The first thing we ever found out about Stranger Things season 4 was that it would bring Jim Hopper back, with a teaser clip – released in February 2020 – confirming that the Hawkins sheriff was still alive after his apparent death. He hasn’t got off scot-free, though, as he’ll be imprisoned in a Soviet gulag when the new run begins.
As you’d expect, then, season 4 will be a big one for Hopper, and star David Harbour has now teased what we can expect from the fan favorite when the Netflix smash eventually returns to our screens. While speaking to Collider about his incoming Marvel movie Black Widow, Harbour promised that Hopper will have a “rebirth” in the upcoming batch of episodes, which he compares to the transformation of The Lord of the Rings‘ Gandalf the Grey into Gandalf the White. What’s more, we’ll get to really dig into the character’s backstory, too.
“He’s been, as we’ve seen, he’s in this Russian prison, so we get to reinvent him in a sense. He gets to have a rebirth from what he had become, and we’d always sort of planned this almost resurrection of you have Gandalf die, Gandalf the Grey re-emerge, and I’m really interested in this resurgence of him,” Harbour said. “We get to explore a lot of threads in his life that have merely been hinted at that we get to see a lot more of. And there’s some real surprises that you know nothing about that will start to come out in this and play big as the series goes on.”
Speaking more generally about season 4, Harbour labelled it as his personal “favorite,” describing it as “bigger” in terms of the geographical scope of its story, but also in how it will start to put the pieces in place for the show to have a “definite ending at some point.” Exactly when that will be, however, is still unknown at this stage.
“It’s bigger, that’s the first thing. In scope, in scale, even in the idea that we’re not in Hawkins anymore,” Harbour explained. “We, locale-wise, we’re bigger. We’re introducing new stuff, but we’re also tightening and wrapping up in a certain direction to make it have a clear, clean specific, and definite ending at some point, which I can’t really talk about.”
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While Hopper’s going through a rebirth of sorts in Russia, things will be getting heavy back home in Hawkins, too, with other promos teasing the shocking comeback of Eleven’s “papa” Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine). Set photos have also hinted at Millie Bobby Brown’s telekinetic heroine being put through the ringer. It’s no surprise, then, that this run has been called the “darkest” one yet.
Production is still ongoing on Stranger Things season 4 and is likely to conclude later this summer. According to Mike Wheeler actor Finn Wolfhard, that means we shouldn’t anticipate it arriving on Netflix until sometime in 2022.