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The Magic Behind Young Eleven’s Appearance in “Stranger Things” Season 4

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For fans of “Stranger Things,” season four has been somewhat difficult to process. At the beginning of our journey with Mike, Eleven, and the rest of the gang, the kids were so young. Some might even say too young to be the stars of a horror franchise. After three seasons and a long hiatus between seasons three and four, the “kids” that play these characters are now much older than their TV counterparts.

One of the most incredible special effects to come out of season four is young Eleven’s appearance in the multitude of flashback sequences that take place during Eleven’s years in Hawkins Lab. Young Eleven’s appearance brought about many questions about how the show’s creators, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, managed to film scenes where Eleven is young again, since Eleven’s actress, Millie Bobby Brown, is now 18 years old. Does Brown play young Eleven in these scenes, and, if so, how did they manage to make her look so young?

Who Plays Young Eleven in “Stranger Things” Season 4?

As it turns out, young Eleven is portrayed by a completely different person. The “Stranger Things” writers’ Twitter account confirmed the young actress Martie Blair portrays young Eleven. She had some coaching tips from Brown the entire time to really help capture the essence of Eleven at the young and fragile age of 8. That’s not to say that there weren’t some special effects in the works as well.

How Did They Make Martie Blair Look Like Millie Bobby Brown in “Stranger Things” Season 4?

While “Stranger Things” cast a younger actress to portray young Eleven, we as the audience never see Blair’s face on screen because she never appears unaltered on screen.

Special effects have come so far that altering the way an actor looks on screen is somewhat commonplace. When an actor is being aged down, the creators use a stand-in actor (Blair in this case) then superimpose an aged-down version of the show’s star (Brown) onto the stand-in. Think young Luke Skywalker in “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” He’s just one of several examples of aged-down characters in the Star Wars franchise alone. Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, stood in for a young Leia in “The Rise of Skywalker,” for example.

Just looking at Blair and Brown together and separately, it’s obvious the pair share a strong resemblance; the similarity makes the CGI aspects of having Blair resemble Brown as easy as possible.

Blair’s portrayal of young Eleven is brilliant, whether we knew it was her or not.

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