After escaping from the lab, she is found by Mike, Lucas and Dustin. Upon discovering her abilities, Mike believes that she can help find Will, their missing friend. It is eventually revealed that, in a lab experiment, she made contact with a monstrous creature from another dimension, accidentally opening an inter-dimensional gateway. Eleven eventually faced and destroyed this Monster in a showdown at Hawkins Middle School, mysteriously vanishing in the process.
Birth and Early Life
In the early 1970s, a young woman named Terry Ives participated in the controversial government program known as MKUltra.  As a test subject, Terry would take part in experiments involving psychedelic drugs and sensory deprivation.
Unbeknownst to Terry, she had somehow become pregnant during this period. She gave birth to a girl, naming her Jane. Due to the experimentation on Terry, Jane was born with various extraordinary psychokinetic abilities. Immediately after her birth she was abducted and raised by Dr. Martin Brenner. Growing up in Hawkins Lab, she was not referred to by her given name, instead being labeled as “011,” indicating her place as a test subject. Brenner built himself up as a father figure in the mind of Eleven, making her refer to him as "Papa".
While Terry believed her daughter was still alive, Terry's sister believed Jane never existed. Due to her birth being covered up as a miscarriage, there were no birth certificates or medical records of Eleven's existence, allowing her to be the "perfect human test subject."
Eleven was trained by the government in Hawkins National Laboratory. Through tests, scientists wished to discover and enhance the extent of her psychic abilities. She was the subject of at least four experiments.
In the first known experiment, Eleven was presented with a cola can, which she then crushed using telekinesis. Although her nose began bleeding soon afterwards, Dr. Brenner seemed pleased nonetheless.
The next involved using her powers to manipulate a living creature. Dr. Brenner presented Eleven with a cat, but she refused to do anything to it. As punishment for her refusal, she was dragged to a cell by two guards. She killed the guards in anger before they could lock her in, showing Brenner that she was indeed capable of using biokinesis.
Brenner wanted to test Eleven's ability to eavesdrop over long distances. Eleven was ordered to repeat words stated by an individual elsewhere in the laboratory. She didn't repeat the words through her voice, but instead made the individual's words play over a wall speaker.
Eventually, Brenner wanted Eleven to eavesdrop over an even greater distance. She was placed in a sensory deprivation tank, where she entered a psychic state in which she could reach out to other living creatures in different locations. In this state she was ordered to spy on a Russian agent. Although Eleven successfully followed this instruction, she unwittingly came across a mysterious creature. A terrified Eleven panicked and the experiment was aborted.
Dr. Brenner was intrigued and wanted her to make contact with the creature. The experiment was repeated; Eleven entered the tank once again. Immersed in the psychic state, Eleven made contact with the monster. At that moment, a gate cracked open between Hawkins Laboratory and the monster's dimension — allowing it to enter their dimension. In the ensuing chaos Eleven escaped the lab through a drain pipe and fled into the surrounding woodlands of Hawkins.
Season OneWalking through the woods, Eleven came across Benny Hammond's diner and attempted to steal food, but Benny caught her and prevented her escape. He clothed, fed and attempted to communicate with her. She was reserved and didn't say much, but eventually revealed that her name was Eleven. Thinking she was a victim of child abuse, Benny called social services. Agent Connie Frazier from Hawkins Lab arrived, posing as a social worker, and immediately shot Benny. Eleven fled the diner, killing two other agents in the process.
Later that night, Eleven was found drenched in rain in the forest by Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, and Dustin Henderson as they searched for their missing friend Will Byers. They brought her back to Mike's basement, where they argued about what to do with her. Lucas and Dustin were cautious and wanted to call the police, but Mike decided against it and made a pillow fort for Eleven to sleep in.
The next day, Mike skipped school to accommodate Eleven, giving her the nickname "El." Mike wanted them to get help from his mother, but Eleven refused and told him that "bad" people were looking for her. During a tour of the house, she recognized Will in a photograph. Dustin and Lucas came to Mike's house after school, and Mike told them Eleven could help them find Will. Lucas was still insistent on telling their parents, but Eleven stopped him by shutting the door using her powers.
