Stranger Things messed around and dropped a Season 4 teaser on Friday, which revealed brief but stunning footage of our beloved Jim Hopper in Russia.
It appears the former police chief of Hawkins, Indiana, is in some sort of labor-intensive camp, working away on a railroad. So, what does that mean for Stranger Things 4‘s Soviet Union storyline?
No better time than now to speculate without any further information. Let’s go!
Theory: Hopper escapes his initial prison
In the post-credits cliffhanger of Stranger Things 3, a prisoner is dragged to the depths of a secret Russian lair. He then meets a bloody death with the tulip-faced demogorgon. Before this, one of the guards wants to take a different prisoner down, but his comrade says, “No, not the American.”
Now, we don’t know who that American is, but in light of Friday’s teaser trailer, it’s pretty safe to say, um, yeah it’s Hopper.
It certainly looked as if he died in the Starcourt Mall climax of Season 3’s finale. However, we now have official confirmation Hopper is alive and well.
Anyway, back to the post-credits prison: Hopper likely escaped from there. Why? Because he’s working on the railroad, and that could be any number of locations across Russia’s vast landmass.
Yours truly theorizes he finagled his way out of the truly evil custody of nefarious, science-obsessed Soviets. Now, he’s shaved his head to obscure his identity, and is attempting to fit in as a humble worker under an alias.
How will Stranger Things 4 proceed as a result?
Well, I think we’re going to see Hopper on the run for a while. It’s going to be pretty awesome to see the Indiana Jones-esque, Fedora-wearing swashbuckler make his way across Russia on a solo hero’s journey.
This is ripe for something straight out of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. With all that landscape and unknown, potential interdimensional threats abound, the trials and tribulations possibilities are limitless. I’m getting serious The Thing vibes.
Eventually, though, Hopper will find a way to communicate back to the U.S., likely through private investigator Murray Bauman.
With so many key characters moving out of Hawkins by the end of Season 3, Stranger Things 4 has its work cut out to reunite everyone. Maybe there will be all sorts of separate narrative threads. That said, Hopper’s lonesome quest must be a big focus if it’s leading the season’s initial footage.
The hope is that the Upside Down is explored far more than the previous seasons. Now that Hawkins Lab isn’t a primary antagonistic source, maybe that’s how the characters will reunite.
And maybe that’s the key for Hopper establishing contact to rejoin the whole gang? Ooh. Stranger Things 4 can’t get here soon enough!