When Netflix released the Stranger Things season 4 teaser in February, there were a lot of questions. But, by far, the most common was how is Hopper alive? David Harbor’s Stranger Things season 4 spoiler may answer that question—or at least have fans theorizing until the fourth season of Netflix’s sci-fi series comes out later this year.
In an interview with Deadline on Tuesday, June 21, Harbour—who’s played Jim Hopper, a the chief of the Hawkins Police Department, since season 1—opened up about the cliffhanger that Hopper is still alive after what seemed like his death in the Stranger Things season 3 finale, which saw his adopted daughter, Eleven, cry over a letter he had written for her before he seemingly passed away. In the interview, Harbour referenced Hopper’s late daughter Sarah, who died of cancer, as the reason why he was OK with his character dying in season 3.
“I’ve always sort of hung onto this idea that the only way to reconnect with that Sarah character, and the fact that the only villain in a sense was Hopper, because she had cancer. There was no bad guy,” he said. “I’ve always felt that he, in some sense, had to die, so I think they’ve crafted something really beautiful where in a sense he does sacrifice himself, and as we’ve seen from the teaser, he’s resurrected, almost in my mind, like a Gandalf the White.”
While Harbour didn’t reveal exactly how Hopper is alive (fans will have to tune into Stranger Things season 4 for that answer), he did confirm that the character is an American in a Russian prison, as seen in the teaser. He also told fans to expect lots of supernatural creatures in the upcoming season.
“Hopper is the American in that Russian prison, and to me, what happens in this season—first of all it’s very epic and very big in a Stranger Things way,” he says. “There’s monsters, there’s horrors, there’s scares, there’s also like great Indiana Jones-type action, but also we get to see some of Hopper’s really deep backstory that we’ve hinted at with the boxes in season two, and I’m really excited to let people see these really deep colors in him. Each season we see a different side of him, and last season he was sort of wacky…now I think he’s painted in a bit of a darker palette and he’s able to express some of these really deep things in him, which we haven’t really known yet. It’s been hinted at, but we don’t really know.”