Stranger Things Theory: The Original Demogorgon Is Still Alive

Before Stranger Things introduced viewers to eldritch horrors like the Mind Flayer or bogeymen like Vecna, the primary creature menacing Hawkins was the Demogorgon. Like all the show’s creatures, it was inspired by an iconic horror movie — in this case, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic Jaws. As the Duffer Brothers described it, “When the monster enters our dimension, it’s like a shark breaching the water. Very much like a shark, it drags its prey back into its home, where it feeds.” The Demogorgon killed many in Hawkins before Eleven and the Party managed to trap it and kill it. However, given what we’ve learned of Eleven’s powers since then, it’s entirely possible that the monster is still alive.

In Stranger Things’ first season finale, “The Upside Down,” Dr. Brenner and his soldiers from the Hawkins Lab finally track down the Party, which is hiding out at Hawkins Middle School. Eleven manages to defend them from the attack, but soon enough she exhausts herself, and the group is captured. However, the scent of the blood from all the people Eleven killed attracts the Demogorgon, who enters the school and massacres the remaining soldiers while Eleven, Mike, Dustin and Lucas hide out in their science classroom. Eventually, Eleven uses the last of her strength to vaporize the monster, seemingly killing it, but causing Eleven to suddenly disappear.

Flashbacks during Season 2 revealed what happened to Eleven afterwards. In the episode, “Trick or Treat, Freak,” we see that she wound up in the Upside Down and evaded the Lab soldiers before returning to the real world and going into hiding. In addition to expanding Eleven’s powers to include the ability to open interdimensional portals, the scene implicitly serves to question the Demogorgon’s fate. If Eleven could vanish without a trace into the Upside Down, then it’s feasible that she brought the Demogorgon with her.

Even seeing the monster get disintegrated into ash might not be enough to confirm its death. In the Season 4 episode, “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab,” we see Eleven’s history with Henry Creel, an orderly at the Lab who was secretly One, the first of the psychic children Dr. Brenner experimented on. After Eleven removed a device implanted in Henry to dampen his powers, he got his revenge on Brenner by murdering all the other kids in his care. Henry offered Eleven a place at his side as he razed the world, but she refused, and the two fought. Their battle ended when Eleven, drawing on memories of her mother for strength, seemingly killed Henry.

Except she didn’t. Henry was actually thrown into the Upside Down, where he remained for years, using his powers to reshape the dimension into the Hawkins of his youth. Over time, the eldritch energies and toxic atmosphere of the Upside Down mutated Henry, turning him into Vecna and setting the stage for the events of the whole series. Henry’s “death” at Hawkins Lab was made to look identical to that of the Demogorgon, and if he could survive the attack, then so could it.

What the Demogorgon’s return to the fold could mean for Stranger Things is unknown. As we learned from the Mind Flayer, all creatures of the Upside Down are connected by a hive mind and if the Demogorgon came back, it would likely just be another (literally) faceless soldier in Vecna’s army. However, as we learned from Dustin’s misadventure with D’artagnan in Season Two, the monsters are capable of making their own choices outside the collective. Given this, the Demogorgon would likely want some payback on the people who attacked it, and Eleven and the Party would have another monster to face in the show’s final season.

Stranger Things is available to stream on Netflix.

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