
    • Confirmed, at least as reported. However, they Never Found A Body , so it's possibly Hopper is still alive. We hope.
  • Jane. A ridiculously powerful superhuman kid who was born into miserable circumstances, it would not be too surprising if she suffered a miserable fate (though not without a glorious bang, that's for certain). Or at best she survives, but her mind/body gets broken and she loses her powers.
  • Steve. A protector of the party and big brother figure to Dustin, him sacrificing himself to save the kids at some point doesn't seem all that far-fetched.
    • Jossed for Jane and Steve. The other major death in Season 3 was Billy.
Steve will date either Kali or one of her female friends.
If Kali's gang returns in Season 3, it'll be a good way to end the love triangle between him, Nancy, and Jonathan.
  • That would be rather weird and cheesy.
    • I could see this working with Kali if it's executed well. Whether it's friendship or something romantic, Steve and Kali interacting would definitely be interesting, and could lead to some funny (and awesome) scenes.

Alternatively, Kali will be Dustin's love interest.
He's the only one in the Party without one.
  • That would be even more weird and cheesy.
  • That would be probably illegal and definitely abusive and super creepy. Gaten Matarazzo is sixteen. Linnea Berthelsen is twenty-five.
    • Jossed. Dustin met a girl at camp.

Billy is in the closet.
Despite having good looks that can only be described as "Steve-ier than Steve", he never actually pursues any girls during Season 2. Near the end there's a long bit where he's looking in the mirror and obsessing over his appearance, which fits the stereotype of gay men caring a lot about their looks (as seen in the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). Then his abusive father shows up and specifically berates him for "looking at yourself in the mirror like a fag." It's easy to imagine that Billy is gay but he's in the closet because of his homophobic father, and also because society at large was pretty homophobic back then.
  • Two counterpoints. One, Steve is apparently straight, but he still cares about his appearance. Two, Billy does kinda flirt with Mike's mom in the final episode (though maybe he just flirts once in a while to keep up appearances).
  • Further WMG: Billy has a secret crush on Steve. He goes out of his way to treat Steve like dirt because he doesn't want anyone to suspect his true feelings.
    • Steve is secretly bi, and at the end of Season 2, he's single. This will come up in Season 3.
      • Realistically, if any of this did come up, it would only be hinted at.
  • As pointed out with the speculation about Will above, a character having a homophobic insult thrown at them does not make them gay. Bullies and abusers say these things to demean and humiliate their victims, not because they can somehow 'sense' homosexuality.

Season 3 will show a flashback to what happened to the "Upside Down" dimension.
It's certainly no coincidence that this place looks just like a decayed version of our world, with a very similar counterpart to Hawkins. Presumably, just a few or several years before the series began, the UD version of Hawkins Lab also tore open a portal to some other, even stranger universe. However, they had absolutely no idea what to do when the Mind Flayer and Demogorgons came through and overran Earth, exterminating everyone and everything on the planet.

Steve will grow up to be a Cool Teacher.
He seems pretty lost and without purpose at the beginning of Season 2, and as his severely compensating behavior suggests, he's very aware that he's in danger of becoming a Future Loser. However, after discovering he's "a pretty good baby-sitter" and developing an Odd Friendship with Dustin, he'll be inspired to become a teacher and/or basketball coach and continue mentoring awkward pre-teens.
  • Jossed, at least as of Season 3. Steve didn't make the grades to get into college (kind of a requirement to be a teacher) and is spending his summer scooping ice cream at the mall.

The Mind Flayer's next target will be Mike.
In an effort to get revenge on Eleven and so the writers can give Will a break.
  • Jossed, at least for Season 3.
The Party will eventually form a band...
...and Eleven will turn out to be quite the talented singer.

Hawkins Lab was responsible for Sarah Hopper's illness or death.
Sharp-eyed viewers noticed that the stairwell where Hopper encountered a wounded Owens while en route to the Gate in the season 2 finale was the stairwell where Hopper broke down in tears while his daughter was being treated. David Harbour has apparently confirmed the location was the same, or at least connected, suggesting that the lab was treating Sarah. It will eventually be revealed that either Sarah fell ill as a result of the experiments happening there, or perhaps that she even died as a result of something the lab did and it covered up.
  • One possibility: Sarah didn't die. They faked her death like they tried to do with Will's, and she ended up as one of their subjects. Hopper only didn't Spot the Thread with her as he did Will, because he was so distraught and had no reason to be suspicious. She will return in a later season, possibly as a villain under the control of Brenner (who may not be dead based on "The Lost Sister"), leading to a confrontation with Eleven.

