All Of Your 'Stranger Things' Questions Answered (To Some Extent)

Netflix's latest television series Stranger Things is filled with mystery and leaves viewers with many fun questions. Having just binge-watched my way through the first season post-Comic Con, I found myself searching the web to obtain some answers. What follows is a list of 11 questions (eleven? how appropriate) and the possible answers compiled from quotes fro  many interviews with showrunners/writers/directors The Duffer Brothers and producer Shawn Levy, and we also dive into some fan theories from various forums. In addition to your burning Stranger Things questions, we take a look at what season two of the series might bring. Are you ready?

Warning: Extensive spoilers for Stranger Things follows. If you have not finished watching the series, please do not continue.

Also, the header image is cropped from a now-sold-out limited edition Stranger Things print created by Matt Ferguson.

Dr. Brenner from Stranger Things

What exactly Is Dr. Brenner experimenting with In Hawkins Lab? Is Dr. Martin Brenner Still Live?

At first, it appears that they are using Eleven to spy on some Russian guy, but the hole to the Upside Down opens, and all hell breaks lose. So is the group at Hawkins Lab actually a secret military group working to uncover Soviet secrets? Sounds reasonable for the 1980's. Or was their ultimate plan to open a portal to this other dimension. If so, what were they hoping to achieve? Maybe they wanted to catch the Demogorgon and use it as a weapon of war?

We do know that the Duffer Brothers have an explanation for all of it. Matt Duffer told The Huffington Post that they "have a lot more backstory built in" for Brenner and Eleven.

"Every time that we were writing scenes in the Hawkins Lab, we wanted to stop writing them, just because it seemed like we wanted to experience as much of it as possible in the present day and through the eyes of our ordinary characters. We just wanted to leave that as mysterious as possible."

As for Dr. Brenner's fate – Last time we see Dr. Martin Brenner, he is about to be killed by the demagorgon which is rampaging through the school. But the camera cut away, and we never are told of his fate. Was he killed in this encounter? You would think so, right? When French-language movie news site Premiere asked actor Matthew Modine, about the future of the series, he smiled and said:  "Oh, there will be a season two." While this is nothing definitive, I guess that at very least Modine will reprise his role as Dr. Brenner in flashbacks.

We should find out more about Hawkins Lab in season 2. I expect this will happen in a way similar to how the Dharma Initiative was explored in Lost. Matt also told IGN that the idea of Season 2 is "going back to the laboratory and [pulling] back the curtain a little bit. Maybe they brought someone new in. It's not as evil and mysterious as it was in Season 1. We might start to get into what they're doing a little more."

Stranger Things Eleven 11

Who Is Eleven? Was There Ten More Before Her? Do More Superpowered Children Exist?

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) gets her name from the "011" tattoo on her arm, and I think it's reasonable to assume that she may be Dr. Brenner's 11th test subject. There were likely other pregnant mothers involved in Dr. Brenner's drug experiments, and I'm sure that resulted in more children as part of this program. But if so, what happened to the previous test subjects? We don't see any evidence that other children are being held for experiments at Hawkins Lab, not to say that means there aren't any. But you'd think that if there were other superpowered children in their custody, they might have used them in their recovery of Eleven.

Eleven calls Dr. Brenner her "Papa," and we know that he supervised the drug study that probably gave Eleven her super powers, so in a way, he is a part of her creation. But is Brenner literally Eleven's father? If not, who is? Perhaps a real father is looking for her?

Stranger Things: 11 vs the monster

Is Eleven Still Alive? What Happened To Her?

The climax of Stranger Things involved Eleven sacrificing herself to kill the monster. At this moment she disappears from out existence, but is she gone forever? Later in the episode we see Hopper leaving leftovers and Eggos for her in a concealed box in the woods. Does this mean Eleven is still alive? The scene is presented as if he had dropped food off for her previously, which means that someone has been eating those waffles.

Is Eleven stuck back in the Upside Down or caught somewhere in the In Between? Ross Duffer tells IGN that they wanted to leave it "purposefully ambiguous."

