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Demogorgon Fan Theory Stirs Up Stranger Things Fans

As Stranger Things fan theories go, one recently posted to Reddit by a particularly sharp viewer is ... well, one of the stranger ones.

Redditor u/CinnaSol posted the detailed theory to the FanTheories subreddit a few days ago, and it immediately began causing a stir. It has to do with the nature of the infamous Demogorgon, the monster that kidnaps Will Byers and menaces the rest of the series' young heroes in Stranger Things' first season, and the possibility that the weird alternate dimension that it comes from, which our protagonists dub "The Upside Down," might not be exactly what we think it is.

First, a brief refresher: In Stranger Things' first batch of episodes, we meet Will (Noah Schapp) and his friends Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) on the night that Will mysteriously goes missing on the way home from a spirited Dungeons & Dragons session. In short order, we learn that this disappearance is in some way connected to an enigmatic young girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who enters the kids' lives apparently having escaped from some kind of institution.

It turns out that this facility is a shadowy government operation aimed at opening portals to alternate dimensions in a process that had been facilitated by Eleven, a powerful psychic and telekinetic, and that government operatives are hot on her trail. Also, it seems that something from one of those alternate dimensions has intruded upon the youngsters' small town of Hawkins, Indiana: A hideous monster the kids call the "Demogorgon" after a creature from their D&D game. This creature has spirited Will away to the Upside Down for purposes unknown, and the series' first season largely deals with the efforts of the children, Will's mother Joyce (Winona Ryder), and the initially skeptical police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) to discover what happened to the boy and bring him home.

The Stranger Things fan theory posits that the Demogorgon isn't just a monster

The effort to find Will and bring him home alive is successful, but the boy isn't quite the same. The conclusion of season 1 sees him, unbeknownst to anyone, puking up monstrous slugs, and the second season finds him intermittently under the control of what the kids call the "Mind Flayer," an enormous, malevolent entity from the Upside Down that seems intent on an incursion into our heroes' reality. 

The theory posits that the Mind Flayer actually intends to "terraform" not just Will and his friends' reality, but all of them, and that the Upside Down is actually an alternate version of Hawkins from one possible future in which it has succeeded. Key to the theory is that, in the first season, the Demogorgon was seemingly obsessed not with Eleven, who had made its entry into the normal world possible, but with Will; fans will well remember Joyce's near-crazed insistence that her son was still alive, communicating with her via flashing Christmas lights, and the weird supernatural occurrences that were centered on the Byers house. By contrast, Eleven was being hidden by Will during this time, and being all but ignored by the Demogorgon, which seemed much more preoccupied with the Byerses, and with Will in particular. Why would this be?

Well, if the Upside Down is indeed a corrupted future version of Hawkins (which makes sense, considering that even though it is seemingly devoid of life, all of its houses and buildings are still standing), then it stands to reason that some of that alternate version's residents may have been corrupted, as well. So, why is the monster's agenda centered on Will? Because, the theory states, the Demogorgon is Will — or rather, a corrupted, possibly adult version of him from that doomed alternate future.

The evidence that the Demogorgon is actually Will is pretty compelling

Our intrepid Redditor lays it out like this: After the experiment that opens the portal to the Upside Down, the Demogorgon is sent through to find hosts for its offspring. The monster — which is, again, a corrupted Will Byers — seeks out its alternate self out of sheer familiarity, or perhaps because it knows that Will can survive what it must do to him. This is why, even though Will spends nearly the entire first season in the Upside Down, which is shown to have toxic effects on denizens of the real world, he survives the ordeal. It should also be noted that the other season 1 victim dragged into that shadowy dimension, fan favorite Barb (Shannon Purser) decidedly did not survive the trip. Also, Barb appeared to have been attacked randomly, and it's implied that this is because she was bleeding prior to the attack, which the Demogorgon may have sensed or smelled. Will was not, making the attack on him appear more targeted.

More clues can be gleaned from remarks that Will makes in season 2 describing the sensation of being controlled by the Mind Flayer. He describes the bizarre visions that accompany his possession as being like "memories," which — if the theory is correct — they may very well be. He also says that it feels like all of these "memories" are taking place at the same time, which could imply that multiple instances of his kidnapping, transformation, and being forced to act as a herald of sorts for the Mind Flayer have taken place across many, many different realities. Finally, although its appearance is bizarre in the extreme, the Demogorgon is humanoid in shape, lending credence to the theory that it could be an actual, mutated human.

Even after his rescue, the character of Will Byers has always carried a sense of the inevitable about him, a sense of doom that perhaps can't be avoided, and it's just possible that this fan has stumbled upon the reason for that. We're going to file this theory away under "P" for "Pretty Darned Interesting" (you'll have to forgive us for our admittedly weird filing system), and we'll see how it lines up with the events of Stranger Things season 4 when it drops on Netflix. That drop date has not yet been revealed, but you can bet that we'll be all over the announcement when it comes.