[Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 3].

Stranger Things has spawned a lot of pretty outlandish conspiracy theories.

From the proposal that the show takes place in the same universe as It to the idea that Chief Hopper's daughter was a lab experiment, speculation seems to be venturing closer and closer to Upside Down levels of absurdity.

Recently, one fan theory has surged in prominence, and it has to do with Winona Ryder. Or rather...Winona Ryders.

Think about it: The actress shot to prominence with the films Edward Scissorhands, Heathers, and Beetlejuice, becoming world-famous by the late 1980s. Stranger Things 3 takes place in 1985, and if Stranger Things 4 finds itself in 1986 or later, Winona Ryder would've already been starring in films. Thus, there's a good chance that the Stranger Things kids have heard of her. Maybe they'll have seen her in a film. Maybe they'll notice that she looks strangely like Will's mom.

Image via giphy

Some fans have proposed that the series will create some sort of time warp scenario in which, because of some wrinkle in time created by the Upside Down, the real Winona Ryder exists alongside Joyce Byers.

After all, many of the characters who have fallen into the Upside Down have encountered their doppelgängers in that glowing, dark universe. Could it be that Joyce Byers' younger doppelgänger might make her way onto the movie screens of the "right-side up" world? Could it be that she's somehow been working with the Mind Flayer this whole time?

Image via i-D Magazine

Perhaps the "real" Winona Ryder might even encounter the kids, and in a Bandersnatch-like scenario, she could inform them that a show called Netflix is recording and broadcasting their every move to the general public in the distant year 2019.

Some Mashable reporters actually asked one of the show's producers, Shawn Levy, about this very theory. "That's really funny, and I suppose it's possible," he said, adding, "Eventually, there will be an interesting new relationship between [the Stranger Things production timeline] and what's going on in the time period we are watching the show in... But as far as how those two timelines will sync up, I can't predict."

This Winona Ryder theory might be far-out, but it's not unmatched in scope. Some fans have proposed that Stranger Things is connected to the series Chernobyl, which makes sense when you think about the important role played by the Russian government in each show.

Image via Metro

Maybe the Chernobyl accident wasn't the fault of a nuclear power reactor at all. Maybe it was the result of a breach in the portal between our world and the Upside Down. According to one Reddit poster, "So did a nuclear reactor explode or did El have the greatest battle of her life?"

Other fan theories have been slightly less speculative. For example, many fans have noted that every character who dies has a name that starts with "B,"and of course, nobody thinks that Hopper is actually dead.

In some ways, Stranger Things seems designed to incubate conspiracy theories. According to The Atlantic, "Conspiracy theories, in fact, are in the show's DNA, a counterforce to all the cuddly Spielberg evocation and the tween-age bonding." That article cites the fact that before the series was called Stranger Things, it was entitled Montauk, after rumors about government-led psychological experiments on humans in military bases in Long Island, NY.

Government land in MontaukImage via Thought Catalog

"The show's story is built on the premise that various strains of delusional thinking are actually true," continues the article. "The government has conducted highly unethical drug tests on human subjects. Terrifying alien monsters are real. People can become possessed by dark external forces that absorb them into one diseased hive mind. On the rare occasions when these events are exposed, the military does cover things up."

As a proposed Area 51 invasion gains momentum in the real world (albeit the digital portion of it), Stranger Things seems to be brushing closer and closer to our reality. Some have noted that the Upside Down resembles a world ravaged by climate change. Or maybe it's indicative of the technology that, with the advent of Apple and other technologies, would soon erupt into the world, effectively ending the good old days of bike rides and walkie talkies. Could it be that the Upside Down is nothing more than...the future?

To find out the truth, of course, we'll just have to wait for Season 4.

Image via Vice

Music Features

On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com


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FILM & TV

REVIEW | What's Going On With The Heathers TV Reboot?

I wish I could give this trailer some Drain-O and put it out of it's misery.

Reboots are a hot thing right now.

We've got a Charmed reboot in the works. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is getting a spooky Netflix make-over. It makes sense - nostalgia is still really popular and people want to bank on that success. So, it makes sense that the 80s cult classic, Heathers - who just had a majorly successful musical open Off-Broadway a few years ago - would be getting something. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be one of the biggest dumpster fires I've ever seen.

For those who are unaware, Heathers was a Winona Ryder-lead black comedy about the rigid and often painful ways that High School hierarchies can ruin people's lives. In it, Veronica Sawyer (Ryder) is a part of the popular-and-evil clique, the Heathers. She meets and falls for bad-boy/unknown-psychopath J.D. (Christian Slater) After Veronica goes against the leader of the Heathers, Heather Chandler, the vile ringleader threatens to ostracize her and make her life hell. So, Veronica and J.D. accidentally killer and make everyone thing she committed suicide. And it gets crazier from there.

Oh Winona. (Giphy )

Heathers is a dark film, even by today's standards, but it works because it holds a mirror up to society. People watch it, and they see the dangers of a life dominated by social capitol - and how it can destroy people both literally and figuratively. And it manages to be a witty, quotable film to boot.

Flash-forward to now, and we are given a trailer for a Heathers-based TV show. It seems similar, but has some major changes, specifically with the Heathers. Heather Chandler is now a "body positive" mean girl, Heather Duke is now a genderqueer meanperson, and Heather McNamara is now Asian. They are still vicious, and attempting to be as quotable as their film counterparts. JD and Veronica are still very much, very much straight, and very much killing people.

And that's a huge problem.

The Heathers (left) and Veronica and JD (right)

Look, I'm all for positive representation, but is it really wise to have a show about two cisgendered white people killing minorities? You can say that I'm being reductive, or whatever, but that's what's happening in this trailer. And we've also got some really awful commentary by the adults, which is in-line with the original movie, but it just felt so gross. "The gays and jews are over?" Come on.

I'm not saying that there aren't bitchy fat people, or Asian people, or queer people. They definitely exist, but are they rampant enough to make an entire show killing them? Why is a cisgendered-straight-white couple doing it? Especially a couple that is as "Hollywood-attractive" as Veronica and Dean? It doesn't make any sense to me.

We live in a world where fat people are still being shamed for being fat, and where most queer and Asian people don't have a lot of positive representation. I haven't seen the show, so I can't speak for it, but I know Heathers. And this also seems to be taking a weird murder-y route? The entire thing leaves a very sour taste in my mouth, because the world we live in right now does not allow very much power to any of the people that the Heathers represent.

This is me drinking Drain-O so I don't have to watch this. (media.giphy.com)

Fat people are still shamed, and get bullied relentlessly for it. Asian people still have to fight to be noticed as a minority and to be represented in a real, not-stereotyped way. And queer people are still getting killed left and right on tons of different forms of TV shows - or we are treated as extensions of straight characters. And Heathers is shaping up to be a show that's about just that

I could be wrong - this show could be about the burgeoning power structures and how the world is changing. Minorities are given more of a voice, and cisgendered-straight-white people don't like that very much. I want to believe that this is the case, but for that to be possible, both Veronica and J.D. need to be painted in a much more negative light than we see them in this trailer.

I hate to break it to whoever thought this reboot was a good idea, but it's not queer, fat, or POCs that are making it hell for cisgendered-straight-white people. We live in hell every day - and I really hope this show isn't what it's advertising to be. But, I'm not getting my hopes up.

I've been burned to many times before. (Giphy)



Shann Smith is a freelance writer, screenwriter, playwright, gamer, and film/TV lover. When he's not working on his columns for Popdust, he's doing his best to create and consume as much media as he can!


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