Season 3 will be set during Christmas time.
It'll break the chain of the epilogue being set during Christmas. Instead, the epilogue will either be set during New Year's or Valentine's Day.
  • Jossed. Season 3 has been confirmed to be set in the summer.

Ted Wheeler is a Russian spy.
Ted sometimes insists that he's patriotic (which would be important to pretend to be if you're a Russian spy), and he's among the first to ask if Eleven is Russian. Something done to possibly throw off the fact that he is Russian. He even has a Reagan/Bush sign out in his front yard. Nancy states that her parents' marriage was mostly to satisfy the idea of a "nuclear family" – which would give Ted the perfect cover. Ted goes above and beyond not to be interested in everything going on in Hawkins, which would also make people think there's no way he could be a spy.

The Demogorgon species are not as controlled by the Mind Flayer as we think.
Considering how Dart apparently formed a bond with Dustin, I think it's safe to say that the species isn't purely mindless drones but more akin to attack dogs. Loyal to their master, but not incapable of forming other bonds, possibly even ones that conflict with their master's desires. And that could be the Mind Flayer's weakness.
  • Dustin’s bond from Dart likely stemmed from the fact that Dart was too weak to do much but sit and eat.
    • And? That doesn't disprove anything above. Many instances of wild animals becoming friendly to humans happen due to being taken care of when they are weak and vulnerable.

The Demogorgon from Season 1 was birthed from a native species to the Upside Down, or a Hawkins lab test subject.
The quadruped Demogorgons were birthed from humans, in an inverse of Xenomorphs being bipedal if the host is bipedal and vice versa. The thing is, if the quadrupeds are only born from humans, what was the demogorgon from Season 1 birthed from? The eggs from the Upside Down MAY have been the source, OR it was a test subject who mutated and gave birth to a bipedal demogorgon.

Season 3: Hopper and Dustin will be the next victims of something bad...
They got sprayed in the face with something that looks like spores. Whatever it is, it can't be good for them.

Polybius will factor into Season 3.
Considering how the past two seasons have elaborated on the CIA MK-Ultra experiments, it wouldn't be too much of the show's wheelhouse to eventually bring in this urban legend of the CIA's supposed strategy of testing mind-altering drugs and mind control on arcade patrons in the early 1980s.

The Demogorgons are the result of a failed experiment by the Upside Down's humanity.
Humanity wanted to get rid of war and hatred, so they altered human genetics to get rid of free will and sense of self. Unfortunately, this turned all humans into mindless animals (i.e. Demogorgons), and made them susceptible to being controlled by the Mind Flayer.

The Mind Flayer is Martin Brenner transformed
.Considering Ray said Brenner was still alive, it's possible that, after being dragged to the Upside Down, its power turned him into a monster spawned out of his own malice and hunger for power. Plus, Will referred to the Mind Flayer as a "he" when it appeared to have no determinant gender.
  • When Brenner interacts with Mike's mom, we get the sense that he has some level of influence over people, whether by charisma or something else. It wouldn't seem out of character for him to have sampled some of the results of MKULTRA, winding up with a few powers of his own. This might then explain why he was trusted to keep a subject as powerful as Eleven under control, and why he was so interested in the project to begin with. (Perhaps he even got the idea for the research proposal after having run initial tests on himself?) Brenner having psychic influence would make it easier to believe that he became a miasma of evil psychic mind control after passing through the Upside Down. (And it would also mean the people Kali wants to kill are likely all innocent.)
    • Additionally, the thing is called the Mind Flayer. What have we seen Brenner do in nearly every scene he's been in? Shred people's psyches. He even quite literally flayed Terry Ives' mind with electricity. One could even argue that his entire research project was an attempt to flay human minds using drugs, hoping to rebuild them into weapons.

