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Stranger Things Wiki
This article is about the inter-dimensional doorway. For the episode, see The Gate (episode). For other uses, see The Gate (disambiguation).

The Gate, also known as the Rift, was a portal to the Upside Down located in the underground subsystem of Hawkins National Laboratory. It was unintentionally opened by Eleven during an experiment in which she made contact with the Demogorgon, an inter-dimensional creature.

In the year following its creation, the Mind Flayer used the Gate as a means to spread the Upside Down's toxic biological growth, slowly invading the town of Hawkins. It was eventually closed by Eleven in 1984, presumably severing the Upside Down's connection to the human world.

In 1985, a group of Soviet scientists sought to reopen the Gate using a device known as the Key. However, this plan was stopped by Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers destroying the device before the Gate was able to fully reopen.


The Gate was large, sprawling and consisted of an assortment of strange tendrils, membranes and toxic biological growth.

Unlike the portals created by the Demogorgon, the Gate stayed open permanently with the Upside Down growing out of it, extending into the laboratory. By 1984, the Gate had developed a second entrance-way, extending deep underneath Hawkins Lab. The entrance-way was gargantuan compared to the first, and was connected to an intricate series of tunnels. The Gate disrupted the local electromagnetic field, causing compasses to point toward it instead of the Earth's magnetic north.



The Gate cracking open the wall in Hawkins Lab.

On November 6, 1983, a test subject with psychic powers called Eleven was instructed by Dr. Martin Brenner to make contact with the Monster. She was placed in a sensory deprivation tank at Hawkins National Laboratory which allowed her to become immersed in a deep psychic state, amplifying her abilities. When Eleven touched the Monster, the Gate cracked open in the wall of the tank room. The opening allowed the Monster to travel out of the Upside Down and into their dimension. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Eleven escaped the lab.


The next morning, a local news report reported that power surges and outages had occurred in East Hawkins. This was most likely caused by the Gate's opening.

The area of the lab in which the Gate opened was immediately contained and quarantined. The following day, Dr. Brenner and several scientists went underground wearing hazmat suits and discovered that the Gate was expanding into the lab.

Dr. Brenner sent Shepard, one of his employees, into the Gate to investigate. Attached to a security line so that he could be pulled out in the case of an emergency, Shepard was soon attacked by the Monster. The Hawkins Lab workers were unable to pull him to safety in time, and he died.

Police Chief Jim Hopper broke into Hawkins Lab while searching for Will Byers and came across the Gate. However, he was knocked unconscious by the agents before he was able to explore further.

Lucas Sinclair, Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Eleven attempted to find the Gate using compasses, but Eleven directed the compasses away from the laboratory. Lucas continued the journey on his own but was forced to stop after he was unable to pass the wire fence surrounding the laboratory and saw the armed government agents.

Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper entered the Upside Down through the Gate in an attempt to find Joyce's son Will. They were successful and returned back to their dimension afterward.


Following the events of November 1983, Dr. Sam Owens took over as Director of Operations at the lab. While the previous events were successfully covered up, the Gate remained open. It eventually grew to an enormous size, with a series of tunnels stemming from it that sprawled beneath Hawkins. In an effort to contain the growth, the lab would periodically burn the biological matter seeping from the Gate. 

On June 28, 1984, the events of 1983 caught wind in Russia and the Soviets decided to open a Gate themselves. The Soviet Union carried out their own experiments in inter-dimensional travel by inventing a Key that would create enough energy in opening a gate. However, all of the Keys the Soviets built turned out wrong as the Gate would briefly open before closing and causing major energy outbursts. According to Dr. Alexei, he and the other Soviet scientists realized the Key was only one half of the equation, the location of the Key itself being the other important component as the Keys were unable to work properly in Russia. However, they theorized that a Key could function as intended in Hawkins, as even though the American Gate there had been closed, the fabric of space-time there was still healing, and therefore vulnerable to the Key Ray.


After being captured and taken to Hawkins Lab, Nancy and Jonathan were given a "tour" of the lab by Owens, which ended with the room containing the Gate. As Owens explained how the lab had been preventing it from spreading, a soldier in a hazmat suite entered the room and began burning the tendrils growing from the rift.

