Warning: If you haven’t finished Netflix’s Stranger Things yet, stop slacking and do that before reading this article, which includes massive spoilers. You’ve been warned.
The mythology of Stranger Things is laid out pretty simply, but there are still a lot of details missing. The Duffer brothers keep the mystery alive by not expounding on every single aspect of how the “Upside Down” works and the monster’s origins. Of course, the gaps in the mythology have led to a slew of fan theories. Some of them, like the idea that Barb could still be alive, hacking up slugs somewhere just like lil’ Will, are more like wishful thinking. But there’s one theory that sticks pretty well: What if when Eleven says “I’m the monster” to Mike, she’s being even more literal than he realizes? Uproxx has put together a video that compiles different variations of this same base theory from fans on Reddit, Tumblr, and various message boards, and the evidence that Eleven and the faceless, blood-loving monster that terrorizes Hawkins throughout season one are one and the same is pretty convincing.
We already know Eleven inadvertently opened the gate to the Upside Down as a side effect to the experiments run on her by Dr. Brenner. But what if her connection to the monster runs even deeper? What if the monster is a part of her or, more accurately, an Upside Down version of her? After all, she uses the Demogorgon—a Dungeons & Dragons creature with two heads—to inform the boys about the monster. When we see the monster, it doesn’t have a face, let alone two heads, but hello, metaphors! There’s also a scene where Mike receives a copy of X-Men #134, which features Jean Grey and her powerful but dangerous dual inner personas Phoenix and Dark Phoenix. That’s a pretty overt hint from the Duffer bros. Could the monster be Eleven’s Dark Phoenix?Look, we want nothing but happiness and endless Eggos for Eleven. We also want her to be alive, dammit. But if she indeed lives on, does that mean the monster does, too? Follow-up: WHY SLUG VOMIT? We’re going to go talk to some Christmas lights about this.