Is Dr Brenner still alive on Stranger Things? Fan think he's the American prisoner

9 July 2019, 12:19

By Katie Louise Smith

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: Who is the American prisoner?


The third season of the show ends with a shocking post credit scene that completely flips everything we just saw onto its head. After saying goodbye to Hawkins, we are thrown head first in to a snowy Russian base where we can see a row of cells, all containing prisoners.

READ MORE: Who plays Alexei on Stranger Things? Fans are obsessed with the season 3 character

It's then revealed that one of those cells houses an American prisoner, whose identity is kept hidden. Given what transpires at the end of the season (SPOILERRRRRRR), fans were quick to assume that it could be Chief Jim Hopper. But now, fans have a pretty solid theory that suggests it could actually be a character who everyone thought was dead: Dr Brenner, aka "Papa".

Stranger Things 3: Is Brenner the American?
Stranger Things 3: Is Brenner the American? Picture: Netflix

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 (008) 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. It also helps that the Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy have confirmed that he is still alive.

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...or so we think.

Brenner was last seen being attacked by the Demogorgon in Stranger Things
Brenner was last seen being attacked by the Demogorgon in Stranger Things. Picture: Netflix

While we're all dying for the prisoner to be Hopper, Brenner actually makes much more sense. Think about it: the Russians suddenly have an increased interest in gaining access to the Upside Down. They also somehow knew exactly where the most recent opening was located, something they would have absolutely no idea about had someone not told them.

It's entirely 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. (Then again, so is Hopper's... he's been in there twice and he knows how to open and close the gate thanks to Eleven.)

READ MORE: Is Jim Hopper still alive? An Easter egg from season 1 could hint at his survival

But the question still remains: if the last time we saw Brenner was him being pushed to the ground and jumped on by the Demogorgon, how did he end up in a Soviet prison cell? And ummm, if Brenner is the prisoner, then where is Hopper?

Not a clue but it's a solid theory and I'm sticking to it. Bye.