‘Stranger Things’: Could Dr. Brenner be ‘the American’?

One of the most devastating moments in Stranger Things Season 3 is those few seconds when Joyce (Winona Ryder) has to decide to close the gate, losing Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in the process. It was hard to imagine Hawkins, Indiana, without its rough but sweet police chief.

Thankfully we didn’t have to for long. In a mid-credits scene, a Russian guard says “No, not the American” when discussing who would be the next meal for yet another monster from the Upside Down. Most viewers immediately assumed this was Hopper. In a teaser trailer released in Feb. of 2020, it was confirmed that he was still alive. Now, fans are beginning to wonder if Hopper wasn’t “the American” after all.

Matthew Modine as Dr. Brenner in 'Stranger Things' Season 1
Matthew Modine as Dr. Brenner | Netflix

Some fans believe Dr. Brenner is ‘the American’

Many people believed we had seen the last of the nefarious Dr. Brenner in the Stranger Things Season 1 finale. He was attacked by the Demogorgon, which would usually lead to a pretty gnarly death. However, audiences never saw his body, and we all know what that means, right? No dead body, no certain death.

He’s made plenty of appearances in flashbacks over the years, but now some fans believe that he’s actually locked up in a Russian prison. Most of us who watched the mid-credits scene at the end of season 3 automatically assumed “the American” the Russian guard was talking about was Hopper. We had just seen him disappear, so, of course, he was top of mind. Now fans are beginning to think of other possibilities for the identity of “the American,” and Dr. Brenner is on that list.

One Reddit user said this, “‘The American’ isn’t Hopper, but Martin Brenner, ex-lead scientist at Hawkins Lab. Look at it this way – why would Hopper, a regular labourer forced to work for the Russians in building a railway, be kept in a top-security prison in a highly important Russian base in Kamchatka? The scenery is wrong too – we know that the Kamchatka base is surrounded by mountains from the opening scene of ST3, but there’s no mountains where Hopper and the other prisoners are working.”

RELATED: Could ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Continue the B-Name Curse?

How Dr. Brenner’s return could work in future seasons

Even though we’ve been lead to believe that Brenner is gone for good, that’s not to say he couldn’t easily make his way back into the fold and begin causing problems for Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) again. He was attacked by the Demogorgon in the first place because he was insistent on capturing Eleven again.

His work with MKUltra was never fully explained, and that’s an area the creators of the show could work back in. We also know there are at least 10 other subjects with similar capabilities to Eleven’s. We explored one of those subjects, Kali, in Stranger Things Season 2, but we’re sure fans want to learn more. 

RELATED: ‘Stranger Things’: Eleven’s Connection to the Upside Down

No details about the plot of ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 yet

Nothing has been leaked thus far about plot lines for Stranger Things Season 4, but there are plenty of clues to mull over until its premiere in 2022. In the meantime, we’ll have to be satisfied with putting together our own theories about the next problems Will and the rest of Hawkins will have to face.