The Upside Down is actually the Nightmare Frontier from Bloodborne
And the Mind Flayer is an Amygdala

Season 3 will primarily feature Steve trying to cope with the loss of his favorite hairspray, or find a new one.
Fabergé Organics, the manufacturer of the Farrah Fawcett hairspray went out of business in 1984- the same year Stranger Things 2 was set. With the portal closed, what else could possibly happen?
  • Jossed. A can of the hairspray makes for a one-off gag when Dustin uses it as an Improvised Weapon, but is never mentioned again.
  • Faberge Organics changed owners several times in the 1980s and were even advertised in commercial breaks to promote GLOW well into 1989.

Neil Hargrove will start abusing Max if he hasn't already
With the implication that he moved his family to Hawkins because he didn't like how much time she was spending with her biological father, it's not hard to believe that he's that kind of stepfather. This could potentially lead to a Redemption Arc for Billy when he finds out, prompting him to finally stand up to him.
  • Jossed with the Redemption Arc, but it still possible he'll start abusing Max, especially with Billy gone.

Steve gets a badge, Billy gets a heart, and Kali gets vindicated
Season 2 makes it clear that Steve is worrying over (and possibly lacks) college prospects. After his Character Development and surge in popularity during Season 2, it wouldn't make sense for him to get sent away for college. But, as Season 2 has also shown, he is "a pretty good babysitter" and is not afraid to get his hands dirty to protect the kids. Furthermore, Hopper has probably been feeling isolated within the department over not being able to share the truth of Hawkins Labs and the Upside Down with his officers; why not bring on someone already in the know? It could provide for some great interactions between Steve and Hopper, with the latter being able to give Steve some much needed direction in his life, while Steve could potentially become the surrogate son to Hopper to complement his surrogate daughter El.This works on so many levels because:
  • It keeps Steve in Hawkins with something to do,
  • It allows for new character interactions between Steve and presumably El, and
  • It will give him an expanded role in Season 3, compared to the previous 2.
  • Jossed. Steve is working for an ice cream parlor throughout much of season 3.

As for Billy, Steve will use his newfound position with Hawkins PD and flex his beige-sleeved muscles to let Billy know that he won't let him terrorize Max or the gang anymore. While keeping an eye on Billy, Steve will witness some of the abuse he suffers at the hands of his asshole father, and start to understand why Billy is the way he is. Steve will decide to take the high road and offer to let bygones be bygones, but Billy won't have any of it because he's Billy Hargrove and the only friends he needs are his Camaro and mullet.

Building off the post above this one, as Season 3 goes on, we may start to see Mr. Hargrove start to throw unwelcome glances in Max's direction which do not escape Billy. And because Even Evil Has Standards, Billy will reflect and truly realize what a douche he's been and ask Steve if his offer still stands. They'll stand up to Mr. Hargrove together, and maybe a fight breaks out wherein the boys end up beating his ass (and Steve finally wins a fight!)

  • Partly Jossed. Eleven witnesses Billy's memories of abuse, and reminding him of the times when he was actually happy does lead Billy to a Jerkass Realization, and leads to his Heroic Sacrifice to hold back the Mind Flayer.

As for Kali, I propose that she was more than a plot device/distraction for El in Season 2 – she was helping set up the Big Bad of Season 3. So far in the series we have seen exactly two former Hawkins National Lab test subjects – El and Kali – and both have been set up as tragic figures for us to empathize with because of the horrors they experienced. In a series that thrives on deconstructing tropes, we haven't seen the darkest, most tragic version of this kind of story – someone so utterly broken by such an experience that they have lost their ability to empathize with other people and care only about themselves (Kali doesn't count because she still has affection for her crew and for El).

  • Possibility One: Kali will be the Big Bad. Her experiences at the Hawkins National Lab have left her a broken woman with a burning desire for revenge against those she deems responsible, and after having El walk out on her in "The Lost Sister" she possibly has lost all hope and believes Humans Are Bastards through and through. So, she and her crew will come to Hawkins under the pretense of lying low until the heat on them back in Chicago dies down, and she will ask El to help them find a place to hide. El will take them to the now-abandoned Hawkins National Lab, which is exactly what Kali wanted – because she wants to reopen the Gate and let the Mind Flayer into our world and destroy it, because humanity wasn't worth saving in the first place.
  • Possibility Two: One of the other former test subjects (possibly 001?) is looking to reopen the Gate because of the same reasons as Kali above, except they never had someone like El to act as their Morality Pet. They come to Hawkins under the pretense of connecting with El and play the same emotional cards as Kali ("we're the same", "Papa hurt us both"), but they won't actually care about El at all.
  • Jossed. Kali neither appears nor is she mentioned in Season 3.

