The Surprising Way Stranger Things 2 Was Influenced By Empire Strikes Back

Eleven training with Kali

Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 2. If you haven't finished binging the season, you may want to check out a different story.

Stranger Things finally returned for its second season over the weekend, inspiring Netflix subscribers to stop their plans to begin binge watching the highly anticipated new installment. The season was a major success that delivered a ton of heartbreaks and horror, although there is one episode that is proving to be very divisive among the fandom. Episode 7 "The Lost Sister" followed Eleven as she traveled to Chicago to find her "sister" who was also experimented upon at Hawkins Lab. And now it appears that The Duffer Brothers actually took inspiration from arguably the best Star Wars movie: Empire Strikes Back. Matt Duffer explained, saying:

We talked a lot about Empire Strikes Back. We talked about Luke going to Dagobah and meeting Yoda. Also, the idea of a dark Eleven, of Eleven being pulled to the dark side was an interesting idea. So a lot of that episode was what happens if Eleven is drawn towards this darkness and what can she learn about herself if that's the case.

While fans might not have been pleased about the timing of Eleven's big solo episode, you can certainly see the parallels with Empire. Only rather than a tiny green Jedi Master, Eleven was hanging out with a bunch of 80s murderers who are punishing those who worked in Hawkins Lab.

Like Matt Duffer's comments to EW imply, Eleven did seem to get a far great understanding of her history and her powers in "The Lost Sister". While Kali's psychic powers focus on her penchant for creating illusions, she understands how utilizing anger can help increase Eleven's own abilities. It's only with this tutelage and determination that the young hero is able to save Hawkins in the end, closing The Gate into The Upside Down and therefore keeping the Shadow Monster temporarily locked away.

The backlash about Eleven's capsule episode is no doubt exacerbated by its timing. Because this sudden departure from the main narrative happened just as the action was really amping up over at Hawkins. In Episode 6's cliffhanger ending, we saw as the demodogs emerg from the hole in Hawkins Lab in front of Hopper and Dr. Owens. Fans were then forced to wait a whole other episode before seeing what chaos erupted in the facility in the penultimate episode.

Some fans also believe that "The Lost Sister" might be the Duffer Brothers' way to test a possible spinoff for Stranger Things. Considering there were ten other kids experimented upon before Eleven, we could see Kali recruit more survivors with the help of Eleven's sight. This would allow Stranger Things' mythos to continue past the four or five seasons that are currently planned. We'll just have to wait and see, though.

Stranger Things 2 is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix. Be sure to check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.