"The goal was to make it as complicated as possible and really tear them apart at the end of that season, to make things much more difficult."

But Matt Duffer teases that we'll probably see more of Elle in Season 2, stating "The great thing about having a portal to another dimension is that you're not boxed in, narratively." Over at Variety Matt gives a bit more:

Obviously something happened to her when she destroyed and killed that monster and we don't know where she went. Hopper is left with this guilt because he sold her out. We wanted to leave it sort of mysterious exactly what he knows... Have there been sightings in the woods or is he hoping she's out there or has he already made contact with her? We don't answer any of that, but we like the idea of potentially putting her and Hopper together.

I kind of love the idea of a Hopper/Eleven buddy adventure storyline.

stranger things: hopper's daughter

Was Hopper's Dead Daughter's Stuffed Animal In The Upside Down?

When Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is looking for Will in the Upside Down, he comes across a stuffed animal that many people believe to be the same stuffed animal that Hopper's daughter had before she died of cancer. It also looks to be a similar stuffed animal as the one Eleven has in Hawkins Lab. So why do all three characters have the stuffed tiger/lions?  Could Hopper's daughter somehow be alive in the Upside Down? Remember at one point the science teacher said there were multiple other dimensions including one where Will Meyer's death didn't happen. I'm just not buying this theory. Also, I'm not sure why Hopper's daughter would be in the Upside Down especially since she died of cancer well before the portal to that dimension was opened.

Some fans have theorized that it's just a coincidence, pointing out that the tiger was the Hawkins school mascot. But I'm not sure that makes sense as Hopper didn't live in Hawkins when his daughter was alive, he lived in "the big city." He moved to Hawkins after her death.

While a Tiger stuffed animal is probably pretty standard, it seems weird to me that the Duffer Brothers would make this detail consistent if it didn't mean something more.

Symbolically, CreatureThePirate points out that the stuffed animal could represent "bravery in the face of constant danger."

The lion in The Wizard of Oz was missing his courage, when he should innately have it as a lion. When the lion appears in the show it signifies the immense courage the character it belonged to showed.El had the lion and was brave and strong in the face of Brenner and the Upside Down. Will had the lion and was strong being alone in the Upside Down against the monster. The lion behind Nancy and Jonathan at Hawkins Middle is shown right before they show courage and head to the police station to get the materials to fight the monster. The lion is with Hopper and Sarah to show how they were both strong against the sickness and Hopper continues to be strong in order to find Will and bring him back.

Also remember that Nancy mentions that the monster hunts at night like a lion or tiger, only not in packs but alone, like a bear.

Stranger Things Barb dead

Why Was Will Able To Survive The Upside Down But Barb Wasn't?

Will was snatched into the Upside Down well before Barb (Shannon Purser) was taken, but he survived and she did not. As Jonathan points out, Will is great at hiding. Matt Duffer explained to The Huffington Post that while Barb tried and failed to escape, Will survived because he was sneakier.

"He was able to hide. He goes, initially, to that cubby in Episode 3 inside the Byers' house, which is why Joyce is able to communicate with him. We had this whole backstory for what Will is doing, but we don't see it all."

Barb's disappearance was neatly explained with the government-orchestrated discovery of her car at a bus station. We see her death in the Upside Down, but the whole world knows nothing about her fate. The Duffer Brothers have promised that in Season 2 "there will be some Barb talk. Don't worry. She will not be forgotten so easily."

As for why Will wasn't dead in the monster's nest in the final episodes, Ross Duffer explains:

"It's more like the monster bringing him back to the net, which is why Hopper and Joyce are able to distract Will into being held in this net like a spider caught in its web. He's brought there by the monster for eating later. Is he there for other reasons? We don't know. We have ideas."

Which brings us to....

Stranger Things ending

Has Will Been Changed By His Experience In The Upside Down?

