Stranger Things Thessalhydra

We’re only a few days away from the release of Stranger Things 2, and an old fan theory has been given new life thanks to last week’s second and final trailer for the new season of the supernatural series. In the show’s first season, the kids’ Dungeons & Dragons game foreshadowed their interactions with creatures like the Demogorgon, and if you recall, season one ends with them reuniting on Christmas Eve and playing D&D one more time in the closing minutes of the eighth episode. Did the events of that game predict what will happen in season 2? Read on to explore the Stranger Things Thessalhydra theory.

stranger things season 2 shadow monster

The Thessalhydra theory

As far as I can tell, this theory (which has received a lot of attention on Reddit) originated with a Pajiba article from September 2016 which detailed the history of the Thessalhydra, a multi-headed creature that appears as the final obstacle in the kids’ second D&D game, and predicted that it would be the major antagonist in season 2. The monster itself is similar to the hydra from Greek mythology: it has multiple heads, and if one is sliced off, the creature can still survive. Hercules fought the hydra, but couldn’t defeat it alone; each time he sliced off one of the beast’s heads, two more grew back in its place. Eventually his nephew comes up with the answer: the neck stumps must be burned before another head can grow back. It’s illustrates the power and importance of teamwork, something that could very well come into play in Stranger Things 2.

The Pajiba piece points out that while the Thessalhydra shares some similarities with the hydra of Greek mythology, it’s a character specifically designed for Dungeons & Dragons; it proliferates by infecting hosts with larvae, which is exactly what happens to Will Byers after his time spent in the Upside Down (season 1 ends with him spitting up a slug into his sink). Crucially, the article also points out rumors of the Thessalhydra being designed within the game, not normally existing in nature. That hints at the idea that the creature could have been created by Dr. Martin Brenner or another of the sketchy Department of Energy employees during their shady testing. The theory is that the Christmas Eve game of D&D predicts what will happen in season 2:

Additional evidence

The theory goes that the Thessalhydra is the multi-tentacled creature that Will sees in his visions in season 2 (it’ll be referred to as the “shadow monster” by the kids), and a new video from Entertainment Tonight expanded on the theory using footage from the newly-released trailer.

Stranger Things Hopper fire

The hosts in the ET video point out that the phrase “It is almost here” appears in both the season 1 D&D scene and in the new trailer, and while they aren’t explicit with this point, they draw a parallel between the fire used to scorch the hydra’s neck stumps and imagery we’ve seen of Sheriff Jim Hopper suited up inside Hawkins Lab. Has he been the one wielding the flamethrower in the footage we’ve seen? It’s tough to tell for certain, but if he is, it seems like those skills could be incredibly useful in taking down this season’s version of the Thessalhydra. Elsewhere in the trailer, we see him tossing a shotgun to Nancy Wheeler and standing in a defensive position with the kids, so teamwork doesn’t appear to be a problem for them after what they all went through in season 1.

ST2 tbd 20

In my breakdown of the trailer, I theorized that the kids (including Steve Harrington and the new girl, Max) were rolling these barrels into place to prepare for an explosion. The idea that they’d be using them as fuel for a fire to take down the Thessalhydra makes sense, especially if they use Hopper’s flamethrower skills to ignite it.

In the new trailer, Mike Wheeler says, “If anyone know how to destroy this thing, it’s Will.” To bring it back to season one, Will’s character in the D&D game uses a “fireball” to vanquish the creature, so it seems like a lot of pieces are falling into place for this theory to come true.

Stranger Things tentacle

For one more piece of “evidence,” this shot from the trailer of the shadow monster’s tentacles reaching out over a field (possibly at a tiny Will in the bottom left corner?) aligns with Mike’s description of the creature’s “clawed hand reach[ing] for you one last time.”

Lingering questions

But what about the dangling threads left in the D&D game – “the Lost Knight,” “the Proud Princess,” and “those weird flowers in the cave”? Was that just a clever commentary by series creators the Duffer Brothers about how TV shows often don’t resolve every single plot point they introduce, or was that also foreshadowing for season 2?

As far as I can tell, here are the clearest possibilities for who (or what) could represent those titles.

The Lost Knight could be Eleven (lost in the Upside Down, imbued with powers used to defeat her enemies), Hopper (lost in his attempt to find meaning in the world, a noble force looking to do good), or maybe Will (was also lost in the Upside Down, could be trying to vanquish new foes).

The Proud Princess might be Eleven – though I sort of hope not – so my guess is that title will go to Max, the new female character, who’s been described as headstrong and tough.

As for “the weird flowers in the cave,” that might be the eggs Hopper found in the Upside Down, or, as the ET hosts suggest in their video, it might have something to do with Dustin holding a bouquet of red flowers in the season 2 trailer and a shot of the kids appearing in a tunnel that resembles a cave.

Stranger Things flowers

ST2 tbd 23

And does the 1983 adventure module Ravenloft have anything to do with what we’re about to see? (Check out this piece for more speculation about that.)

So what do you think? Do you buy the Thessalhydra theory? Or do you think this is all just overanalyzing the text past the point of believability?

Stranger Things 2 arrives on Netflix on October 27, 2017.

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