Hopper defends Eleven as she closes the Gate

Following a series of events that led to Eleven's reappearance and reunion with her friends, Hopper and Eleven together reached the Gate beneath the lab in order to close it. As Eleven used her powers to close the Gate, the Mind Flayer became aware of her presence, sending the remaining Demodogs to attack her. However, Hopper managed to shoot them down and successfully defended Eleven. Remembering all the traumatic events throughout her life, Eleven channeled all her strength to overcome the Mind Flayer's attacks and finally closed the Gate, presumably closing both entrances and severing the Upside Down's connection to the human world as well as killing all the remaining Demodogs in the process.[1]

Despite closing the Gate, during the Snow Ball event, the Mind Flayer was seen alive looming over the school in the Upside Down, seeking revenge on the Party.


After the closure of the Gate, the Soviet Union came to America and carried out a plan, purchasing properties all around East Hawkins that were near transformers, using them to siphon off energy from the town’s power grid. The mayor of Hawkins, Larry Kline was bribed by the Russians and built Starcourt Mall as a front for the Russians to create a new Key.


On June 28, 1985, the Russians manage to finish building the Key and thus successfully open the Gate, creating a power outage throughout Hawkins. Though the Gate was slowly opening, the Russians continued their work on it.

However, because of the Gate's small opening, the Mind Flayer re-established his telepathic link to a fragment of himself that possessed Will until being burnt out of him before the closing of the original Gate which left the fragment in a dormant state. The Mind Flayer then possessed swarms of rats and had them consume chemicals, in order to create himself a body with their biomass so he can act in the real world. The Mind Flayer, realizing he'll need more and bigger hosts, then possessed Billy Hargrove as his main host. Billy, under the Mind Flayer's control, captured his co-worker Heather Holloway and allowed her to be possessed. The Mind Flayer then possessed Heather's parents Tom and Janet Holloway, Doris Driscoll, Bruce Lowe, and more Hawkins residents over the next couple of days.

Behind the scenes

During development, the Gate went through several early iterations which were scrapped for feeling "too sci-fi." Ultimately, in order to make the Gate feel more grounded and slightly "disgusting", they chose a more organic design, making it resemble a membrane or bodily organ.[2]

Concept art of Eleven and Hopper facing the Mind Flayer at the Gate

The final showdown between Eleven and the Mind Flayer at the Gate in the season two finale was actually filmed on a sound-stage, with the massive Rift being added later on by the visual-effects team. Visual-effects producers Paul and Christina Graff stated that they "knew that the rift cavern was gonna be something like 150-feet, 200-feet tall" and the only thing they built was the half of the bottom with everything else being "pretty much a full CG environment."[3]

The team spent a great deal of time to figure out the proper lighting design that would be featured to match the battle, so as to make the environment look seamless. Regarding the scene where the monster became aggravated after Eleven started to disintegrate its tendrils and the rift started to glow brighter, Paul and Graff told that, "The lighting changes between it being the red glow that becomes more intense as she aggravates the Rift to the white light of it actually closing."[3]

Originally, the lighting change was intended to be all white. But the Duffers liked the "beautiful hellish" color of the Rift and so they decided to dial back to making it more of a reddish finale instead of a white-out finale during post production, with color-correction done to be more orange rather than all white.[4]



The Upside Down
Locations The Upside DownThe GateHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryPublic LibraryPortalsHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel System
Entities D'ArtagnanThe DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)The FlayedHospital MonsterThe Mind FlayerRussian DemogorgonThe Spider MonsterHawkins Tunnel SystemVines
The Flayed Billy HargroveHeather HollowayBruce LoweTom HollowayJanet HollowayDoris Driscoll
Visitors Joyce ByersWill ByersElevenSteve HarringtonDustin HendersonBarbara HollandJim HopperMax MayfieldBob NewbyShepardLucas SinclairMike WheelerNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down EggDungeons & DragonsThe VoidThe Keys
Articles may contain spoilers.