Regardless of which version happens, as it progresses Steve – through his newfound connection to El via working with Hopper – will see it happening and recognize that they are manipulating El and being a bad influence on her. He will try to talk to El about it, even citing his own experience with Tommy and Carol, but she won't listen to him because Steve could never understand what she went through like the Big Bad could.

At the end of the season, El will finally wise up to what the Big Bad's been doing and they'll have an epic psychic showdown in the remains of Hawkins Lab that ends with the Big Bad's death - if Kali, expect El to be emotionally devastated by this. The crisis will seemingly be averted, but the massive expenditure of psychic energy just enough for the Mind Flayer to shove a proverbial finger into our world...

The Demogorgons were once sentient
The Demogorgon species used to have a society parallel to humanity (thus explaining all those abandoned vehicles and buildings in the upside-down) before the Mind Flayer came and enslaved them all. Generations under the Mind Flayer's Demonic Possession caused the Demogorgon race to eventually degrade into mindless beasts.

In order to stop the Mind Flayer, our heroes will have to find the other experiment subjects
El is Eleven and Kali is Eight, so there had to have at least been a Nine and Ten between them, not to mention the seven who must of preceded Kali. Granted, it would be pretty unbelievable if the lab managed to lose all of the others before the series began, so some may of just died in various ways. But it would be a missed opportunity if all of them were gone.

Martin Brenner is planning on building an army.
An army of psychics like Eleven. He plans to ignite World War III. It turns out he's an Ozymandias-like Well-Intentioned Extremist who realizes war is inevitable, so he intends to make sure America wins.
  • One thing is certain, the Russians are also trying to open a portal to the Upside Down in Season 3.

Martin Brenner will return in season 3 as The Corruptor.
He'll easily sway some of the most unpleasant characters to his advantage, like Billy Hargrove, Lonnie Byers, and Troy. He'll also try to break the Party, since it's beginning to fall apart at the end of season 2, one of the reasons being Max's inclusion of the Party (Mike doesn't want her in, and Eleven still doesn't like her even if she knows she wasn't stealing him). During the middle of the season, The Fellowship Has Ended, but will come back together near the end of the season.
  • Jossed. Brenner isn't even mentioned. Additionally, Max and El mend their differences, and she's fully welcomed into the Party in season 3.

Ted and Karen Wheeler will be divorced between seasons 2 and 3.
Karen will be better off, while Ted couldn't really care less.
  • Jossed. Karen decides it's not worth throwing her marriage away for a quick thrill, and even seems to make a renewed effort to engage more with Ted as a family throughout the season.

The Mrs. Robinson thing with Karen and Billy will be completely ignored going forward.
Rendering it absolutely pointless. Or you could go off the above theory about the Wheelers divorcing and Karen starts boinking a high school student.
  • Jossed. Karen is tempted to have an affair with him in the season 3 opener, but ultimately declines.

Brenner will return in Season 3, but he'll be heavily crippled, à la Davros
Given that he was last seen being attacked by the Demogorgon, and that he's been confirmed to be alive, it's obvious that he wouldn't get out of the fiasco with the Demogorgon unscathed.
  • Jossed, he doesn't appear nor mentioned at all in Season 3. But there's a possibility that he's the American prisoner (see below).

The Demogorgon(s) and Demodogs will not feature in Season 3, except in flashbacks.
Because that would make things far too formulaic. Instead, the fragment of The Mind Flayer that left Will is trapped in our world with no access to its main body or its army of monsters, and must seek new ways to bring the hell that is the Upside-Down to our world. Suggestions anyone?
  • Confirmed. We only see the Demodogs in a few flashbacks. As for the Demogorgon, we don't see much of the first one, however The Stinger reveals the Soviets have managed to capture one.

Terry will play a part in defeating the Mind Flayer
Dustin's explanation of the Mind Flayer includes the idea that fighting it requires zombies, because they lack minds that it can control. Thanks to Brenner's torture, the poor woman's brain is fried beyond help. Mind Flayer might attempt to take control of Eleven, only to be thwarted by a psychic link between El and Terry that was never completely severed. Terry will sacrifice herself to save her daughter and deal the monster a crippling blow, and in her last moments will regain enough clarity to tell her goodbye.

