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Stranger Things almost killed off Eleven in season 1, but not for a stupid reason

Screenshot: Netflix

In addition to managing to avoid the sophomore slump with its new season, Stranger Things’ has placed Millie Bobby Brown’s character Eleven center stage, with her own separate story and adventure away from the rest of the cast. (Okay, maybe that side narrative didn’t pan out so well, but still, points for effort.) The gifted young telepath/telekinetic/who-knows-what-else is a fan favorite, and for good reason—Brown is terrific in the role.

But it turns out, the character almost didn’t live to see another season. Comic Book Resources reports show co-creator Ross Duffer recently took part in a university Q&A session, and admitted the initial plan was to have her die at the end of the final episode of that first season. Before we all say, “Thank god that dumb idea was nixed, why would you get rid of the most compelling part of your show,” it’s important to note there was actually a very good reason for that move: Stranger Things was originally going to be a limited series.


“Maybe I shouldn’t say this because I like to pretend that it was all planned out, but it was originally pitched as a limited series,” said Duffer, probably while getting a hot-stone massage from Netflix executives. “So, Eleven was gonna sacrifice herself and save the world, and then that was going to be it, because there was a moment where limited series were a big deal.” Had it remained a one-off, her death makes total sense. But Netflix wanted more, and asked how they could keep the story going instead. “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 they were like ‘great!’” From such humble beginnings are possessions of kids by other-dimensional beings born.

Development on season three is already underway, but maybe it’s not too late to suggest that all of Eleven’s Chicago punk-rock friends died on the way back to their home planet.

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Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.