At the conclusion of the series, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp ) is returned home to his family, and everything seems to be perfect until he begins coughing at dinner. In the bathroom, Will coughs up what looks like a piece of the alien-like monster, which crawls down the sink drain. He then experiences a quick lapse where he appears to flash into the Upside Down, before returning to our world. There are a few questions at play here. Did the monster contaminate Will while he was in the Upside Down? Is he turning into one of the monsters we saw? Is he okay?

Ross Duffer talked about the effect the Upside Down has on Will in his chat with Variety:

We love the idea that [the Upside Down] is an environment that is not a great place for a human being to be living in. Will's been there for an entire week, and it's had some kind of effect on him, both emotionally and perhaps physically. The idea is he's escaped this nightmare place, but has he really? That's a place we wanted to go and potentially explore in season two. What effect does living in there for a week have on him? And what has been done to him? It's not good, obviously.

But not just what effect did it have on Will, Ross hinted that all of the characters who traveled to the Upside Down might be affected in his chat with IGN:

"Did that affect anyone else?" Ross said. Matt added, "Three of our other characters were in there. They took off their helmets. Nancy was in there too."

There is also the question of what was that thing that came out of Will's mouth? It looks to be a living creature, the same slug-like creature we saw coming out of Barb's dead mouth in the Upside Down. The creature is now apparently living somewhere in the sewer system in Hawkins Indiana. I imagine Stranger Things season 2 will explore monsters now inside the real world plumbing system, leading to a sequence which will give me more nightmares than the Ghoulies II toilet scene (I still have problems going number two in a dark bathroom at night).

Stranger Things eggs

What Was That Egg Hopper Discovered In The Upside Down?

While searching the Upside Down for Will, Hopper comes across something that looks like a hatched egg, very reminiscent of the hatched eggs from the Aliens films. Are there other monsters lurking in the Upside Down? The Duffer Brothers have said that the monster we've seen in season one is one of a kind. They know "where this monster actually came from, and why aren't there more monsters." So was that egg the origins of the Demogorgon? And where does the egg come from if there isn't a mother monster to birth it?

Unfortunately, I have not found one instance of the Duffer Brothers talking or asked about the egg other than an article from EW where the directing duo only reaffirm that they know the answer:

What the hell was in those yellow eggs? We know the answers to all these questions and more, we promise, but we wanted to keep the mystery alive, to leave the door cracked for potential "sequels."

The only other interesting thing here is that they refer to it as eggs plural rather than egg singular.

Hopper in Stranger Things

Why Did Hopper Get In The Car With The Men?

After recovering Will, we see Jim Hopper get taken away by two men in an unmarked black car. It's notable that Hopper willfully goes with the men, who we assume must be part of the organization that worked in Hawkins Laboratory. We know that Hopper doesn't disappear from Hawkins as we see him back at work at the police station for a Christmas party a month later.  But is Hopper now (secretly) working with the bad guys?

Ross Duffer told IGN that they "want to get into this in the next season."

"The clean up and the mess of all this and Will dying and coming back to life, whatever happened at the school, the dead bodies... This is not a simple clean up job. It's complicated. We have all these characters that know these crazy things happen. Sort of lead by Hopper, our characters are drawn closer to the government; with having to make a deal with the devil."

So presumably this is part of the deal Hopper made with Hawkins Lab in that final episode. But what does the deal entail?

the upside down in Stranger Things

What Is The Upside Down? Will We Ever Learn More About The Monster?

In the show we get a simplified explanation that the Upside Down is another parallel dimension, but why does it exist? We know that the experiments with Eleven opened up the portal to that dimension, but we still don't know much more than that. Also what was the deal with the monster?

Ross Duffer told Variety that they have  "30-page document that is pretty intricate in terms of what it all means, and where this monster actually came from, and why aren't there more monsters" but they ultimately didn't have time to explore it in season one. In season 2 they "would reveal more of that 30-page document, but we'd still want to keep it from the point of view of our original characters."

Matt Duffer explains that everything we know and has learned about the Upside Down is through the kids, and it's all "kind of hypothetical."

