Is Dr Brenner still alive on Stranger Things? Season 4 teaser confirms return
9 July 2019, 12:19 | Updated: 6 May 2021, 15:15
Brenner, played by Matthew Modine, was "killed" by the Demogorgon in season 1 but it's since been confirmed that he's still alive.
Stranger Things 3 left us with as many questions as it gave us answers. But there's one big question that will be sure to loom over our heads until season 4 makes its sweet way onto Netflix and into our lives: Is Dr. Brenner still alive, and does he have anything to do with the Russians and/or the American prisoner?
If you cast your minds back to season 1, you'll remember Brenner as the director of Hawkins Lab and the man who forced test subjects, including Eleven and Kali (Eight) from season 2, to participate in his mind power experiments to spy on the Russians.
At the end of season 1, it looked like Brenner was killed at the hands of the Demogorgon at Hawkins Middle School. However, much like Hopper, his death was never really confirmed on screen. (You know the rule... it's not real unless you see a dead body.) There also didn't seem to be any witnesses to the attack.
Since then, the Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy have confirmed that he is still alive – but where actually is he?
In season 2, Kali brings back Brenner as a projection to fire up El and he's also mentioned by another scientist who claims that he's still alive. He's not mentioned in season 3 at all.
So where is Brenner? If he's not dead, where could he have possibly escaped to?
One popular fan theory is that he is now in Russia, working with them and testing children over there. With the Russians' increased interest in gaining access to the Upside Down, and knowledge of the exact location of the gate in Hawkins, it seems like someone may have been feeding them that information.
It's possible that Brenner was either taken by the Russians to use for their gain, or he defected and ended up working for them. Either way, Brenner's understanding of the Upside Down, the Demogorgon and Eleven herself is clearly valuable to the Russians.
In the latest teaser trailer, we see the return of Brenner in what looks like a flashback to his days with Eleven and her 'siblings' at Hawkins Lab. We also hear him speak to Eleven and ask her if she is listening. It's not clear if that's also part of the flashback, or if it's a new scene where he's managed to contact her through the void.
If it is a new scene, it could hint that he's heavily involved with the Upside Down and will be a key player in the storyline regarding her powers that she lost at the end of season 3.
Only time will tell what Brenner is up to. Stranger Things 4 has no official release date just yet but you can watch the latest teaser at the top of the page.