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A New Stranger Things 3 Tease Points to a Surprise Return in Season Four

Hope for [redacted]?

the kids of stranger things s3

**Spoilers for Stranger Things 3 to follow**

At the end of season three, Stranger Things appeared to kill off fan favorite Jim Hopper (played by David Harbour) as Joyce Byers closed the portal to the Upside Down that was being opened by Russian operatives. However, we saw no body or remains, which is TV code for “he’s not really dead.”

Harbour himself teased season four on his Instagram after that devastating finale. He posted a series of numbers as his profile photo: 618-625-8313. Dial that into your phone and you’ll get a voicemail from the character Murray Bauman.

The voicemail says “Hi, you have reached the residence of Murray Bauman. Mom, if this is you, please hang up and call me between the hours of 5 and 6 pm as previously discussed, ok? If this is Joyce, Joyce, thank you for calling, I have been trying to reach you. I have an update. It’s about … well, it’s probably best if we speak in person. It’s not good or bad, but it’s something.”

He then launches into a tirade that is decidedly not relevant, but the Joyce bit is the most important. There’s only one thing that Murray could be talking about: Hopper’s fate and if he survived or not.

Some have theorized that the American prisoner being held in the mid-credits scene in episode eight is Hopper, though others have theorized it’s Doctor Brenner (Matthew Modine) from season one. My personal theory is that Hopper is not the American prisoner (though I might be wrong), but that Hopper is somehow trapped in the Upside Down.

We know Hopper visited the Upside Down in season two, and he got sprayed in the face with some goo by some weird Upside Down plant thing. Could he be able to survive the Upside Down because he’s been exposed to biological material from the weird parallel world?

The update being neither good nor bad somewhat lends credence to this theory. If Murray discovered Hopper was being held prisoner by Russians, that trends more towards being a bad thing, since the Russian operatives are feeding prisoners to a Demogorgon. Hopper giving signs of life from the Upside Down is more of a “something.”

While I don’t necessarily want Hopper to return (sometimes killing off characters is better), having him not be the obvious prisoner and being a surprise trapped in the Upside Down would be the best way to bring him back. After all, he wants Eleven to leave her door open three inches. That could be a great way to tie his return to that emotional letter Eleven found in his pocket.

Hopper’s return is almost guaranteed at this point. The big mystery surrounds how he will return. I would almost prefer it if Netflix and the Duffer brothers confirmed that he was returning before the season even airs so that, much like how Patty Jenkins revealed Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor would return for a Wonder Woman sequel, the discussion is less about the obvious fact that he’ll return and more about how he gets back.

How do you want Hopper to return, or do you want him to return at all? Do you think he’s trapped in Russia or is he stuck in the Upside Down? What mysteries do you want to see solved in Stranger Things 4, if it is ever confirmed?

(image: Netflix)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.