When we reflect back on the best female characters of the 21st century, there’s a good chance that both Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods and Stranger Things’ Eleven will land high on the list. And now a new fan-fiction suggests that maybe those two very dissimilar women are actually one and the same. Australian writer Kaitlyn Plyley turned her fan theory into a piece of fan-fiction that exists somewhere between being tongue-in-cheek and genuine. In Plyley’s imagining, Eleven takes the last name Woods to remind her of all the good times she spent with Mike, Lucas, and Dustin in the forest. As Plyley describes:
From the moment Eleven put on that wig, she felt powerful in a way she never had before. The boys’ physicality around her changed: when they stood in a circle, there was a space for her; Dustin and Lucas relaxed, stopped flinching when they caught her in their peripherals. Mike looked at her a lot, but not the way prey watches a hunter. She liked it. The first time the wig came off, she panicked, turning to him. “Still pretty?”
Years later, at Harvard Law, Emmett Richmond would tell her that her blonde hair gave her a power she underestimated, and that he hoped she would channel it to use for good. She smiled a little: here was somebody who had an inkling of what she was. Elle had never been seriously intimidated by the Harvard admissions process—she’d strode through high school and college knowing she could break arms with a tilt of her head. Her self-worth came from knowing that she chose not to harm.
It’s oddly moving to imagine how Eleven’s childhood trauma shapes Elle’s personality. Warner’s breakup hits her hard because “the first thing she had learned about healthy relationships was that ‘friends don’t lie.’” Elle’s first days at Harvard are “like being back in the isolation tank at the Department Of Energy” where people only care about her mind. And Elle’s beloved Chihuahua Bruiser is actually a comfort animal. “It took her a long time to work out that she was still trying to prove she wasn’t the monster,” Plyley writes of Elle’s obsession with soft, pink things. “Self-care was prime.”
Though the timing doesn’t quite work out (Elle Woods would’ve only been about 4 or 5 during the events of Stranger Things), the theory at least works on an emotional level. And given that fan speculation about a connection between Steve and Jean-Ralphio led to a real-life meet-up between Joe Keery and Ben Schwartz, it now seems like only a matter of time before Millie Bobby Brown and Reese Witherspoon do a Carpool Karaoke together.