The world of stranger things is no longer simply confined to Netflix. In addition to the episodes available for streaming, there are also games, novels, and comics that expand the universe of the show’s story.
While the canon status of the novels and comics is questionable as they create continuity errors for the series’ timeline, that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. The books add more details to the backstory of Dr. Brenner and his lab and provide interesting details about the events that take place between the different seasons of the show.
Brenner was warned about the Demogorgon
The Demogorgon is the big bad of season 1, even more than “Daddy”. The monster, however, shouldn’t be completely unexpected for Dr. Brenner. He is actually warned of his existence in the novel suspicious minds.
In the book, Alice, one of Brenner’s test subjects and a friend of Terry Ives, actually has prophetic visions that she talks about. The book is set over a decade before the events of the first season, and Alice’s visions are actually events of season 1. Brenner dismisses them as side effects of the numerous medications he takes her in the frame of experience.
Brenner kept Terry’s pregnancy a secret
There is a wealth of information in suspicious minds that fans will find interesting. Jane’s (aka Eleven) mother Terry is initially unaware that she is pregnant as she takes part in Dr. Brenner’s experiments. His team, however, regularly performs blood tests and other routine examinations on their subjects.
Brenner knows almost immediately that Terry is pregnant, but chooses not to tell her. He is more interested in how his experiences will affect her baby than in her having a healthy child. Brenner orchestrates everything related to Eleven’s birth.
Hopper worked for the NYPD in the 70s
Jim Hopper doesn’t go from hanging out with Joyce Byers under the high school bleachers to working for the police department. He actually joins the army after high school, and when he returns home, gets married and moves to New York for a fresh start.
While in New York, Hopper works for the NYPD and eventually becomes a detective. During the events of the Darkness on the Edge of Town novel, he investigates a series of homicides in 1977. Memorabilia from that time can be found in the box titled “New York” that Eleven finds in her cabin.
Brenner finds a teenage test subject
The show involves Brenner finding all of his test subjects numbered when they were young children and then growing up to be teenagers in his lab. That’s not quite true – at least not according to the stranger things Dark Horse comics.
In the comics, Francine is already a teenager, 16 to be exact, when Brenner catches up with her and wants her to join his experiments. She becomes Six while he studies her in the late 70s. Brenner actually manages to convince her to run away from home and join the study rather than outright kidnap her like he does with other other children.
Will hunts upside down
In stranger things season 1, Will must survive in the Upside Down for about a week. How did he manage without food or water? He did not do it.
The four first stranger things the comics reveal Will’s side of the story as everyone was looking for him. While stuck in the Upside Down, he actually uses the skills he read for his Dungeons and Dragons character to hunt.
The Russians have their own versions of the Brenner
While the audience sees that there are Russian spies interested in the Upside Down and that there is a prison housing a Demogorgon, little of their operations are explored.
In the graphic novel Kamchatka, it is revealed that there is a scientist whose interest is actually in using telekinetic abilities to travel the multiverse. While his ideas are only theoretical, another scientist takes his theories and applies them, allowing the Russian scientists to end up with a Demogorgon they need to house in a prison.
Terry Ives befriended Kali Prasad
Kali makes it clear in Season 2 that she knew Jane when she was in the lab. His connection to Jane is much more than the two studied by Brenner. Kali knew Jane’s mother first.
Kali is often isolated from other test subjects and constantly wants to know more about others and make friends. The only friend she granted at the age of five is Terry Ives. The two are observed together under Brenner’s care and she is one of the first people to meet Baby Jane as a result.
Several children escape from the laboratory
The first season makes it seem like Eleven’s escape is the first time Brenner has had a test subject escape. Season 2 reveals that Eight (Kali) also escaped, but she’s not the only one.
The comics have several other youngsters who escaped Brenner. Francine, who becomes Six, ends up escaping with her ally Ricky. There are also pyrokinetic siblings who are revealed as escapees in the comics. That’s at least six kids who manage to escape Brenner’s experiments if the comics are considered canon.
The Demodog decomposes overnight
This information might explain why the rest of Hawkins don’t realize how many weird things are really going on in their town. The “Winter Special” issue of the comics reveals what happens to the Demodog that Dustin puts in Joyce Byers’ fridge after she dies at the end of Season 2.
He plans to save it for the sake of science, but it literally decomposes overnight, leaving a goo in the fridge instead. If that’s what happens with everything being killed backwards, it’s no wonder no one else is as suspicious as the main characters.
Kali is the reason Brenner is not closed
Season 4 episodes show how slowly children develop their powers. Without tangible results, one would expect the Brenner project to be stopped. In suspicious mindsit is revealed that it almost was.
Kali understands that if the project is stopped, she will no longer be able to see her friends, and she goes on a rampage, creating an illusion of flames all around those who have come to assess the program. When Terry calmly walks through the illusion and talks to Kali, the project is saved thanks to the show of power.
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