This article may contain spoilers for Stranger Things. Proceed with caution!
Pick your jaws up off the floor because it looks like Jim Hopper is back in Stranger Things. Although Daddy Jim seemingly ‘hopped’ off to an early grave in Season 3’s climactic Battle of Starcourt Mall, fans have never been convinced the Duffer Brothers would kill David Harbour’s brooding Chief of Police.
The first look at Season 4 confirmed Hopper is alive and *erm*, well, he’s alive, in Russia. However, there’s a wild theory that is NOT the Jim we’ve come to know and love.
There was a snowy trip behind the Iron Curtain in the “From Russia with Love” teaser, and when the new clip dropped online, it quickly started doing the rounds on Reddit.
We always knew Russia was going to be a likely locale thanks to Season 3’s post-credit tease of the American and the new tagline of “We’re not in Hawkins anymore”.
Several comments started floating around that this isn’t Jim — well not the one we’ve come to know and love over the years. Redditor u/chickenmcfried said, “Maybe it isn’t Hopper… but a Russian doppelganger”, which led to the hilarious coining of the phrase Hoppelganger.
It definitely seems like a bit of a marketing misstep to ruin your season cliffhanger and reveal one of your main characters is alive and well. Game of Thrones made us wait a full two years to find out Jon Snow didn’t lose his life at the hands of his mutinous Night’s Watch comrades.
That being said, the internet was already rife with various tin foil musings on how Hopper could return, and there’s no denying seeing Harbour’s shaved new look is all anyone is talking about right now. Not that Netflix needed any more hype, but the tantalising reveal that Hopper lived to fight another day is sure to stir up the marketing machine.
Still, there’s something in clone Hopper or Hoppelgänger rearing his head in Season 4 as the big bad. Remember when James Mangold’s Logan revealed X-24 was a clone of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine? Who could forget the tragic moment Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier was cut down by a murderous mutant that looked just like his BFF?
There’s always been a hint that there are more than just superpowered kids lurking out there. With Stranger Things reportedly heading into its endgame, it’s about time the Duffers amped up the sci-fi element of the series. Alongside the various Hopper theories, there are whispers that a whole team of Russian kids could be part of Season 4 and give Eleven a run for her money. This would also tie together with rumours Linnea Berthelsen’s Kali “Eight” Prasad will be back.
Having the Russians develop a cloning facility capable of churning out an army of Hoppers might sound a little far-fetched, but in a world where Dacre Montgomery, aka Bill Hargrove, can make a mullet and pornstache sexy, anything is possible.
Obviously, it would be much more simple if Hopper survived his brush with death at Starcourt. Even though we saw the Russian guards obliterated when Joyce Byers sealed the Upside Down, we didn’t actually see Hopper die. Elsewhere, what if they weren’t blown to kingdom come, but simply transferred to a different part of the world?
When the Season 3 finale dropped the cryptic hint of “The America” it looked a little too easy that this was Hopper. An altogether more ingenious idea is that the MIA Dr. Martin Brenner is being held hostage in Kamchatka. This theory held up pretty well, but the latest clip definitely hints it’s Jim locked in a snowy cell.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see what the writers are cooking up. It’s important to remember Stranger Things Season 4 doesn’t even have a release date yet. One thing’s for sure, Hopper’s new look is giving us some serious daddy vibes and we can’t wait to see how Harbour fits into the next run of episodes.
[Featured Image: Netflix]