"They're theorizing based on their knowledge from fantasy gaming and their science teacher, Mr. Clarke. That's as much as we get to understand it. I think part of it is us thinking in terms of horror, it's scarier when you don't fully understand what's happening. If you were to encounter something from another world or dimension, it would be beyond comprehension. We talked a lot about Clive Barker and his stories. They're very weird, and the weirder it is, the more inexplicable it is, the scarier it is."

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Ross Duffer promises that "moving forward, we're going to get more into detail about the monster and where it came from and what the Upside Down really is." He says that "while we have answers for all this, what we really wanted to get from this first season is that this gate opens to this other dimension." Now that Will has been returned home, "hopefully we get to go back and explore more of this stuff" in the second season.

Stranger Things

How Many Seasons Are Planned For This Story?

It's no secret that Stranger Things was envisioned as a story told over eight episodes. And while The Duffer Brothers would have been happy with just that, they created an extensive bible to build out this world. And now that the show is successful, they will be using that as the basis for season 2. But how much story do they have left to tell? How long will this story possibly go on for? Producer Shawn Levy told us that he's "hopeful to go several more seasons." Here is what The Duffer Brothers told " Collider:

ROSS: We don't know, specifically. We're very wary of making it go on past the point it should. You want to end on a high note. That's the goal. We've had initial discussions, but we haven't quite landed on it.

MATT: It seems hard to imagine it as a seven or eight season series. It just doesn't feel like it could sustain that. At a certain point, it would start to feel ridiculous. And Netflix is also very supportive of that. Regardless of how successful the show is or becomes, they'll want it to end when the story feels like it should end. I don't think they want to milk things to the point where it starts to become stale.

Stranger Things season 2

What Can We Expect From Stranger Things Season 2?

Aside from what has already been stated above, the Duffer Brothers have revealed that season 2 will be a continuation of this story from the viewpoint of our main characters. Producer Shawn Levy told us:

The plan is to continue with this set of characters while introducing a few critical key new ones next season. So I'll just say that a lot of the big mysteries get answered at the end of Season 1, but we are very much kind of unearthing new problems and questions that merit future stories and future investigation in the most enjoyable way. So we are in love with our cast and our characters. Things end up being resolved to some extent at the end of Season 1, but not entirely. And that's why we're so hopeful we get another few seasons to live with these people a little longer.

But the Duffer Brothers prefer to look at it as a "sequel" rather than a "second season."

"Will goes missing is like [when] Carol Anne goes missing in 'Poltergeist' and then you get Carol Anne back," Ross said. "That feels like a movie. In the sequels, you're still following that family as terrible things happen, but it's a different tension and characters are dealing with other things."

The Duffer Brothers told Entertainment Weekly that they are "going to go to rewatch some of our favorite movie sequels of all time.The Empire Strikes Back, Godfather Part II, Aliens, Toy Story 2, Evil Dead 2, and Temple of Doom (underrated!)" in preparation for the second season.

Matt Duffer has said that he wants "retain the tone" but "feel a little different" like all our favorite sequels.

"It's not about just another monster comes and it's a bigger, badder monster. We want it to feel a little bit different, maybe a little bit darker, but still have the sense of fun."  ... "It's going to have a very different structure."

In the first season, Will as taken within the first 10 minutes. The Duffer Brothers have said that we should expect things to ramp up a little bit slower in season 2.  In the first scene with Joyce, she realizes her son is gone.

"We're excited about the idea of... where you can sort of ramp up more and more and more. Where Joyce isn't at an 11 from the beginning."

They have also said that the second season, which has not been written yet, will very likely consist of eight installments, each with a running time of 45 to 55 minutes, just as the first season.

It was their original plan to direct all the episodes of the first season, but they found themselves bogged in the writing and producer Shawn Levy stepped in to direct two of the episodes. They admit they will need to bring in more directors to help them with the second season. I'd love to see some really interesting filmmakers step in to do some of the non-Duffer Brothers-directed episodes.

So there you have it, eleven big questions and all the answers we could find. To say we are excited about Stranger Things season 2 would be an understatement, Please leave your theories in the comments below and let us know if we missed anything.