Eleven became the breakout star of Stranger Things this summer, thanks to both her character's striking look and a literally mind-blowing performance from Millie Bobby Brown. Sure, the character is a mixture of archetypes, drawing on '80s films such as Firestarter and even E.T., but Eleven herself is an entirely unique creation — or so we thought.
Fan theories have circled Stranger Things more voraciously than a hungry Demogorgon, trying to explain the numerous mysteries that began to unravel in Season 1. But this latest theory is perhaps the most convincing yet, and it comes from none other than one of the actual cast members.
Eleven May Not Be The Only Psychic On Stranger Things
During a guest appearance on AMC's Geeking Out, young star Gaten Matarazzo shared his own theory on the show, explaining how Will could have survived during his time in the Upside Down.
"Will has powers like Eleven, but he doesn't know how to control them and channel them."
Matarazzo went on to give a number of compelling reasons for why this could be true, before his co-star Caleb McLaughlin stopped him in case the theory actually turned out to be real. Check out the clip below to hear Matarazzo explain his ideas in more detail, with nary a chocolate pudding in sight.
Does Will Really Have Powers Like Eleven?
Considering that Matarazzo is only 14, he's able to back up his theory with a number of surprisingly plausible points. In fact, the theory is so robust that we half-suspect the young actor snuck into the Duffer Brothers office and had a cheeky peek at the script drafts for Season 2. Here's the evidence that Will is a secret psychic:
- One of the main plot holes that detractors pointed out in Season 1 is that Barb died soon after being taken to the Upside Down, while the younger and physically weaker Will managed to survive for far longer. Gaten's theory suggests that this is because Will possesses psychic abilities just like Eleven, enabling him to fend the Demogorgon off for as long as possible.
- This is why the Demogorgon attacked Will first, as he was drawn to the boy's power, just like he was to Eleven.
- Will used his psychic abilities to communicate with his mother, Joyce, through both the lighting and the walls of their home, almost as though he were creating some kind of portal between the Upside Down and the town of Hawkins.
- No one else was able to contact our dimension from the Upside Down, except for Will.
- There was also no explanation given for why the town's power kept glitching, which could have been a side-effect of Will's psychic abilities.
So Where Did Will's Powers Come From?
If Gaten is right and Will really does possess powers like Eleven, where did they originally come from? As much as we'd love to see a grudge match between Eleven and Jean Grey, it's unlikely that mutant powers naturally occur in the world of Stranger Things, X-Men style.
1) Did The Government Experiment On Will Too?
The Government Agency that experimented on Eleven is still shrouded in mystery, but her name alone suggests that she wasn't the first to be involved in this abusive form of psychic testing.
While there's a chance that Will could have been one of these ten children, it seems rather unlikely, as the Government did everything in their power to keep Eleven in their clutches. Will, meanwhile, was left free to live with his mother and lead a comparatively boring life.
The only way this would work is if Will had been experimented on at an incredibly young age, but showed no promising signs of telekinesis, so the Government allowed Joyce to look after him. That is unless, of course, Will is currently the subject of a real-world experiment where the Government still keep a close eye to see how he develops in natural surroundings.
2) Did The Government Experiment's Indirectly Affect The Townspeople?
As we still know very little about the Government's experiments; it's entirely plausible that their secret studies may have accidentally affected the townspeople in ways that are still unclear.
After all, playing around with the dimensional fabric of our universe is likely to have unforeseen effects that could somehow enhance brain activity. Could this have enabled Will and perhaps others from the town of Hawkins to develop gifts like Eleven? At the very least, this could have helped them become predisposed to gaining such talents.
The exciting implication of this is that Eleven and Will could be joined down the road by other psychics, creating either a Village of the Damned style scenario that will kill the town or one where Dustin uses his gifts to find more chocolate pudding.
3) Is Will Directly Related To Eleven?
The origins of Eleven's powers still aren't entirely clear. Did she always possess psychic gifts that the Government enhanced, or did their direct experimentation cause them to manifest in the first place?
If Eleven was naturally born with a predilection for crushing coke cans with her mind, then there's a chance that Will could be related to her too. This would explain why they share similar talents.
After all, we still know next to nothing about Eleven's background and while it was hinted that she could be Hopper's daughter, this may very well be a red herring planted by the Duffer Brothers to distract us from her direct links to Will and probably Joyce too.
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If Stranger Things decided to go down this route, then we could be looking at the ultimate psychic face-off between Will and Eleven, bringing all the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader feels as family members go head to head.
While this is unlikely, it's hard to deny that Gaten Matarazzo has devised one of the strongest Stranger Things fan theories yet — one that actually explains many of the questions that were left unanswered by the Season 1 finale.
Whether it turns out that Will is psychic or not though, the idea of him having a logical advantage over Barb in the Upside Down makes us feel somewhat better about her demise. Although we can't help but resent the little snot for not rescuing her, Eleven-style.
There'll be trouble for the kids if Barb comes back and realises that she could have been saved if this clip's anything to go by:
Do you think Will could possess psychic powers like Eleven or was Gaten Matarazzo just experiencing some kind of sugar coma when he devised his theory? Let us know in the comments!
Fan art: Sergio Mancinelli