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SYFY WIRE Chief Jim Hopper

David Harbour promises Stranger Things fans 'meaty, rich' Hopper backstory in Season 4

By Jacob Oller
David Harbour Stranger Things 4

Stranger Things was one of the biggest genre shows that's production was caught in the coronavirus pandemic, halting its shoot in back in March right as things began to kick off on the Netflix hit's fourth season. Now the '80s-set sci-fi series, which left fans with a cliffhanger featuring the fate of breakout character and fan-favorite Jim Hopper (David Harbour), is in limbo — but that doesn't mean its cast lacks updates or teases for their dedicated followers.

During Harbour's appearance on the L.A. Times' Can't Stop Watching podcast, the actor explained where the show is in its production as well as what fans can expect from the fourth season when it premieres. Harbour said that the team had "shot a bunch in Lithuania before and we shot a couple days in Atlanta, had the table read," and then shut down. He went to New York and then the U.K. That meant communicating with the rest of the show's team — including the showrunning Duffer brothers — remotely.

"I’ve FaceTimed with the Duffer brothers just because I want to know more about the show," the actor said. "When we’ll go back to filming, what they’re working on. We batted around ideas about what should be done. Because of schedules and how long this will be — nobody knows anything — so we’re like first-year sociology students spitballing. We’re all just idiots. We’ve never dealt with this before. But we spitball ideas about the different seasons or what we’d do, and that’s very comforting having those hypothetical discussions."

Part of those discussions must be how Hopper has changed after what seems to be a stint in a Russian gulag. "Now going into the fourth season," Harbour explained, "there’ll be a real shift to what he’s going to become — or what he has to become after his character’s 'death.' His 'resurrection' has to be something different." And that's all good, considering that the season which will start with an episode titled "The Hellfire Club" looks to explore plenty of Hopper's past and enrich an already nuanced character.

"I wanted to go into a lot more backstory about Hop’ and I kept pushing for this. I pushed for it in Season 2, I pushed for it in Season 3,” Harbour said. “I know in this season, we’re going to go into a lot more stuff you don’t know about. It won’t come as a surprise, because it’s been laid in certain ways, but you really don’t understand the depths of it. They’ve been putting me off for years and then they gave me these things. I’m like 'Woah, yes, we’re finally going to get into this stuff that we’ve been talking about since day one of the first season.' This stuff is meaty, rich stuff that I’ve always known about him and been dying to talk about, but we haven’t revealed it yet."

The kidnapped chief of Hawkins police is going through a lot if the season's first teaser is anything to go by, so fans can trust that Harbour isn't just blowing smoke. The actor will join castmates Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Joe Keery, Natalia Dyer, Noah Schnapp, and Brett Gelman — among many others — when Stranger Things finally returns for its fourth season.