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While Stranger Things may not return for Season 4 any time too soon, Netflix just dropped some footage that both reveals Hopper's fate and raises a whole bunch of questions for fans to ponder during the rest of the wait for new episodes. Season 3 ended with Hopper seemingly dead after Joyce had to activate the device that would close off the Upside Down in Hawkins and also kill anybody in the room, but even before the post-credits sequence that revealed the survival of a mysterious "American," it was hard to believe Hopper dying and staying dead in just the third season.
We're definitely not in Hawkins anymore after this Hopper Season 4 teaser! Kudos to Stranger Things for revealing Hopper's fate before it can be spoiled online. The teaser revealed that Hopper is stuck in Russia, being forced to work on a railroad in the snow, along with a bunch of other laborers while armed Soviet guards patrol. His head and mustache are also shaved (which should have made David Harbour happy), but he also looks very cold. So, now that we have something significant to go on, let's jump into some questions after that killer Hopper footage!
How Did Hopper Survive?
First and foremost: how on Earth did Hopper survive the end of Season 3? While it may have been hard to believe that Stranger Things would kill off its top-billed male actor, it was hard to justify how Hopper could have survived being in the room where the device clearly destroyed everything else and he clearly wasn't left behind. The most obvious way for him to live would have been if he dove into the Upside Down before Joyce closed the gap on the Hawkins side, and that may be what happened. But will it really be something so straightforward that many fans figured it out shortly after Season 3 went live?
Is Hopper Definitely The American?
Along those lines, is Hopper definitely the unseen American being held captive by the Soviets in Stranger Things Season 3's post-credits sequence? The Season 4 teaser footage indicates Hopper is just another grunt working on the railroad, which may not indicate the special status the "American" was receiving at the end of Season 3, and many fans have speculated that a not-so-dead Brenner is actually the captive American the Soviets didn't want fed to the Demogorgon. Sure, all signs point toward Hopper as the American since he's, you know, an American currently in Soviet hands, but we may not want to take something so obvious as fact.
How Much Hopper Are We Going To Get?
If Hopper is just working on the railroad somewhere in the Russian tundra, how connected to the main plot will he actually be? Will this be a case of Hop spending most of the season separate from the rest of the cast, a la Eleven in Season 2? While Hopper is likely the closest main cast member to this latest gate to the Upside Down, he's not exactly Chief of Police in Soviet Russia. My current theory is that Hopper will be the character whose origin story is told via flashback in Season 4, which would account for some screen time. But how much can we actually get while he's in Russia?
How Much Will The Rest Of The Cast Be Involved?
Stranger Things Season 3 split up a lot of the cast by the end rather than just sending Hopper to Soviet Russia. Joyce took in Eleven and moved away from Hawkins with Will, Jonathan, and El. Nancy and Jonathan were still in a relationship and can drive (unlike Mike and El), but that's not a terribly tight bond to keep everybody on the American side tied together. If at least one major part of the plot is set with Hopper in Russia, the strange things seem to have moved on from Hawkins, and Joyce and Co. aren't exactly globe-trotting mystery solvers, how much will the whole cast be involved?
How Can Hopper Get Out Of This?
Hopper managed to pull off what seemed impossible more than once in the first three seasons of Stranger Things, but that was when he had a certain degree of power as Hawkins Police Chief. Even when his primary purpose was mostly to chase bad guys and take a punch without going down for the count, he was a leader and drove the plot. Now he seemingly has no power as one of the grunts being overseen by a bunch of armed Soviets. Hopper doesn't even speak Russian! How will he get out of his current situation without a lot of help? Indiana is a long way from the Russian tundra.
Is The Demogorgon Involved?
Most of the Hopper teaser simply reveals Hopper's new circumstances in snowy Soviet Russia, but the footage includes something familiar to Stranger Things fans right after it fades to black: the snarling of the Demogorgon. The Season 3 post-credits sequence revealed the Soviets have a Demogorgon of their own. If Hopper is "the American," then perhaps the Soviets will want him for his expertise as well as his ability to swing a pickaxe and build their railroad. Is the Demogorgon in Russia from the end of Season 3 involved in Hopper's plot in Season 4? Or was the Demogorgon snarling at the end of the teaser just included because this is Stranger Things?
In case you missed the Demogorgon snarling at the end of the killer Hopper footage (or just want to see it all over again), check out the clip below:
Unfortunately, Netflix has not yet announced a premiere date for Stranger Things Season 4, but we can make some educated guesses based on this footage and the releases for the most recent seasons. Although Season 1 released in the summer of 2016 despite being set in the late fall/early winter, that was before anybody knew Stranger Things would become a global phenomenon.
Season 2 was set on and around Halloween, and released on October 27, 2017. Season 3 was set on and around the 4th of July, and it released on July 4, 2019. The fourth season will seemingly debut at some point in 2020; does all the snow in the Hopper footage indicate that the new season will be set in the cold season and release around the same time? Sure, snow in Russia doesn't mean snow in the midwestern United States, but maybe Season 4 will be set around Christmas, like Seasons 2 and 3 were set around holidays.