Stranger Things is a show with plenty of fans and plenty of secrecy, and those two things are bound to spawn that time-honored tradition of internet fandom known as fan theories. David Harbour knows this, and he's ready to take them all on.
Harbour was recently interviewed by Vanity Fair about his roles in the Netflix sci-fi hit and the upcoming Hellboy reboot, and the magazine decided they'd also put his own knowledge and perception of the show that made him a superstar to the test for good measure. So Harbour got on camera, got on Reddit, and participated in a recurring video feature in which he does a deep dive on various fan theories. And when we say deep, we mean deep.
For example, the very first Stranger Things theory he's asked to confront in the segment is a fan's notion that the Upside Down — the dark parallel universe of the show — is not just an alternate dimension but the future. It's a lot of information to take in, but it's just the beginning, because someone else then has a theory that the Upside Down is actually something manifested by Eleven's mother, Terry Ives, as the result of a burst of psychic energy brought on by her own emotional pain. Though he freely admits that he has no connection to or control over what the real explanation is, Harbour's a fan of that idea.
"I think that in some sense the show can be a monster show or it can be a show that wraps up where the events of the show are actually directly related, and couldn't have happened to any other characters but these characters, as a result of whatever they went through," he said. "I like the idea of it being explicitly reference as some kind of manifestation of a subconscious of a town. There's something dark in Hawkins."
The fan theories are so specific, and so varied, that ultimately Harbour even stumbles upon a theory that he himself had early on in the show — that when Eleven says "I am the monster" she means that she literally manifested the Demogorgon — only to have it debunked by Stranger Things' creators, the Duffer Brothers. It's not new episodes of Stranger Things, but having one of the show's most charming presences break down the nature of its world and its characters for a few minutes is a welcome distraction while we're waiting for Season 3.
Stranger Things is expected to return next summer.