Later that evening, the boys explained the concept of a friend and a promise to Eleven. To demonstrate where Will was hiding, she flipped their Dungeons & Dragons board over to demonstrate that he was in an "upside down" dimension. She placed Will's player piece on top and the Demogorgon piece next to it, which symbolized the monster.
The next day, Eleven was alone at Mike's house and watched a Coca-Cola advertisement on television, reminding her of the experiment involving the cola can. When the boys came home from school, they commenced "Operation Mirkwood," where Eleven led them through the woods to find evidence relating to Will. She led them to the Byers house, but was unable to explain that Will was there, but in the other dimension. Police cars raced by and the group followed them to the quarry, where they saw what appeared to be Will's corpse being dragged out of the water. Feeling hurt and betrayed, believing Eleven to be a liar, Mike lashed out at her and raced home on his bike.
Returning to Mike's basement, Eleven proved that she was not lying about Will, projecting his voice through Mike's radio, and he was heard faintly singing one of his favourite songs. The following day, Mike showed El doing this to Dustin and Lucas, who wondered if Will had become a ghost. After further discussion the boys theorized that Will was stuck in the Vale of Shadows, a "dark echo" dimension of death and decay, which Eleven labeled The Upside Down.
They dressed Eleven up in a wig and dress and brought her to Hawkins Middle so she could use Mr. Clarke's more powerful Heathkit radio to communicate with Will. They were stopped by Mr. Clarke, who made them attend an assembly for Will. After the assembly, Mike confronted the bully Troy regarding the jokes he made about Will during assembly. Troy attempted to hit Mike, but Eleven froze him in place using her powers and made him urinate down his pants in front of several other students. Later they used the heathkit radio and heard Will talking to his mother from The Upside Down. The radio eventually caught fire.
After talking to Mr. Clarke at Will's funeral, the boys decided to follow their compasses, believing they would be led them to a hypothetical gate to the other dimension, assuming that the gate would affect the local magnetic field. However, Eleven manipulated their compasses to keep them away from Hawkins Lab. When the boys realized, Mike and Lucas argued about whether she was trustworthy. A fight erupted between the two, and Eleven, in an outbreak of emotion, flung Lucas into the air using her powers, knocking him out. Mike screamed "What is wrong with you?" at Eleven, and she fled the scene, overwhelmed with emotion.
In the woods, Eleven took off her wig and despaired as she looked into her reflection in a pool of water. Lost on the streets, Eleven entered a supermarket to steal boxes of Eggos which she had developed a great fondness for. An employee attempted to stop her thievery, but she walked out and broke two glass doors using her powers.As Eleven sat alone in the forest, tucking into the Eggo boxes, she faintly heard Mike and Dustin shouting her name as they searched for her. The two boys were suddenly ambushed by Troy and his friend James, who were seeking revenge following his humiliation at the gym. They threatened Dustin with a knife and blackmailed Mike into jumping from a cliff. Eleven appeared just in time, levitating Mike back to safety and breaking Troy's arm. She reconciled with Mike and Dustin before returning to Mike's home.
Mike and Eleven shared an intimate moment in his basement before Dustin interrupted to alert them that Lucas was communicating via radio, warning them that the "bad men are coming." The three escaped on bike while agents from Hawkins Lab pursued them. Eleven used her powers to flip one of their vans over and they made a narrow escape. The kids went to a junkyard, where Lucas and Eleven apologized to one another. After realizing that agents were still searching for them, they shoved their bikes under an old bus wreck and hid inside.Chief Hopper, who now knew of Eleven's existence, communicated with the group through Will's radio and came to escort them to the Byers house, where they met with Joyce, Jonathan and Nancy. Eleven tried communicating with Will through one of the boys' radios to no avail, but she suggested they could use a "bath" instead. The group broke into Hawkins Middle School and set up a bathtub filled with saltwater to serve as a makeshift sensory deprivation tank. Joyce commended Eleven for her bravery, ensuring she would be there for her as she floated in the tub. Eleven got into the bathtub and began to float, entering her mental void. Immersed in this psychic state, she scoured through the Upside Down in an attempt to discover the status of Will and Barbara Holland. Eleven first found Barbara's corpse, and in response Eleven hysterically and repeatedly shouted "Gone!" Joyce comforted her, calming her down. She eventually found Will alive, but weakened, hiding in Castle Byers. Eleven told him to stay strong and ensured him his mother was coming for him. Will responded, telling Eleven to hurry, before she suddenly lost contact.
