‘Stranger Things’: The Biggest Clue Hopper Is Still Alive

Now that we’re sure Stranger Things is coming back for a fourth season, we’re waiting to find out about what we’re not sure of: What in the world happened to Hopper (David Harbour)? 

Well, the answer to that is obvious. He joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now he’s going to fight Scarlett Johansson. Oh, you want to know what happened to Hopper, not David Harbour.

Well, of course, nobody’s saying much, but the YouTube channel New Rockstars have impressively taken a 53-second teaser trailer and analyzed it for 8 minutes and 21 seconds. 

What does the ‘Stranger Things’ teaser reveal?

David Harbour attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations with "Stranger Things" at SAG-AFTRA Foundation Screening Room.
David Harbour | Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

As you’ll recall, Hopper vanished in the final episode of season 3 after he signaled to Joyce to shut down the machine controlling the gate to the Upside Down. When she does so, Hopper apparently disintegrates in the resulting blast. He is declared dead and hailed as a hero, but his body is never found. A post-credits scene mentions an American being held in a Russian cell. Could it be Hopper?

Erik Voss of New Rockstars points out in his teaser analysis that after the Stranger Things title flickers, we see it in the creepy netherworld of the Upside Down. And although the image is brief, it has quite a few clues.

You can see Hopper’s cabin on the left, with the porch light flickering off. A clock can also be seen with an apparent smear of blood. Voss theorizes the music of the clock chime could be a clue that Hopper is alive, but that’s as stretchy as Silly Putty. There are better clues on social media. 

What does David Harbour himself ‘say?’

Harbour hasn’t said anything much about his character, and now that he’s tied into two webs of secrecy with Stranger Things and Black Widow, he has to learn to be artful about keeping secrets, and he’s apparently done so on his Twitter. 

His profile banner image is a drawing of Hopper and Joyce that’s … wait for it … upside down. That strongly suggests that either Hopper escaped into the Upside Down just before the explosion, or that the explosion somehow sent him there. 

Even more cleverly, Harbour’s changing avatars spelled out the phone number 618-625-8313. If you call that number, you hear the voice of conspiracy nut Murray telling Joyce he wants to talk to her.

He says: “It’s not good or bad, but it’s something.”

Helpful as ever. But aside from these clues, Harbour has been mostly silent on Twitter these days, having not actually tweeted for two months. Netflix and Marvel must have really dropped their hammers. 

When will “Stranger Things’ be back?

While season 4 has been confirmed, a return date has not. Most likely this is because the scripts aren’t finished yet, but if past years are any indication, we may be waiting a while. As Radio Times points out, season 2 came 15 months after season 1, and season 3 came 20 months after season 2. So if they follow that pattern again, we might not see season 4 until at least a year from now. 

There has been some speculation that season 4 would be the last one, but this has been neither confirmed nor denied. The Duffer Brothers, the creators of the show, have indicated they might stop after four seasons, but producer Shawn Levy said: “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

In addition to Stranger Things 4, the Duffers have a new lucrative deal with Netflix that opens them up to other projects, so they may be itching to move on.