When we last left Hawkins, Indiana, it sure as hell looked like police chief Jim Hopper died in the explosion of the gate to the Upside Down hidden under the Starcourt Mall. A final scene in Russia, in which a guard obliquely referred to an American prisoner gave us hope, but at best Hopper’s fate was unclear what the hell had happened to TV’s best dad.
Now we have our answe thanks to the first trailer for season four of Stranger Things. Netflix dropped the clip today (Valentine’s Day) and it’s appropriately titled “From Russia with love…”
The 50-second clip opens with a sweeping aerial shot of a snowy Russian landscape. A group of laborers toils below, laying train tracks in a clearing in the middle of the forest. On the ground, ushanka-clad, Kalishnakov-wielding guards keep watch as the workers pound railroad spikes into the ground. The camera moves up to one laborer as he removes his hat, revealing a buzz cut. He wipes his brow and looks up and it’s Jim freakin’ Hopper.
We repeat: Hopper is officially alive.
Now this isn’t a complete shock, as there wasn’t another obvious person “the American” referenced in last season’s final scene could be. But it’s still heartening to know that season four of the show won’t be down a fan-favorite character.
“We’re excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway — and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper!” series creators The Duffer Brothers wrote in a note that came along with the trailer.
“Although it’s not all good news for our ‘American’; he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human…and other.”
That sounds like quite a pickle, but we doubt it’s something a guy who suddenly learned how to be a great dad to an adolescent girl with supernatural powers can’t handle.
Of course, you might wonder just what the hell is happening stateside, where the rest of the gang is presumably grieving him. According to the Duffers, “back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything….”
The brothers also say that season four will be “the biggest and most frightening season yet.” In other words: the return of Hopper isn’t the only thing to get excited about when Stranger Things returns on a yet-to-be-released date.