The kids were left alone in the school while Joyce and Hopper went to the lab, and Nancy and Jonathan went to the Byers house. Mike invited Eleven to be his date at the Snow Ball school dance and the two shared a kiss.
As part of an "agreement" he made with the laboratory to save Will, Hopper revealed Eleven's location. Agents arrived at the school to capture her, but Eleven killed most of them by crushing their brains, an exhaustive process which drained her of energy and caused her to briefly collapse.Dr. Brenner and his team of agents found Eleven and the boys. As the boys were restrained and held back by agents, Brenner talked to Eleven, telling her that she would be returned to the lab - however Eleven resisted, calling and reaching out for Mike.
The Monster was attracted by pools of spilt blood, breaking through the wall. The Monster began a spree of violence, attacking Dr. Brenner as surviving agents let go of the boys and opened gunfire.This allowed the kids to escape, with Dustin carrying Eleven.
For a while, the four kids outran and evaded the creature, hiding in their science teacher's classroom. Eventually the Monster found them, breaking into the room and attacking them. The boys attempted to fight it with their wrist rocket, but the weapon had little to no effect against it. Though she was drained, Eleven decided to confront the creature, pinning it against the blackboard with her mind, while also immobilising Mike to prevent his intervention. After wishing farewell to her friends, she proceeded to disintegrate the beast's body into a thick mist - a mist in which she too vanished.
Personality and Traits
Raised in Hawkins National Laboratory and completely deprived from socialization, Eleven was timid, socially withdrawn and extremely cautious of other people. However, she became fiercely protective and showed unyielding loyalty towards those who cared for her, to the point that she sacrificed herself to destroy the Monster when it threatened to harm her friends.
If Eleven attempted to defy Dr. Brenner's orders when under his control, she would be locked in a cramped room as punishment, potentially for hours on end. These painful experiences lead her to develop severe claustrophobia. She also showed some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, frequently remembering her harrowing experiences at the lab following her escape.
Due to a very limited vocabulary, she could not effectively communicate her thoughts and emotions, and had no understanding of simple concepts such as friendships or promises. These difficulties communicating often lead to misunderstandings with the boys. Despite this, she was a quick learner and came up with creative ways of explaining concepts, as shown when she flipped the Dungeons & Dragons game board to explain the nature of the Upside Down.
Episodes of intense stress and fear had the potential to trigger Eleven's powers, releasing them in unpredictable and sometimes dangerous ways. She was reluctant to harm innocent life and had no malicious intent, but was sometimes forced to severely maim or kill in extreme circumstances. She did not take this lightly, as these instances were always followed by strong feelings of guilt and self-loathing, not to mention the physical toll these acts had on her body.
Powers and Abilities
Eleven was born with a vast array of natural psychic powers, most of which likely lay dormant until they were trained and developed at Hawkins National Laboratory.
Her most recurrent power was telekinesis – the ability to move and influence physical objects without touching them. She demonstrated this by moving objects at will, even suspending people in mid air. The largest known object she manipulated was a Hawkins Power & Light van, which she flipped into the air. In addition, Eleven could manipulate living creatures, an ability which is sometimes referred to as biokinesis. She first demonstrated this when breaking the neck of a Hawkins Lab guard. She would go on to force Troy to urinate against his will, before breaking his arm. During the confrontation at Hawkins Middle School, she killed several agents by applying pressure to their brains, causing them to bleed from their eyes. Her most extreme act of biokinesis was the disintegration of the Monster; an act that even caused Eleven herself to vanish.
