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David Harbour gives his own fan theory about the ending of Stranger Things 3

By Jacob Oller
Stranger Things 3 Jim Hopper David Harbour

If there’s one nerd property more spoiler-ridden than Star Wars or the warring superhero properties of Marvel and DC, it’s Netflix’s Stranger Things. The sci-fi phenomenon debuted its third season over the Fourth of July holiday and fans have already begun picking apart its well-received plot in search of clues for what’s to come. 

It helps that the show went to even weirder, more complicated places this go around, including an ending that blew us all out of the water. Now, even the cast members of Stranger Things aren’t sure what’s next, and are weighing in with theories of their own.

** This highly classified article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3! Turn back now if you haven't watched it yet. **

OK, for real, is Hopper alive? It’s hard to tell. All signs point to his death in the Russian lab explosion at the end of the season, but... there’s also the post-credits scene. Hopper leaves a letter for Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) that certainly makes it sound like he was done for — with Brown describing her reaction as “pure devastation and sadness, and a distraught child that just lost her father or so she thinks” — so even his inner circle is out of the loop.

But after that, a small scene shows a Russian base on the Kamchatka Peninsula, where a Demogorgon is fed a prisoner. But, the soldiers tell one another, “Not the American.” Who’s the American? Harbour has some thoughts on that. 

Speaking with /Film, Harbour chatted about his own character’s apparent death. After fielding a question about Hopper’s future, Harbour asked the interviewer, “Well, did you see the post-credits scene?” Harbour explained that Hopper is most likely the American prisoner in the scene. Especially, in fact, since the Russian antagonist from the season keeps calling him “the American.” Sound convincing enough?

The creators of the show aren’t as forthcoming. “You definitely should not assume anything,” Matt Duffer said. “The line that Russian guard said is purposely intended to spark debate.” Meanwhile, his brother, Ross, added: "Assuming there’s a Season 4, obviously the question of who that American is in that cell and then also what they’re doing with the Demogorgon, that is a tease.” But really... that’s Hopper, right?

Fans can watch Stranger Things 3 (and add their voice to the debate) now.