Here’s What ‘Stranger Things’ Upside-Down World Almost Looked Like
Netflix’s Stranger Things relied much moreso on mood and tension than the “Demogorgon” monster at the heart of its central mystery, but the creature itself’s home almost looked very different. See for yourself in some alternate concept art for the “Upside Down” dimension, as well as what might have been for the otherworldly creature.
The so-called “Demogorgon” itself went through multiple iterations, some with more elongated limbs and elaborate quills. The final design ended up a bit more humanoid, perhaps to fit the season’s more subtle reveal, while co-creator Matt Duffer told Variety:
We had worked with a concept artist before — Aaron Sims — and he’s absolutely incredible. We talked a lot with Aaron about what we wanted this monster to look like. We talked about H.R. Giger, Guillermo del Toro, Clive Barker — we tried to find what about their monsters was so effective to us, they tended to be humanoid but there was something very bizarre about them. If you were going to encounter something from another dimension it would be very weird. We started to play around with it, and we ended up with the guy you see on the show.
Not only that, but Aaron Sims Creative also has a few new looks at concept art for the Upside Down dimension, a bit larger in scale than what we saw, perhaps given the story was originally set in Montauk, New York:
(Republished with permission)
For production reasons, filming moved to Atlanta, while co-creator Ross Duffer said of the alternate world’s design:
We wanted it to be like a dark shadow of our world. We knew it was something we could use practical things — we could build off of our sets and locations — it’s that mix of practical and visual effects. A lot of those vines and the growth we did build — a lot of them were moving and pulsing. When you do something like a full-on city street, visual effects has to take over at some point. And a lot of those practical effects were added as well. It was about, “What would our world look like if this was an evil shadow of it?” […]
The limitations can be helpful. We couldn’t build a full-on CG alternate world. There’s no way we could’ve afforded or had time to do it. In a lot of ways to us it felt practical because everything is there. It all feels more real because it is real.
We don’t exactly know what happened to the Demogorgon (or Eleven, for that matter), but it’s likely Season 2 would expand a bit on the creature’s origins, or at least give us a closer look at the Upside-Down world. In the meantime, all Stranger Things episodes are available to stream on Netflix right now, while we wait for a renewal.