Stranger Things Still Hasn't Answered The Biggest Upside Down Mystery

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things season 4. 

Following the conclusion of Stranger Things season 4, audiences are still eagerly awaiting the biggest mystery concerning the Upside Down: its origin story. The beloved team of monster-hunting Hawkins teenagers will return again for the fifth and final season of Stranger Things at some point in the future. That will be the last opportunity for the show and its creators, the Duffer Brothers, to reveal how the Upside Down began.

Viewers were first introduced to the Upside Down in Stranger Things season 1, as Joyce Byers desperately tried to find her missing son, Will, who was abducted by and brought into the dark and mysterious parallel dimension. As the series has progressed over the past four seasons, it has revealed more and more glimpses of and details about the Upside Down. Inhabited by monsters such as Demogorgons, the Mind Flayer, and Vecna, its nightmarish characteristics have long been a defining element throughout Stranger Things.


Related: Why Will Is Connected To Vecna (It Could Be Key To Season 5)

The biggest mystery of the alternate world still hasn't been answered, however: who or what made the Upside Down? Stranger Things season 4 revealed important details regarding Vecna's significant influence in the dimension, while previously, season 3 deliberated on the terrifying examples of flora and fauna that can live there. As theorized by Dustin after deducing that Eleven did not create the realm but had only opened the gate to it, the Upside Down is likely thousands, if not millions, of years old. Also, questions of whether the Upside Down is Hawkins-specific — and if so why — remain unknown.

Did Eleven Create The Upside Down?

Stranger Things Vecna Eleven Mind-Flayer

Chronologically, when One was sent to the Upside Down, it was already an established world, which would suggest Eleven was not responsible for its creation. He specifically described his arrival to Eleven when explaining his Vecna origins. At first, he believed it to be a kind of "purgatory" but then came to view it as a "realm unspoiled by mankind." In his explorations of the Upside Down, he encountered the species of humanoid predators that would later be known as Demogorgons.

It seems unlikely the dimension would have naturally spawned in such an advanced state immediately, with living organisms already inhabiting it. Hence, when Eleven inadvertently opens the interdimensional portal for One to fall through, into the Upside Down, as revealed in Stranger Things season 4, it wouldn't have made sense for her to have created it.

However, Eleven's memories of her younger years have always been unclear throughout the series. She seemingly did not remember the events of Stranger Things season 4, episode 7, "The Massacre At Hawkins Lab," even believing she was responsible for the murders she saw in her visions. Since she couldn't remember such an event with any considerable lucidity, it's unlikely she would have remembered her unwitting creation of the Upside Down.

Everything We Know About The Upside Down's Origin

Stranger Things Upside Down Demobats

Although there are significant details about the Upside Down that are still not yet known, one key indicator about its origins come from Nancy's discovery that it is stuck in 1983. When she visited her alternate dimension bedroom, she discovered it still adorned with her toys from her younger years. It must be directly related to the timeline of Eleven's opening of the Upside Down, yet that was four years earlier, in 1979.

There could be a few reasons for this. Firstly, Eleven may have created the Upside Down, but as discussed above, the chronology of One's entrance there does not align with his arrival into an already developed landscape. Another possibility is that One entered the Upside Down when it was a barren landscape and lost his control over the realm when Eleven opened the first gate in 1983.

Another idea is that, if the Upside Down has indeed been in existence for eons, One entered a barren landscape, only for the realm to adjust once Upside Down lifeforms had gained intelligence from Hawkins. This would also explain why the Upside Down is based on Hawkins only. Unfortunately, viewers are going to have to wait until at least 2024 for all of their Stranger Things questions to be answered.

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