In Season 3 we'll find out that Alternate Bob The Brain is the only survivor in the Upside Down
Bob is a fan favorite, he's smart, resourceful, and it'd be a neat call-back to "he's dead, but this other twin him is not dead" thing seen in a lot of old shows and comic books.
  • Jossed. We've still yet to meet any actual people from the Upside Down.

Ted Wheeler: Papa Wolf
The detached demeanor Ted presents is merely a show. He's got a slow fuse because he actually has a ferocious temper, and he's deliberately aloof to keep it in check. However someone is eventually going to push him too far by threatening his family, and he's going to unleash holy hell on them to protect his loved ones.

Nancy and Jonathan will be the lead plot drivers for season 3
Given what's been said by the creators that Will will be getting a break in season 3, it'd make sense for Nancy to become one of the leaders. It's been seen on set that Nancy has a scene meeting Joyce and Hopper at work in town and talking to them, that might imply that Nancy leads the story more this time. She never has talked to the two adult leads before in the show really.
  • Jossed. Billy, who has been taken over by the Mind Flayer, is ultimately the driving force of the season, while the Soviets' attempts to reopen the Gate provide the remainder of the conflict. As in previous seasons, much of the story remains a balanced ensemble piece, with each set of characters following their own piece of the plot which ultimately come together to establish the full context.

There will be an homage to Back to the Future
Season 3 will very likely take place in 1985.
  • Confirmed, it takes place in 1985 and the Starcourt Mall theater is showing Back to the Future in one episode.

The Mind Flayer hasn't been banished entirely
The part of the Mind Flayer that was inhabiting Will escaped, but we never saw what ultimately became of it as it fled. We didn't see it rejoining its main body, and it wasn't confirmed whether it was destroyed when the Gate was closed. So that part of it may still be out there...waiting.
  • Confirmed in Season 3.

In Season 3 the Mind Flayer will find a new host...
  • Billy. It may see a kindred spirit in Billy's rage, and perhaps rather than attempting to dominate him as it did with Will, (which led to its expulsion and defeat in season 2) the Mind Flayer will instead insinuate itself by tempting him.
    • Confirmed.
  • Kali. Much like Billy, Kali is a woman with a lot of rage and anger, and the Mind Flayer will see that as useful and easy to manipulate. Her connection to Eleven, who it now realizes presents a direct threat to its plans, also makes her a useful means of attacking her.
  • Terry Ives. With her mind broken, and her sister mostly out of the loop, she would make the ideal host. She would also be a potent weapon against El. First, her powers are similar, allowing the Mind Flayer to combat her directly from a more level playing field. Perhaps that's what actually draws it to Terry in the first place: It's looking for El, and finds Terry instead. That Terry is her mother would be a powerful means of attacking El emotionally.
    • Jossed, new host is Billy.

Will Gains Powers
Will's experiences in the Upside-Down and with the Mind Flayer will lead to him actually developing powers of his own.
  • Confirmed: Will is able to sense the presence of the Mind Flayer even when no one else can.

A Serial Killer will terrorize Hawkins in season 3
Aside from Hopper, Hawkins's police force is rather incompetent. It's a small town with relatively small problems until the beginning of the series. The media circus surrounding Will's disappearance and The Barb Tape would certainly attract a few weirdoes to the say the least, and would be an interesting Outside-Context Problem; instead of an interdimensonal monster or shadowy government agency, it's just a run of the mill mad man with a fondness for violence. Or, even more plausible, (s)he is another subject of Brenner's experiments, driven insane in the process. (S)he escaped, and possibly senses Eleven's presence in Hawkins, and has a connection to The Mind Flayer.
  • Jossed...and yet also confirmed in round-about fashion: While Billy doesn't actively kill anyone, he nonetheless kidnaps as many as thirty people to deliver them to the Mind Flayer. The Mind Flayer in turn effectively "kills" its victims by taking over their bodies and overwriting their personalities, and eventually kills them altogether to create its own body.

The Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion will be a central plot point of season 5
And I say season 5 since it would very likely be set in 1987. The hacker was one of Brenner's experiments who has the ability to project his thoughts onto broadcast signals. His nonsensical ramblings are a series of clues for the Party to solve. Alternatively, it could be a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the event the real hacker comes forward or gets arrested by then.

