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How Inception Inspired a Stranger Things 3 Episode

Magnus Jul 08

I just finished the third season of Stranger Things and I am literally screaming! It is still awesome.

One of the key things the writers of Stranger Things have done so well is developing the characters and story in a progressive, relatable way as we go along in the story. Also, no scene is a waste because they all in one way or another contribute to the story. And I think this is one of the many elements of a good story – Cohesive scenes that hold the plot together.

You should go see it. Here is an interesting fact I picked up on Twitter:

Sometimes, your favourite scene or sequence in a movie could be inspired by previous works but you might not notice unless the director reveals it in an interview or article. Other times you would notice. There is a sequence in the third season of Stranger Things that I believe was inspired by Christopher Nolan’s 7th film, Inception.

Warning: This article Contains Stranger Things 3 spoilers so please don’t read it if you haven’t seen it. I don’t want to ruin it for you.

A Dream Within a Dream

Shooting a scene that involves a high level of immersion seems to require more attention than other scenes because the director is taking the audience into an event within an event in a sequence and he or she wants to keep you, the audience glued to the story. This happened in Christopher Nolan’s inception when Cobbs had to go down into another layer of the dream (limbo, actually) so he could wake Saito up.

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Going into a dream within a dream (within a dream within a dream within another dream) is tricky because the viewers need to understand what is going on as you take them deeper on that journey. In Inception, Cobbs woke up at the beach after going down into another layer to save Saito.

In Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 6 (E Pluribus Unum) Eleven goes into the astral plane to communicate with Billy who sensed her presence and revealed he had been waiting for her. Eleven tries to fight him off but ended up going deeper into the astral plane and waking up at the beach. Just like in Inception. This is is the scene I believe, was inspired by Inception.

Inception Cobbs

Eleven could have woken up anywhere else but the directors chose the beach. The writers (and director of the film) tied that sequence perfectly into the story by revealing that Billy had a rough childhood; we got to witness the days he went to the beach with his mother, his abusive father and parts of Billy’s life he would never talk about.

Another similarity that particular scene had with Inception is about how both stories were dealing with the human mind and subconsciousness. Inception is a movie about characters who had the ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. That Stranger Things episode had Eleven enter Billy’s subconscious to learn about his childhood and how they influenced his future and decisions.

What Are Viewers Saying?

The third season is the best season so far. This is not just a singular opinion from me but from everyone who has seen it yet. I wouldn’t pay attention to the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes until another month or two. They are great by the way.

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Stranger Things Season 4

The ending of the third season left fans (and myself) in tears after the epic battle of Starcourt as the teenagers separated and the US government finally arrived to clean up the mess but a few questions are yet to be answered. The most important being how the Demogorgons made it to Russia. Remember how they originated from the Upside? What are the Russians even planning? Will Eleven get her powers back? Did she ever lose them? We’ll find out soon enough in the coming months.

Watch this space for updates.