When Stranger Things fans finish Season 3 and stick around for the post-credits scene, they’ll be treated to a teaser for the return of a major Season 1 character that sets up Season 4 — but the post-credits scene also explains why the Russians have invaded Hawkins, Indiana in Season 3.
Spoilers follow for the Stranger Things Season 3 ending.
The Demogorgon lives — or at least a demogorgon lives.
In the Season 3 post-credits scene, we’re taken to a mysterious base in Kamchatka where Russian soldiers are feeding prisoners to what’s unmistakable a Demogorgon. This shouldn’t surprise too many viewers, especially after a scene from earlier in the season when Erica notices a huge cage inside the secret Russian base below Starcourt Mall.
We can easily assume at that point that the Russians want to open a rift to the Upside Down so they can capture and tame monsters, and they’ve had one Demogorgon in Russia for quite some time. Thanks to the joint efforts of the Hawkins group, they’re able to prevent the Russians from getting more. But this huge revelation informs what’s going on in Season 3 while also setting up what might happen in Season 4.
Somehow, the Russians independently discovered the existence of the Upside Down out in Russia — or they stole information from Dr. Brenner’s lab. The Season 3 opening scene takes place in June 1984, a full year before the core events of Season 3 and four months before Season 2. In that scene, Russian scientists fail to open a gate to the Upside Down, and the explosion kills many people.
This is presumably at the same base where they’re keeping the Demogorgon in the post-credits scene, and it seems like they’ve had it in custody for quite some time. These details make it seem like they moved the operation to Hawkins after learning about the Gate Eleven closed at the end of Season 2.
Where did this other Demogorgon come from? Could it be the Demogorgon from Season 1? Or is this another one from the Upside Down? Did the Russians somehow claim a Demodog during the events of Season 2 in Hawkins and bring it back to their Russian lab?
Eleven seemingly killed the original Demogorgon at the end of Season 1, but they both evaporated into ash in the same way. Eleven lived and was transported into the Upside Down instead, where she found a tiny rift that she opened wide enough to pass through. What if the same thing happened to that Demogorgon, but it wound up in Kamchatka?
We don’t know much about the size of the Upside Down or how its geography works — only that it overlaps in some places with the real world. The opposite side of the planet on Earth could only be a few miles in the Upside Down, for all we know.
All of the Demodogs in Season 2 were, in fact, Demogorgons at an earlier stage in the creature’s lifecycle. All of those were directly connected to the Mind Flayer, so when the Gate was closed, they died. But it sure seems like the Season 1 Demogorgon was operating under its own volition.
These details confirm, at least, that there are many different Demogorgons in the Upside Down. For all we know, there might even be several more creatures just like the Mind Flayer. Maybe the Russians have their own psychic people just like Eleven who made contact with a Demogorgon, leading it to open a Gate in Kamchatka? Based on what we’ve seen in Stranger Things thus far, that seems like the only possibility.
Stranger Things series creators the Duffer Brothers have admitted they plan for the show to last four or five seasons total, so Season 4 will have a lot of explaining to do.
**Stranger Things Season 3 is now available on Netflix.