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Things looked bleak for Sheriff Jim Hopper in the season 3 finale of Stranger Things. But according to David Harbour, the character will experience a compelling Gandalf-style rebirth in the upcoming season. 

David Harbour: Stranger Things
David Harbour in ‘Stranger Things’ | Netflix

Sheriff Hopper is alive in a Russian prison in season 4 of ‘Stranger Things’

The last time we saw Hopper, he was trying to close the portal to the Upside Down and ended up in the middle of a major explosion. But somehow, he seems to have made it out alive. 

As teased by Harbour in an interview with Gold Derby, in Stranger Things season 4, the Hawkins Sheriff will mysteriously wind up in a Russian prison. And his character will go through a much darker journey this time around. 

“The new season is…for my character very deep and profound, and moving and interesting, and very different from last season,” the actor said. “Last season had this dad vibe to it. It had all this different color and life — even that shirt, and like the humor and stuff.”

“And this season, he’s in a Russian prison with a shaved head,” Harbour continued.
“He’s gonna go on a much darker journey, and I’m really excited for you guys to see that.”

David Harbour says Hopper will have a Gandalf-like rebirth in ‘Stranger Things’ season 4

Lord of the Rings fans can agree that one of the most thrilling moments of the book and film series was Gandalf’s reappearance. The old wizard was presumed dead after fighting the Balrog. But he later emerges alive and well and much more powerful than before. 

And when talking about Hopper’s story arc in Stranger Things season 4, Harbour referenced Gandalf’s rebirth. And he suggested that the Sheriff would undergo a similar journey and reemergence. 

“I can talk about Hopper,” Harbour told Collider. “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 dies, Gandalf the [White] re-emerge, and I’m really interested in this resurgence of him.”

“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,” the actor continued. “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.”

David Harbour admits this is his favorite season

Harbour’s character evolved significantly from the first season of Stranger Things to the last. He’s gone from tough guy Sheriff to a father figure for Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). 


‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Is Setting Up Series Finale, Says David Harbour

But the actor teased that season 4 will be more significant in terms of action and scope for Hopper. And he suggested that’s why it is his favorite season yet. 

“I guess I say this about a lot of seasons, but it’s my favorite season, in the sense that [Hopper is] at his purest, he’s at his most vulnerable, in a sense,” Harbour said in his chat with Collider. “I just love it. The scripts always get better — Like I feel it’s a big, beautiful season. I can’t wait for people to see it.”