David Harbour Says He Almost Lost Stranger Things Role To Big-Name Star

Stranger Things has got to be one of Netflix’s biggest culture-shaping hits ever. When the sci-fi/supernatural drama kicked off back in October 2016, it immediately catapulted its ensemble cast to stardom. The younger actors suddenly became famous, Winona Ryder’s career got a new lease of life and David Harbour was transformed from a reliable but under-the-radar performer into a veritable star. However, things nearly went very differently for him.

The Black Widow actor is now one of the most familiar faces on our screens, but his initial lack of fame put him at a disadvantage for landing the role of Jim Hopper, Hawkins’ cynical police chief, in the first place. While speaking at a New York Comic-Con panel (via CBR), Harbour revealed that a “big movie star” was the first choice for the part before it went to him after they passed. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“And I joke with the Duffer Brothers,” Harbour said. “There was one person that was offered the role of Hopper before me, who was apparently a big movie star, and occasionally when I am in such a self hatred mood that I Google myself, ScreenRant’s got all these articles that are always like, occasionally they’ll be like, ‘Ewan McGregor was off-,’ but I still don’t know who the actual celebrity — if anybody knows, let me know so I can thank them for passing.”

As Harbour makes clear, he’s not entirely sure that this is factual, but apparently the movie star who passed on Stranger Things might’ve been Ewan McGregor. While the Obi-Wan Kenobi icon is obviously a talented and versatile actor, it’s hard to imagine McGregor playing Hopper in the same winning way as Harbour has done, so creators the Duffer brothers definitely made the right call on that one in the end.

Fans have taken Harbour’s Hopper into their hearts, that’s for sure. Viewers around the globe were heartbroken when he appeared to die in the season 3 finale, and then overjoyed when it was revealed that he’d actually survived in the first teaser for season 4. Not that everything’s A-OK for him, as the character will be incarcerated in a Russian gulag when the next run begins.

After a protracted production period, work on Stranger Things season 4 has now finally wrapped. It’s set to arrive on Netflix sometime in 2022.