‘Stranger Things 4’: El’s Uncanny Resemblance to Joyce Sparks Interesting Fan Theory About Her Appearance

Nov. 6 is Stranger Things Day, and Netflix has celebrated with a brand new Stranger Things 4 trailer. The video offers a glimpse at El’s life in California with the Byers family following their big move at the end of season 3, and in typical Stranger Things fashion, there’s plenty of action. However, some fans can’t help but focus on one detail: El has developed a seriously uncanny resemblance to Joyce Byers. Why did the teen change her style? Here’s what one fan theory says.

[Spoiler alert: The following story contains minor spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3.]

Millie Bobby Brown as El in Stranger Things 3
Millie Bobby Brown as El in ‘Stranger Things 3’ | Netflix

El looks exactly like Joyce Byers in the newest ‘Stranger Things 4’ trailer

As fans may recall, at the end of Stranger Things Season 3, El (played by Millie Bobby Brown) went into Joyce Byers’ (Winona Ryder) care following the alleged death of Jim Hopper (David Harbour). Joyce decided to move her family, including El, Will (Noah Schnapp), and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), to California, splitting up the gang in Hawkins, Indiana.

Netflix’s latest Stranger Things 4 trailer, “Welcome to California,” features El narrating a letter to Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard). She explains that she’s adapted to life in her new city, but she can’t wait to see Mike during spring break. In one scene, El sits in a classroom with her new look: long brown hair with bangs, a T-shirt, and a flannel on top.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because fans have already seen that look on an older character — Joyce. El might not be Joyce’s biological daughter, but she sure looks it in the new trailer. Check out the video below.

El’s style matches her caregiver in every season

El’s style has come a long way since Stranger Things Season 1. When Mike first took her in, she stuck with some basic sweats, wearing outfits Mike picked out for her. By season 2, she grew her hair into a short curly bob and rocked jeans and flannels until she met Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who briefly gave El a goth edge. In season 3, El added more color to her ensemble and embraced ’80s fashion with funky-patterned shirts, thanks to help from Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink).

Many fans have loved El’s transformations, but they’ve also noticed something: she dresses like her caregivers. In a Reddit discussion of the trailer, some noted that El’s resemblance to Joyce is just the latest example.

“El dresses like whoever takes her under their wing. She wears Mike’s clothes in 1, looks like Hopper and then Kali in 2, and then Hopper and Max in 3,” one fan wrote.

Some fans think El’s style is symbolic

As for why El seems to follow this pattern, there’s no true explanation. However, one fan pointed out that it can be common for children to take on the styles of their parents and others close to them. Another person furthered this theory by suggesting that El wants to fit into a family.

“I think it’s meant to be symbolic – El desperately wants to be part of a family. She dressed like Hopper as she was getting to know him/bond with him. Having her now look/dress like Joyce makes me think (hope??) we will see them start bonding in a mother/daughter way this season,” the comment read.

“I also am curious how close she is with Joyce vs. Hopper because I think that will also tell us a lot and add to her clothing choices. Like, if she latches onto her [after] her belief that Hopper is dead, that would make sense to me,” another user added.

Fans will have to wait and see how El’s fashion sense develops in Stranger Things 4. There’s no release date yet, but stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet to see when the announcement finally arrives.

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