The fourth season of Stranger Things is on the way courtesy of Netflix, but the streaming giant has kept a pretty tight lid on any plot details regarding what's to come following the mysterious post-credits sequence. Fortunately, some official footage confirmed fan suspicions that Jim Hopper did somehow survive what looked like certain death in the Season 3 finale. Still, his circumstances despite the survival clearly aren't too great. Now, David Harbour has spoken about how his character will be different after his "resurrection."
Speaking with Justin Long on Long's Life is Short podcast, David Harbour said this about collaboration with the Duffer Brothers, who created Stranger Things:
So a lot of times we’ll just come up with things. One of the things was like wouldn’t it be cool to have this particular arc with him, so it was something we came up with on the fly. As you’re going you’re like, ‘Can you get a little bigger?’ And you’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah, let’s try that.’ Going into this season it was really important to [lose weight]. But it happens because of something. Like he’s almost resurrected in this season in a different way and you’ll see, because you may have heard, the end of Season 3, something happens and there is sort of a resurrection. He spent a long time living a very different life.
Jim Hopper was a pretty large man during the first three seasons of Stranger Things, and the stress of raising a telekinetic teenage girl didn't exactly result in a carefree lifestyle. According to David Harbour, Season 4 called for a Hopper with a little less meat on his bones because of the "different way" he is "almost resurrected."
On the one hand, David Harbour could have been teasing that Hopper underwent some kind of process to be brought back to life, or at least to full health. The Soviets in the Season 3 post-credits sequence were clearly experimenting in some Upside Down-related way, with one unfortunate man seemingly being fed to a Demogorgon. Might something have been done to Hopper to bring him back that changed him physically?
On the other hand, which I consider more likely, is that Hopper lost some weight since he's in the hands of the Soviets who aren't exactly providing him with three square meals a day and a comfortable place to live. In fact, the little footage that has been released for Season 4 so far shows Hopper working in a chain gang in Russia, looking very cold and very different from Jim "Coffee and Contemplation" Hopper of the first three seasons.
In my mind, the most likely way he survived is still that he dove into the Upside Down in the instant before Joyce closed the portal in Hawkins, and the Soviets fished him out of the Upside Down via their own portal and put him to work. If Hopper's arc does keep him in snowy Russia for a while, it would make sense for Stranger Things Season 4 to show a lot less of Hawkins than before.
For now, you can relive all the Hawkins (and Hopper) action with the first three seasons of Stranger Things streaming on Netflix. Season 4 may not release quite as early as originally planned, which would make it another one of many series facing delays. Still, there are plenty of current and upcoming shows courtesy of Netflix, and you can find them on our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule.