‘Stranger Things’: The Biggest Clue David Harbour Will Return in Season 4

The rumors about cast members returning for a fourth season on Stranger Things have begun after one (spoiler) death in the show this year. If you haven’t seen the complete third season of Stranger Things yet, look away from the next paragraph, even though this particular death is far from official.

In the final episode, we found out Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper might have been vaporized when the Russians set off their key machine to open a gateway to the Upside-Down. Because no one saw him officially die, the general consensus is he maybe he survived.

Nobody is saying for sure yet, but all reports say David Harbour, who plays Hopper, is under contract to return for a fourth season. Explaining away death here may slightly resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The clue of the Russians having an American in prison

David Harbour
David Harbour | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

If you stayed tuned to the end of that episode where Hopper supposedly dies, there’s a post-credits scene indicating the Russians have an American in custody. Fans are quick to note it likely means Hopper is still alive and under control of the Russians.

Those too young to remember when Russia was our truly sworn enemy in the 1980s will know this is a big deal and could easily create an international incident. How such a thing may work out in the fourth season won’t be known for another year or two.

The plot with the Russians was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, yet the allusions to what’s happening today with our tense Russian relations can’t help but be noticeable. We hope they’ll draw some parallels between the 1980s to today, something other shows taking place then don’t always attempt to do.

In the world of Stranger Things, though, anything is possible. Bringing Hopper back may mean dealing with tricks the MCU now utilizes by dipping into the hard sci-fi pond.

Will death ever be final in the ‘Stranger Things’ universe?

It’s fairly clear Stranger Things intends to use death as a plot device on occasion to create shocking outcomes. As in the MCU, however, it doesn’t mean there’s a complete finality to someone losing their life.

When you have a show utilizing truly strange things, anything is possible. Only time travel seems to have been avoided so far in Stranger Things outside of probably not being completely off the table.

For fans, this should give them better feelings if one of the main teen cast members ever dies. You can almost bet one of them will eventually while still leaving some ambiguity on whether they couldn’t be brought back in some form.

With Harbour being a critical part of the cast chemistry, it’s more than obvious they won’t write him out of the show completely. Same can be said of Millie Bobby Brown unless she decides to leave the show before her fellow friends do.

If there are numerous deaths at the end of ‘Stranger Things’, it might be like the MCU

Stranger Things might wrap up after a fifth season, according to rumors and comments from the Duffer Brothers. Should it happen that way, be prepared for the Upside-Down enacting enough trouble to kill off a large swath of people. Part of this may include the Russians as well as they encroach more on Hawkins.

Leaving things open to anyone departed still being alive would be the best way to end the show since bringing finality to characters never settles well with fans. Marvel has set a new precedent on death in fantasy/sci-fi stories so it always leaves things open to reunions or cameos down the line.

Let’s also hope there’s some plain old practicality to it. With the Russians now involved, it may entail some simple mystery and international intrigue to unravel how people can go missing for a long time and then suddenly turn up alive.