Stranger Things Season 3 ended on a pretty emotional note. It closed with the apparent death of the beloved police chief Jim Hopper (David Arbour), who sacrificed himself to save the residents of Hawkins, Indiana. But at the same time, there were some hints and pieces of evidence that left fans believing he survived and would resurface in later episodes.
Viewers have been waiting for answers with bated breath following the dramatic ending and details have finally started to emerge. A new preseason trailer that just came out reveals what really happened to Hopper.
A recap of the end of ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3
The episode, The Battle of Starcourt, ends with the crew fighting the Mind Flayer. As the kids battle the beast in an atrium at a local mall, Joyce, Murray, and Hopper go underground and try to shut down a machine that was tearing open a wall to the Upside Down.
Hopper is knocked right next to the machine when he gets attacked by a Russian assassin. He eventually defeats the man by knocking him into the machine, but the impact creates a fan of electricity that traps Hopper between the device and the wall.
With time running out, he tells Joyce to trigger the fail-safe anyways. She obliges, closing the gate, and seemingly killing Hopper in the resulting explosion. The Mind Flayer also dies.
Although his body was never shown, Hopper is declared dead and heralded as a hero. At the end of the episode, Eleven discovers a letter he’d written her, which seems to be the perfect goodbye.
The theory that Hopper survived the attack
The theory stems from a post-credits scene that occurs on a Russian base, where prison guards are shown feeding an inmate to a Demogorgon. When selecting a prison, one officer says, “Not the American.” It prompted a theory that Hopper survived and slipped through the gate or that the Russians managed to get him in some way after the blast.
However, there’s also a theory that the American will turn out to be Dr. Brenner, Eleven’s evil “papa.” Dr. Brenner appeared to die in season one when he was brutally attacked by a Demogorgon, but it was confirmed in the next season that he’d survived the fight. Fans speculated on social media that he might now be working with the Russians, which would explain why they know so much about the Upside Down.
But a new update suggests the American is not Dr. Brenner
On Feb. 14, the series released a preseason trailer for the upcoming installment, showing many men working on a heavily-guarded Russian base. One of the workers? Hopper — in the flesh. He’s bald now and really pissed off, but, yeah, it’s totally him.
“We’re excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway — and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper,” creators Matt and Ross Duffer said in a statement from Netflix. “Although it’s not all good news for our ‘American’; he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human … and other.”
“Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long-buried, something that connects everything,” they continued. “Season 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and most frightening season yet, and we cannot wait for everyone to see more. In the meantime — pray for the American.”
It was previously announced that the show would extend beyond Indiana, so it’ll definitely be interesting to see where things go next. Stay tuned for more details on a potential release date and storyline.