Stranger Things’ David Harbour claims Hopper ‘had to die’ because he was ‘happy’ when Joyce lost Will to Upside Down


DAVID Harbour has claimed his Stranger Things alter ego Jim Hopper got what was coming to him.

The Netflix sci-fi hit wrapped season 3 earlier this year and left Hopper’s fate up in the air.

Jim Hopper in stranger things
Joyce and Jim appeared to be closer than ever in season 3

The Hawkins sheriff was caught up in the explosion of the Upside Down portal, but a body was never found.

What’s more, in a post-credits scene two Russian soldiers are seen talking about a prisoner cryptically referred to as “the American,” hinting that Jim could be incarcerated abroad.

However, Harbour insisted that it makes sense for Hopper to die as part of a wider redemption story line.

In a new Fresh Air podcast interview with NPR, the actor admitted that the character exhibited a certain darkness in season 1 and now he was paying the price.

Stranger Things cast
David Harbour and Winona Ryder have become fast friends thanks to the show
Matt Winkelmeyer/FilmMagic

Stranger Things cast crying
Joyce decided to move her sons out of Hawkins at the end of season 3

He cited his response to Joyce losing Will to the Upside Down, tapping into his own grief at having lost his daughter.

“When Joyce comes and says that she’s lost her kid, there’s a sense in that – where Hopper is happy that someone else is experiencing the same pain that he is,” he explained.

“And I think in the same moment, he feels like such a piece of s*** because he felt happy at someone else losing their kid, that he sort of realises that, you know, he has to die in a sense,” he went on.

“And so the whole arc of the whole show for me has been this idea of sacrifice with him.”

Stranger Things Joyce
Joyce will no doubt be grappling with guilt in season 4, after setting off the blast Jim was caught up in

Harbour spoke about the darkest aspects of Jim’s personality

Harbour said that Hopper’s journey saw him engage with the lighter, more optimistic sides of his persona in season 3, in part due to his budding romance with Joyce.

He claimed show bosses were keen to ensure that his portrayal was multi-faceted and he didn’t become a grumpy cop stereotype.

“He’s shut down in a lot of ways, and I think they wanted to sort of open him up and see what happens because I can be very, you know, wacky and strange,” he went on.

“And I think we allowed Hopper to have some of that rom-com life to him in this big – you know, even down to his choice of shirt. He’s just got a certain colourfulness in the season.”

Winona Ryder will reprise her role of Joyce in season 4
Alamy Live News
Stranger Things
Stranger Things will return to Netflix late 2020

The comments come after show bosses confirmed that Hopper was out of the picture in season 4, despite the widespread comeback rumours.

The official Stranger Things Twitter account is known for teasing fans with all manner of clues and Easter Eggs, and they opted to reply to one fan’s plea of “tell us about Hopper.”

The post simply read: “Hopper is gone.”

Considering Hopper’s car was recently spotted on the set of season 4 and David Harbour has hinted on more than one occasion he’ll be making a comeback, it’s no surprise that fans were divided when it came to processing the message.

Stranger Things seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Netflix now.


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