The rats seen in the Season 3 trailer will grow to unusual size.
The main characters will be unable to convince the Mayor that they exist.
  • Partly Jossed. The rats are the first bits of biological matter the Mind Flayer uses to create its weapon against Eleven, but the Mayor is not connected to this part of the plot.

The Starcourt Mall opening is the Back to the Future tie-in.
Many people have noticed in the trailers shots of people appearing to protest what looks to be the Mayor of the town. However, what they are really protesting is the opening of the Starcourt Mall. This is the tie-in for Back to the Future. For those that don't get it, here it is: in the Hill Valley courthouse square in 1985, you can see a lot of stores and buildings are closed up. When Marty goes back to the 1950s, we can see these places used to be active back before the Twin Pines/Lone Pone Mall opened. In an interview, Bob Gale stated that the downtown area looks the way it does is that a lot of the shops had to close up because of the opening of the Mall. Now, putting it in context of the show, we've seen a lot of the stores in downtown Hawkins, including Joyce's place of work, are typical of small towns. With the opening of Starcourt Mall, the community fears that it will lead to the smalltown shops close up.
  • Confirmed. One of the films being played at the mall is Back to the Future.

Robin is Murray Bauman's daughter.
Brett Gelman has said that Murray's backstory is that his pursuit of the Barb case estranged him from his family, specifically a daughter, and one of the few new characters this season is a young girl with no given last name, combined with Murray confirmed as teaming up with the other parents, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think he moved to Hawkins after reconnecting with his kid.
  • Apparently Jossed. Robin does have a secret, but it's that she's gay. Robin and Murray interact in the "The Battle of Starcourt," but there's no indication they know each other.

The final season will end with a 10+ year Time Skip
To both show how the lives of the surviving characters turn out in the long run and give the show a definitive conclusion.
  • Possible futures for the characters could include...
    • Mike and Eleven are happily married with a little girl who may or may not have inherited her mother's powers.
    • Nancy is an award winning investigative reporter and is married to Johnathan.

The American's Identity
In The Stinger at the end of season 3, the Russians are holding a prisoner whom we never see, and is only referred to as "the American," right before another prisoner is fed to a fully-grown Demogorgon. The American is:
  • Jim Hopper. We never see his body after the Gate is closed, since it conveniently vaporizes any human in range, nor do we actually see him hit by the energy discharge. The surviving Russians apparently managed to clear out before Owens arrived with reinforcements, so it's possible they could have captured and removed him in the chaos. And he knows enough about the Upside Down and its inhabitants to be useful.
  • Doctor Brenner. The Soviets had to learn about the Gate from someone to try reopening it again.
  • Another of the Hawkins Lab's child subjects.
  • Murray Bauman. We never find out what he gets up to at the end of Season 3. And really, what are the chances that Hopper wasn't vapourized by the Gate Key blowing up? So chances are that Murray is the one the Russians captured and are now holding prisoner.
    • This appears to be Jossed as we clearly see Bauman is among the survivors of the battle's aftermath. No, we don't see him after the 3-month time skip, but the Russians had cleared out by the time Owens arrived, and Murray was still accounted for at the time. Also, make of it what you will, but if you dial his phone number given on the show you'll get an machine with a message from after the time skip, which implies he's still around.

The Mind Flayer Still Isn't Dead
This may not be a "wild" guess, but the part of the Mind Flayer we see in Season 3 is the surviving fragment expelled from Will in Season 2, and we already know that only that fragment appears to have made it into our world. The rest of the Mind Flayer is still in the Upside Down, and is now even madder.

Season 4 will be in comic book form.

The Mind Flayer will retaliate with full force via a "Plan B" of sorts in Season 4 - creating an even bigger, stronger, more destructive monster of its own by melting larger animals.

Chernobyl is coming
It’s 1985 as of season 3, and likely 1986 next season. The Soviets are now involved, and their Upside Down experiments require messing with power plants...maybe we’re about to find out the Stranger Things version of Chernobyl was even worse than in reality...
  • Additionally, since the three previous seasons took place in autumn, winter, and summer respectively, that leaves spring for season four. The Chernobyl accident was in late April. They may also reference the Challenger accident, which happened in February.

