Stranger Things Season Two: What really happened to Hopper's daughter and did she see the monster?
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things, season one.
Stranger Things, Netflix's eerie horror pastiche that mixes elements of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Carpenter, has been the surprise hit of the summer. Created by the Duffer brothers,it's set in small-town Indiana in 1983, and spins a nostalgic yarn of missing children, psychic phenomena, and things that go bump in the night.
If you’re reading this, then the likelihood is that you’ve made it to the end of season one, with Eleven (Millie B Brown) having just sacrificed herself to defeat the faceless creature, and Will (Noah Schnapp) recovering from his ordeal in the Upside Down. A second series is yet to be officially commissioned by Netflix, but, considering the acclaim the show’s received, it’s surely only a matter of time.
Here, then, is what we know – and what we're hoping to find out – about the (hypothetical) second series:
Is Eleven dead?
Almost certainly not. Yes, she appeared to vaporise herself along with the “demogorgon” with her telekinetic powers, but consider the season’s “One Month Later” coda: Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is seen placing a Tupperware box and an Eggo – the brand of frozen waffle that Eleven loves – in a crate in the woods. Clearly he thinks she’s still about, and co-creator Matt Duffer has all but confirmed this. “Obviously something happened to [Eleven] when she destroyed and killed that monster and we don’t know where she went,” he told Variety. “But we like the idea of potentially putting her and Hopper together.”
What's going to happen to Will?
As we left Will, he was still seeing glimpses of the Upside Down, and was vomiting up alien slugs. “Will’s been [in the Upside Down] for an entire week,” said co-creator Ross Ruffer, “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?”
One theory posits that the tulip-faced monster has somehow managed to turn Will evil, and that he’ll become its human accomplice. Far-fetched, sure, but certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.
Is Papa returning for the new season?
Nefarious Dr Martin Brenner – or "Papa" as Eleven refers to him as – was last seen being attacked by the “demagorgon” as it rampaged through the school. That the camera cut away means we don’t know for sure if he’s been bumped off. It’s unlikely. Speaking to French-language movie news site Premiere, the actor who plays him, Matthew Modine, was convinced that Strangers Things is no one-series wonder. “Oh, there will be a season two,” he said, bluntly. Expect him to be part of it.
Will Eleven and her mother meet at last?
While it's still to be confirmed, it has been strongly implied that the catatonic Terry is Eleven's mother. We're aware that she didn't know she was pregnant when she took part in the lab's mind-control experiments, which included taking vast quantities of LSD. The resulting child, Jane, was "born with abilities... telepathy – you know, s--- you can do with your mind," according to Terry's sister, Becky. Sounds uncannily like Eleven, doesn't it? Perhaps in season two, provided she's not dead, Eleven will be reunited with her (alleged) mother, and together, they'll drop the whole taciturn shtick.
Is the chief playing ball?
The only reason Chief Hopper and Joyce (Winona Ryder), Will’s mother, were allowed to venture into monster-land was because the former vowed that, once they’d come back with the boy, they’d never utter a word about what they’d seen.
In the immediate aftermath, we watched him willingly get into a car with two sinister goons from the Hawkins National Laboratory. But during the season’s closing montage, set a month later, he and Joyce were jovially going about their lives. Is this because they’re honouring their promise? Or has the chief agreed to help the bad guys in some malevolent way?
Was the chief's daughter's death as straightforward as it seems?
Through a series of harrowing flashbacks in the first season, we found out that Hopper's daughter died of cancer, and that his wife then left him. But was it really cancer that killed Sarah? Think back to the scene in the woods in which she looks genuinely petrified and her parents are trying to comfort her – something clearly wasn't right. Perhaps she'd experienced a terrifying telepathic vision. Or maybe she'd caught a glimpse of the monster. Whatever it was that spooked her, it seems plausible that it may have brought on her illness.
Where did the monster come from?
Looking like a horrid hybrid of The Predator and the xenomorph from Alien, the “demagorgon” spent the first season terrorising a select few from the town of Hawkins. But has it always been skulking around these parts? Ross Duffer recently confirmed that a second season will tackle its origins story. “With the Upside Down,” he said, “we have a 30-page document that is pretty intricate in terms of what it all means, and where this monster actually came from, and why there aren’t more monsters.”
What happened to the other 10?
We're still none the wiser as to where Eleven's name comes from. Is she a clone? Is she the 11th person to have exhibited telekinetic powers at the Hawkins Lab? Maybe Brenner is just fond of the number and the way it rolls off the tongue. Who knows? According to Matt Duffer, though, we can expect "a lot more backstory built in for Brenner and Eleven".
What about Barb?
Nancy's geeky friend is definitely dead, explained Matt Duffer. "With the first episode we wanted someone to die very quickly – which was the Benny character [the cook played by Chris Sullivan] – someone set up who looks like a substantial character and dies. And then Barb who looks like a substantial character. We wanted it to feel unsafe. Shannon Purser who played Barb, we fell in love with her. She had never acted before – this was her first role in anything. She blew us and everyone away. It was sad to lose her, but some people have to go." Poor Barb.