Eleven also had the ability to gain information through the mind rather than the physical senses, commonly referred to as extrasensory perception. She could recognize people taken into the Upside Down from photos, though she had presumably never met them before, and could sense Will's corresponding location in the other dimension. To some extent and with varying results, she could transmit the voice of people in other locations over electronic speakers.
Her extrasensory perception was at its strongest while she was sensorily deprived and floating in a completely darkened pool of water. Then, she could enter a mental void where she was able to observe people and creatures in different physical locations, and even alternate dimensions. She could also make contact with them, or remain unseen while eavesdropping on them if she chose to. While in this mental void, she was still able to communicate with her physical surroundings to some extent.
Eleven would often suffer nosebleeds and become physically exhausted when exercising her powers. Her most extreme acts caused her eyes to become bloodshot, and her ears would bleed. However, if Eleven was sufficiently satiated, this physical toll could be alliveiated.
Eleven's powers would occasionally affect the nearby electricity; when attempting psychic communication, nearby lights would sometimes flicker, or even go out entirely. The Monster had remarkably similar effects.
While Eleven was in utero, her mother was being experimented on as a MKUltra test subject. In these experiments, Terry would be sensorily deprived via isolation tank, in addition to being under the influence of psychedelic drugs. It is possible that, like her unborn child, Terry too gained the ability to enter an inner psychic void. In any case, the experiments likely affected Eleven's development, and were the source of her psychokinetic potential.
The effect of the subsequent direct experimentation on Eleven and her powers is unclear. It is possible that her powers laid dormant, and could only be unearthed through further experimentation. However, it is also possible that Eleven had access to these powers at birth, but merely gained understanding and experience of them during her time in the laboratory.
While Terry is her biological mother, Eleven has no knowledge of her or even the fact that Brenner had kidnapped her at birth. However, Terry tried desperately to get her daughter back and still believes she will one day return.
Becky is Eleven's aunt. Like Terry, Eleven has no knowledge of her due to not knowing the circumstances of her birth. Becky believed Terry really miscarried, and therefore believes Jane doesn't exist.
Mike and Eleven developed a special relationship in the six days they knew each other. Out of the three boys, Mike grew the closest to Eleven, partly due to her staying at his house. Though Dustin and Lucas eventually developed trust for her, Mike was the first to do so. Eleven, in turn, was clearly at her most relaxed while alone in the company of Mike. Unlike Dustin and Lucas, Mike understood right away that, despite her powers and strange appearance, she was ultimately just another kid, who didn't mean to cause trouble for him and his friends. His respect for her deepened when she aided and defended him and his friends in the search for Will. Mike even invited her to be his date to the Snow Ball, a offer which she happily accepted.
Lucas was initially suspicious of Eleven, dismissing her as a "psycho". Although Dustin and Mike made efforts to become friendlier, Lucas kept some distance from her, viewing her as a distraction from the search for Will. Eleven, lacking social skills and confidence, was unable to convince him that she was truly on their side. When Eleven was discovered to be manipulating the boys while they searched for the Gate, Lucas grew angry, accusing her of being traitorous. After Eleven ran away, Lucas had little interest in finding her. However, after Lucas realised that she was justified to keep the boys away from the dangerous forces at Hawkins Lab, his opinion of her changed. Following the kids' reunion, Eleven and Lucas apologized to one another, and remained friendly.
Dustin's initial attitude to Eleven lay somewhere between Mike's open-mindedness and Lucas's skepticism. He became considerably kinder to her after discovering she had “superpowers”, although he retained a degree of indifference towards her. After the incident with Lucas, he was quick to call her out on a questionable use of her power, though he later admitted that it was “awesome”. While it's unclear if he saw her as a member of the “party” at that point, he did assist Mike in looking for Eleven after she had ran away. After Eleven saved him and Mike from bullies, he proudly declared that she was their friend, and seemed to genuinely care about her from that point on.