Karen will join the party in season 4
With Hopper presumed dead and Joyce moved away, Karen is the only major adult character left who the kids might be able to turn to. Time will tell whether she'll be able to step up to the plate and deal with the supernatural situations as well as the rest of them.

Alternatively, Mr. Clarke will join the party
He's already an established Ensemble Dark Horse and he has a bond with the boys.

Personality Fragments
The Mind Flayer will demonstrate that it retains fragments of the personalities of those it Flayed. In particular, it will use parts from Billy to torment Max.

The Soviets have their own "Eleven"
Alexei said that the Soviets' previous attempt to open the portal failed because they had to use the "key" in a place where the portal had already been open once. But how was Hawking's portal opened in the first place? Not by a large machine, but, unwittingly, by Eleven when she was prisoner in the lab and forced to use her powers. So how did the Soviets end up with a Demogorgon in the stinger? Because someone with similar powers managed to open a new portal on soviet's soil.
  • This seems to be Jossed by the series already; among the equipment the Soviets have in their base under Starcourt Mall are cages. Big cages. Cages Erica appears to notice would be exactly the right size to capture a fully-grown Demogorgon. So it's most likely they captured their Demogorgon while in Hawkins, probably because the Soviets' Gate was open just enough to capture one.
  • It's also possible more than one Demogorgon slipped through the original Gate after Eleven opened it. Maybe there wasn't a fully realized Gate in Russia for the Soviets to exploit, but the fabric was still weak enough for a Demogorgon to break through.

Theories on how Eleven will get her powers back
  • She will go to Kali to see if she knows anything about it.
  • Brenner will return and offer her a way to restore them.
  • She will spend most of Season 4 without them only for a situation to arise that pushes her beyond her limits (possibly Mike being in imminent mortal danger) causing them to return with a vengeance.

The final season will end with a 5 year time skip and a wedding between Mike and Eleven.
Assuming they stay together and survive the series it's entirely possible for Mike and Eleven to get married early especially since they know better then most that tragedy can strike at any time and there is no point in putting off something they both want to do, plus a wedding would be a good excuse to get the surviving members of the cast together and take a look at what they ultimately end up doing with their lives and a five year time skip is small enough that they would not need to cast other people to play older versions of the characters for the most part.

Alexei lives
Either that or someone picked up his corpse, because it seems like it would be hard for the news to ignore that the corpse of a dead Russian scientist was found in a town fair during the Red Scare.

The Byers and Eleven are only moving a few towns away.
Considering that Mike and Eleven can talk about and arrange monthly visits (a confirmed one for Thanksgiving and early talk of one for Christmas), it is unlikely that the Biers are moving more then a few hours drive away.

Mikhail Gorbachev (or at least an Expy of him) will appear in season 4.

The Soviets' Demogorgon is an adolescent.
It looks like the Duffers brought a picture of the Party in their Season 3 '80s summer clothes to the creature shop and said; "Make it like this, but with a Demogorgon face".

Scoops Ahoy's entire theme, branding, decor and even their business was designed starting with the sailor suits and working backwards.
Another meta-guess here; the thought process was probably "what's the most humiliating costume we can put on Steve, that won't be too restrictive of his movement (so, mascot costumes are out)?" It's clearly not well-thought out as a business model, someone looking at it from across the mall (or, assuming it's a chain, a storefront location from the street) the nautical theming could lead people to mistake it for a seafood restaurant.

Will is gay, and his sexuality will be addressed further in season 4.
In season 1 his father and kids at school bully him for being "different" in some way he doesn't really understand. In season 2 he's clearly internalized it, sadly calling himself a freak. It's in season 3 he realizes why he's different. When he tells his mom he's never going to fall in love his tone wasn't self-pitying or angry, like someone complaining all his friends have girlfriends and he still hasn't found one yet. It wasn't casual or matter-of-fact, like someone who doesn't care. It was curt, brusque, the way you speak when you badly need to talk about something but don't feel like you can.

And then, of course, the famous garage scene with Mike. The look of complete despair and quiet horror on Will's face is worth a thousand words. He's practically screaming "oh god, not you too." It's when the one person you thought wouldn't judge you, who might accept you, who you might be able to tell someday betrays you without even knowing it. Whether he had a crush on Mike or not is irrelevant, he's just had his heart broken.

