13

In the first season finale episode of Stranger Things, we saw the demogorgon attacking Dr. Brenner. So, it was presumed that he is dead.

However, in S02E07 aka Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister, a lab technician, Ray, who used to work at Hawkin's Lab, says that Brenner is still alive and that he would lead Kali and Eleven to him, so they can avenge what he did.

Here is the conversation,

Ray: No, wait! No, wait! Wait! I can help. I can help you find him.

Kali: Find who?

Ray: Brenner! I can take you to him.

Eleven: Papa is gone.

Ray: No, he is alive.

Kali: Do not lie to us, Ray.

Ray: I'm not lying! [SOFTLY] I swear [WHIMPERING] He trusts me. I'll take you to him.

So, he says that Brenner is alive despite what we saw in that final episode.

So, the question is, was he lying to save himself or is it really true that Dr. Brenner is still alive? Is there any in-universe or out-of-universe explanation for this?

15

No, Ray wasn't lying. Yes, Dr. Brenner is still alive, according to the producers of Stranger Things. Apparently, he will have a role to play in coming seasons.

In a recent interview with Collider, Shawn Levy confirmed that the man wasn't just lying to save his own skin. source

Also confirmed by Screenrant:

Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy confirms Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) is alive after the events of season 2.

Some more details from the interview on Collider:

So was the scientist lying? Apparently not. Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with Stranger Things executive producers Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen for an extended conversation about the new season, and they confirmed that yes, Brenner is still alive,

But that feeling of the world getting a bit bigger especially coupled with the fact that it now seems clear that Brenner is alive, Brenner is out there.

So it seems clear that Brenner still has a major role to play, as do other test subjects from the laboratory.

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