Stranger Things will turn back the clock in Season 4 to tell Hopper’s origin story and, in doing so, solve one of the series’ most enduring mysteries.
Speaking to our sister pub Deadline about his presumed dead alter ego’s “resurrection,” the actor confirmed that viewers will “get to see some of Hopper’s deep backstory” in Season 4, while also getting an answer to a question raised back in Season 2: What’s inside those boxes Eleven discovered in Hopper’s attic labeled “Dad,” “Vietnam,” and “New York”?
“I’m really excited to let people see these really deep colors in him,” Harbour shared. “Each season we see a different side of him. Last season was… a bit wackier, and I loved playing that. Now [in Season 4] he is painted in a bit of a darker palette; he’s able to express some of these really deep things that we’ve… hinted at with the boxes in Season 2.
“It’s very epic,” Harbour added of Season 4. “There are monsters and horror and scares. There’s also some great Indiana Jones-type action.”
Harbour said shooting on Season 4 had been underway for “a couple of weeks” when the COVID-19 pandemic “swept in and we got shut down” back in March. As far as a timetable for restarting production, “We don’t really know what the future holds,” he conceded. “I don’t feel like anybody knows. We’re all playing it by ear. We want to get up and running as soon as possible.”
It was back in February that Netflix confirmed that Hopper’s death in the Season 3 finale was (as everyone assumed) a red herring. Season 4 will find him very much alive, albeit imprisoned in Russia (as seen in a teaser video). “It’s not all good news for our ‘American’” aka Hopper, the Duffer Brothers said in a statement at the time. “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,” the series creators added, “a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything. Season 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and most frightening season yet, and we cannot wait for everyone to see more.”