Eleven's history with Dr. Martin Brenner runs deep: not only did he define her childhood, but he was potentially responsible for her very existence. Brenner had experimented on her mother Terry, who had volunteered to become a MKUltra test subject. While undergoing these tests, Terry was pregnant, something she apparently had no knowledge of, according to her sister Becky. After somehow discovering the pregnancy, Brenner took her away, raising her at Hawkins National Laboratory.
Throughout childhood, Eleven was treated harshly and severely. Brenner appeared to be Eleven's one and only source of social engagement, and thus she grew to be dependent on his attention. Brenner built himself up as a father figure, establishing a somewhat tender demeanor when in her presence. However, threat was present in even the most affectionate words he uttered, lurking just beneath the surface.
When Eleven perfomed well, Brenner would "reward" her with affection. When Eleven disobeyed him, she would be cruelly and disproportionately punished. Brenner's only interest in the girl was her extraordinary power; her physical or mental health was merely of tangential importance to his goal.
Her week away from the lab helped her see him for who he really was and when he returned to take her “home”, she rejected him.
Troy and James
When Eleven saw Troy and James bullying her friends, she instantly disliked them. After Mike stood up to Troy for insulting Will, she used her powers to make Troy "piss his pants" in front of his classmates, humiliating him. When Troy sought revenge and threatened to hurt Mike and Dustin, she used her abilities once again to push James to the ground and break one of Troy's arms. The two boys fled in terror; although they clearly didn't like Eleven, they had gained a newfound respect - and fear - of her and her friends.
Joyce became very protective of Eleven and treated her in a motherly fashion, likely the first relationship of that kind that Eleven had experienced.
Chief Hopper was an ally of Eleven. He rescued her and the boys from government agents, safely bringing them to the Byers house to meet with the others. Their relationship likely had little opportunity to develop, as they were preoccupied with saving Will. Hopper ultimately had to sell out Eleven in order to save Will, a decision he did not appear to take lightly. Hopper appeared to have some awareness of Eleven's status following her self-sacrifice, providing her with Eggo Waffles on Christmas Eve.
|Season One appearances|
|The Vanishing of Will Byers||The Weirdo on Maple Street||Holly, Jolly||The Body|
|The Flea and the Acrobat||The Monster||The Bathtub||The Upside Down|
- "Friends don't lie."
- "Goodbye, Mike."
- "No more."
- "Still pretty?"
- "Night, Mike."
- '"I understand."
- "The Gate, I opened it. I'm the monster."
Behind the Scenes
The initial basis for Eleven's character was formed from the Duffers imagining an escaped MKUltra test subject, along with being heavily influenced by E.T. However, they also wanted to keep an underlying sense of danger and instability, saying "Eleven isn’t a normal girl, and she’s no gentle plant-collecting alien either. She has unpredictable supernatural powers that will most definitely put our boys in jeopardy." As a result, they also incorporated elements from the anime Elfen Lied, as well as the 1988 anime film Akira, into her character, though with “less bloodshed.” It's also possible Eleven was based on characters from the works of Stephen King, such as Carrie White from Carrie, and Charlie McGee from Firestarter, although the Duffers have not cited these as specific influences.
In an interview, the Duffers revealed that the show was originally going to be more “R-rated”, especially concerning Eleven's powers. Ross said, "The Eleven character, the kind of powers she has and to have a young protagonist that’s violent — it’s not E.T. It’s not a happy situation. She’s killing people, and brutally murdering them."  This could imply that her character originally had a lot more in common with Elfen Lied, while the E.T. elements were added later to tone it down.
Out of all the roles, Eleven was the most difficult to cast due to her having to convey various emotions with little dialogue. The role also required staying in character even while not talking. The Duffers feared they wouldn't be able to find someone who could stay focused throughout an entire scene. However, when they met Millie Bobby Brown those fears vanished, with the Duffers even saying she has a "preternatural talent". To help ease her worries about shaving her head, the Duffers showed Millie pictures of Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road.
- She is extremely fond of Eggos.
- The clothes Mike gave her to change into the first night she stayed are the same clothes he was wearing the day before.
