Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 3. One of the biggest twists to come out of Stranger Things 3 is the fact that Eleven lost her powers (aside from Hopper seemingly dying, that is). It's unclear why she lost them or whether she'll get them back, but there are a few Stranger Things theories about Eleven that could help to explain what will happen from here.
First, it should be noted that Eleven has been drained after overusing her powers in the past, but it's always been temporary. This time is different — even three months after the Mind Flayer showdown at Starcourt Mall, her powers have yet to come back. While packing up to move out of town with the Byers (since again, Hopper is seemingly dead, leaving El once again parent-less), she becomes frustrated after she tries and fails to move a teddy bear from her closet's top shelf. Mike steps in to help, reassuring her that her powers will be restored. "They'll come back," he assured her. "I know they will."
Will they, though? Considering that El lost her powers after the Mind Flayer embedded one of its tentacles in her leg, it might be more than a case of overexertion. Let's discuss the possibilities.
The Mind Flayer Took El's Powers
In the first Season 3 brawl between the teens and the Mind Flayer, the gargantuan monster busted through the roof of Hop's cabin and pierced El's leg with one of its tentacles. A piece of it ended up in her leg and weakened her. Then, she was able to use her powers to — very painfully — lift it out of her. Although she removed it, the damage could've already been done.
The Government Will Help Her Get Her Powers Back In Stranger Things 4
As Redditor Samsquamptchnado points out, Eleven conveniently lost her powers just before Hopper's supposed death, making it impossible for her to try and locate him should he still be alive. The user theorizes that Stranger Things 4, then, will be about her regaining her powers in order to save Hopper, wherever he is. And that this will be "aided by the [government] allowing her to explore her power in a way she never has."
She'll Actually Become More Powerful
Samsquamptchnado continued that El reading the Wonder Woman comic could be "foreshadowing of her becoming more of a 'superhero'" in Season 4.
Or Her Powers Are Gone For Good
Based on interviews Millie Bobby Brown has done in the past, we should've seen this twist coming. In August 2018, she told Variety that she would love to explore what El would be like without her powers.
"I think Eleven should sacrifice herself in some way," she said. "That's how I kind of want that situation to go. I want to have her really sacrifice her powers. If Eleven loses her powers, is she as powerful just as a character? I think that would be very cool. I want to build her to be a strong person without her powers." So, maybe that's exactly what the show is doing, and El will just be a regular (but still powerful) teenage girl from here on out.
Whether or not El's power loss is temporary remains as murky and dark as the Upside Down, but as more theories and potential hints from the cast emerge, the process of elimination will (hopefully) provide the answers everyone's looking for.