“Stranger Things” was originally going to kill off Eleven in Season 1, and how dare you
Once upon a time, there was no second season of Stranger Things. The Netflix original series was originally envisioned as a limited series — meaning one, done, and out of Hawkins, Indiana forever. With only one season, everything in our world and the Upside Down would be wrapped up by the last episode. And with only one season, that meant that one character was going to make the ultimate sacrifice and not come back, because why would she? The show was over.
Yes, once upon at time, Eleven was going to die at the end of Stranger Things.
Thankfully, that’s not the path the show took, as right from the get-go, Netflix always intended for Stranger Things to continue on. But according to showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer, that wasn’t always the plan.
The Duffer Brothers, speaking at a Master Class at Chapman University on Friday, explained to the crowd that the original idea for the series was “limited,” because limited series were the ~hype~ at the time.
"Maybe I shouldn't say this because I like to pretend that it was all planned out," Ross Duffer explained. "But it was originally pitched as a limited series. So it was like, Eleven was gonna sacrifice herself and save the world and then that was gonna be it, because there was a moment where limited series were a big deal."
However, the brothers quickly learned that Netflix was interested in longer projects and the streaming site was looking for more.
"When we started pitching it, it was like 'We don't make money off of limited series,'" Ross continued. "I remember when we went into Netflix and we pitched this they were like 'Well, we like this but how could it keep going?' And you're just sort of riffing in the moment and we were like 'Well, Will's back from this other dimension and he's not doing very well.' And [Netflix] was like, 'Great!'"
No longer limited, and with the intention of carrying on with the characters and stories, the Duffer Brothers had to rework a few things — and you know, not kill Eleven.
Ending the limited series with Eleven dying certainly would have been an emotional gut punch, considering that then would have been the end. As the end of Season 1 stands now, we’re led to believe that she does die — or, at least disappears back to the Upside Down — except that someone is eating those Eggos in the woods. We know she’s still around, it’s just not confirmed.
Thank goodness for Season 2. And Hopper.