- While Eleven's age is never explicitly stated, Joyce mentioned that Terry had been looking for her daughter for twelve years, indicating she is 12 years old during the events of the first season.
- In the original pilot script she was only 10 years old.
- The pink dress she wears originally belonged to Nancy.
- The blonde wig she wore has a backstory—it originally belonged to Mike's Grandmother who died of cancer.
- In Chapter 8: The Upside Down, she is wearing Hopper's blue plaid shirt instead of her usual windbreaker.
- As evidenced by the drawing on her cell wall, she does know how to write, though the quality of her handwriting appears to be below average.
- While living in the lab, she owned a plush lion identical to the one Will had in Castle Byers. Both are similar to a stuffed animal that was owned by Sarah Hopper, though hers was a tiger.
- While she was watching the Wheelers' TV, the 1983 cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe appeared briefly on the screen.
- During a panel at Phoenix Fanfest, Millie revealed there was originally a scene of Eleven reading Nancy's diary. This scene was cut due to unknown reasons.
- She only says 246 words during the entirety of season one.
- She has a lot in common with Alessa Gillespie, a character from the Silent Hill series, which was one of the inspirations for Stranger Things. Both have supernatural powers and have lived abusive childhoods. It is also interesting to note that Alessa was most likely inspired by Stephen King's Carrie, which also could've been one of the inspirations for Eleven's character.
- El, her nickname, is also a Northwest Semitic word meaning God, as well as the name of a Canaanite god. This could be alluding to Eleven's role in defeating the Monster, as in mythology, Demogorgon is a god or demon associated with the underworld, and was even adopted by Christian writers as a demon of Hell.
- Before having a flashback, she reacts strongly to things that remind her of the lab's experiments. She appears to have one of these reactions while listening to Nancy's music box, however no flashback is shown.
- The melody that the music box plays is Brahm's Lullaby. In the room that Terry kept for Jane, there is a baby mobile that plays the same lullaby. This has led fans to speculate that Eleven reacted the way she did because she “recognized” the melody.
- It is possible that a flashback was originally intended to be shown but was removed, similar to the diary scene. Another possibility is that her reaction was simply one of surprise, since she most likely had never seen a music box before.
- The Void, the mental space she travels to while submerged in an isolation tank, was inspired by the 2013 film Under the Skin.
- There is a visual mistake in the scene where she splashes her reflection. When she looks at herself in the water, her reflection isn't flipped like it should be.
- Her reference to the scientist who raised her as 'Papa' is directly reminiscent of Elfen Lied's secondary powered character, the Diclonius Nana, whose name in Japanese also means 'Seven'. Unlike Eleven, Nana's relationship with her 'Papa', Doctor Kurama , is much more tender.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Six: The Monster"
- ↑ "‘Stranger Things’ Finale: Duffer Brothers Talk Cliffhangers, Death and Season 2" Variety. July 18, 2016.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Four: The Body"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"
- ↑ Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street"
- ↑ Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Seven: The Bathtub"
- ↑ Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Eight: The Upside Down"
- ↑ "‘Stranger Things’ creators explain it all about season 1" UPROXX. July 27, 2016.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "Stranger Things episode 2: The Duffer Brothers on finding their Eleven" Entertainment Weekly. July 16, 2016.
- ↑ "Stranger Things Was Originally Going to Be More R-rated" Vulture. January 9, 2017.
- ↑ ”Watch Stranger Things’ actress Millie Bobby Brown shave her head to become Eleven” Geek. August 22, 2016.
- ↑ ”Confessions From The Set Of Stranger Things Season 2” Refinery29. December 14, 2016.
- ↑ ”Stranger Things Millie Bobby Brown & David Harbour Panel Phoenix Comicon Fanfest ”
- ↑ "How many words does Eleven say in Stranger Things? One fan broke it down" RadioTimes. September 24, 2016.
- ↑ "El (diety) article on Wikipedia"
- ↑ "How 'Stranger Things' Created The Void" Inverse. August 2, 2016.
|Characters in Stranger Things|
|Articles may contain spoilers.|