After seeing the mid-credits scene in the finale of Stranger Things Season 3, fans are torn over the identity of the American the Russians are keeping locked away in their underground laboratory. If you need a refresher, here's what happened: In the middle of the eighth episode's end credits, the audience is transported back to the Russian facility from the beginning of the season. Two guards walk through a row of cells and stop at a door. One says, "No, not the American," before going to a second cell, grabbing a random Russian captive, and feeding him to a Demogorgon.
After this quick scene, fans only had one thing on their minds: who is the American in Stranger Things? Evidence could suggest several different characters behind that door, from the obvious to the outlandish. The only thing we know for certain is that the American, whoever they are, will play a huge role in the next season of Stranger Things.
The Duffers Have Confirmed Brenner’s Story Isn’t Over
One of the biggest clues that Brenner is the American comes from the series creators. The Duffers have suggested that viewers will be seeing Brenner again in one capacity or another, and though they didn't explicitly state that he will be a pivotal figure moving forward, they did hint that his story isn't over.
While speaking with IGN, Matt Duffer admitted that he and his brother left the Brenner storyline dangling at the end of Season 1 in order to keep things moving, but now it's time to see what he's been up to. He said:
I would say that if we were going to [take out] Brenner... as an audience member watching the show, if that was his [end], that would be very unsatisfying to me - when the monster jumps on him and we cut away. He would deserve much more than that as an ending. So yes, there's a possibility of seeing him again.
The American May Have Reached Russia Through The Upside Down
How does someone get from the US to an underground cell in Kamchalka, Russia, unless they were specifically nabbed by the Soviets? Either they were taken by the Russians at some point, or they arrived in Russia after sneaking into the Upside Down.
The series is unclear on exactly how the Upside Down works - some people just end up there, while others have to travel through a portal. In Season 2, Hopper can literally dig his way into the parallel dimension.
More than likely, the Soviet machine either created a portal between Hawkins and Kamchalka, or it pushed whomever was near the device in Hawkins into either the Upside Down or Russia.
'The American' Could Be One Of Dr. Brenner’s Other Psychics
Plenty of characters could be the American in the Russian bunker, but after the two most likely candidates - Hopper and Brenner - the choices get a bit fuzzy. Some fans believe that one of Brenner's test subjects is being held in Russia, which would explain how the Soviets are able to open their own door to the Upside Down.
Audiences have only met one of Brenner's other test subjects, Kali. Her psychic abilities allow her to place images in people's heads, so she may not have the capability to open the gate - however, there are likely other psychics whose abilities are similiar to Eleven's.
The Russians May Have Captured Murray And Put Him In The Bunker
Why isn't Murray Bauman in the Season 3 wrap-up that takes place a few months after the Battle of Starcourt? One group of fans is certain he was taken by the Russians and placed in their underground base after he and Joyce were rescued by American forces.
Some fans have noted that in a behind-the-scenes look at Will’s room, there’s a drawing of a hairy man in prisoner garb - vaguely resembling Murray - who’s chained to a wall. In the drawing, he's being rescued by what looks to be a child.