He then destroys Castle Byers, the one place he can be himself, and rips up the pictures of his friends. Why? Because he thinks he's been fooling himself, that he has no real friends and that he'll never really be able to be himself anywhere. The crushing weight of what is, to Will, a shameful secret has isolated him so much in his own head that he can't see that he's not actually alone at all. His friends and family would all be completely supportive of him and accept and love him no matter what. They fought a monster and went to an alternate dimension for him!

Doctor Brenner has a Nazi scientist past.

I was surprised I couldn't find it in the discussion on this site, but it jumped on me when I saw the drawing of 11 and "Papa". Now Wikipedia claims that while Papa is in some circles fashionable in the US nowadays, it probably wasn't so in the 1980s unless you had a Central European family connection.Additionally, Martin Brenner would make a perfectly normal German name (Brenner meaning Burner, but also being an Austrian/Italian border town). Matthew Modine was about 56 during production of season 1, so this would set Brenner's year of birth to the mid 1920s. Too young to be a target of Operation Paperclip, but perhaps being brought along by a mentor shortly after the war. Besides not being one for long speeches, having spent most of his adult life in the US would have allowed him to not talk with a strong accent any more.So this would be a case of "Herr Doktor".

Steve will try to be Robin's wingman.

To compensate for the fact that Robin seems shy about actively pursuing other girls, and Steve still considers himself a casanova, he'll decide Robin could use his help in this particular field. And he will be both A. extremely enthusiastic and B. absolutely, hilariously terrible at it.

The carnival games weren't rigged.

Carnival games almost always being rigged is generally considered common knowledge in real life. And Murray also warns Alexei that the games are rigged. But Alexei still sees people winning, and is himself able to score a jumbo-sized prize with only 15 tickets (quite possibly less).

Knowing how obsessed he was with making sure everyone enjoyed the carnival enough to reelect him, Kline probably slipped the game organizers a bribe or two to make sure the games were winnable enough for everyone to have a good time.

Season 4 will have at least one Shout-Out to Dead by Daylight

It could by a passing reference to the Entity, the mention of Dwight Fairfield or the Legion, comparing a place to Autohaven Wreckers, Nancy or Steve throwing a large pallet down on someone, or the two of them suddenly being uneasy around large hooks.

Rick Sanchez and possibly Ford Pines have been to the Upside Down

Rick learned everything about the Upside Down there is to learn about. He easily could have saved the Stranger Things-verse from the Flayer without the help of some crazy girl, but of course, he's a selfish asshole. He may have used DNA from its inhabitants as part of the DNA cocktail that help create the Cronenberging. One of Ford's journals included drawings resembling the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer.

The Upside Down can be accessed through the Bleed
And inhabitants of the WildStorm Universe have probably traveled there, at least once.

The monsters from the movie Xtro came from the Upside Down, not outer space
It makes a fair amount of sense if you think about it.

The Upside Down is the way it is because all the Youkai were exorcised.
Whoever did it didn't realize that Youkai are nature spirits and have to exist in order for the world to not die. Either all the Youkai were destroyed or there were some survivors, but the point is enough Youkai disappeared to make the Upside Down decay like that. The Mind Flayer might be the exorcist who did it, cursed because of what they did. The Demogorgons were either created by the Mind Flayer or they used to be regular humans and animals but because they weren't enough Youkai, they were corrupted.

The demogorgon seen in the mid-credits scene is actually a transformed Billy.
We already know that the Mindflayer has some sort of hive-mind control over the demodogs, and this is likely true for demogorgons as well (assuming the former isn't just the adolescent version of the latter), and in season 3 we see the Mindflayer is able to shape and reform human flesh into a variety of things. Maybe, as it impaled Billy, it implanted something in him that transformed him or his corpse into a demogorgon. It could have multiple reasons for doing this; maybe he was too powerful an asset to waste and this would make him easier to control, or maybe it's just what the Mindflayer does when it can't use humans for as meat puppets, but regardless, this could explain why the Russians were able to find a demogorgon despite the gate being closed: they came across the body/corpse mid transformation and brought it back to Mother Russia for study. In addition, this could explain what the nasty slug thing it implanted into Eleven's leg was meant to do, and what would have happened to her if it wasn't removed.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: