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Major spoilers will be present! Please read at your own discretion.


Stranger Things Wiki
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 Mothergate",[1] also known as the "Rift" and simply "The Gate", was a gate to the Upside Down located in the underground section of Hawkins National Laboratory. The Mothergate was unintentionally opened by Eleven on November 6th, 1983; Eleven was directed by Dr. Brenner to make psychic contact with the Demogorgon, an action which tore apart the fabric of typical reality, forming a rift in the wall connecting to the Upside Down.

The Mind Flayer used the Mothergate as a means to spread the Upside Down's organic growth; the Gate's presence began affecting the nearby town of Hawkins, forming a elaborate series of tunnels beneath the town and spoiling crops. The Mothergate grew to a gargantuan size for a year, until November 5th, 1984, when Eleven used her abilities to seal it. However, this was only a temporary halt to the Upside Down's incursion, with further Gates being opened in 1985 and 1986.


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

Unlike the gates created by the Demogorgon, the Mothergate stayed open permanently with the Upside Down growing out of it, extending into the laboratory. By 1984, the Mothergate 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 Mothergate 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, 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.[2]

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.


During the events of March 1986, Dustin began referring to the 1983 Gate as "the Mothergate".

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.[3]

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."[4]

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."[4]

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.[5]



Locations The Upside DownCreel HouseThe GateHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryLover's LakePublic LibraryPortalsHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel SystemTrailer Park
Entities D'ArtagnanDemobat (species)The DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)The FlayedHospital MonsterThe Mind FlayerRussian DemogorgonThe Spider MonsterHawkins Tunnel SystemVecnaVines
The Flayed Billy HargroveHeather HollowayBruce LoweTom HollowayJanet HollowayDoris Driscoll
Visitors Robin BuckleyJoyce ByersWill ByersElevenSteve HarringtonDustin HendersonBarbara HollandJim HopperMax MayfieldEddie MunsonBob NewbyShepardLucas SinclairMike WheelerNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down EggDungeons & DragonsThe VoidThe KeysVecna's curseVecna's Mind Lair
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