Turns out Jim Hopper and the Red Guardian are just too strange of bedfellows. Actor David Harbour debunked a Stranger Things theory that pointed to a possible correlation between his characters in the Netflix hit and the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Black Widow, since both have obvious Russian ties. "It is a very surprising, annoying coincidence, and I apologize to the entire internet," Harbour joked in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. "There is no rhyme or reason for it, I promise you. There's no crossover event between Stranger Things and the MCU."
Regardless, many fans were relieved to learn that Hopper is still alive after Netflix dropped a Stranger Things 4 teaser in February. That doesn't necessarily mean all will be well for the Hawkins, Indiana sheriff when the '80s-set sci-fi series returns, however. In the clip, a bald-headed Hopper is revealed to be a prisoner in snowy Soviet Russia. In the upcoming Black Widow movie, his superhero character Red Guardian (aka Alexei Shostakov) is essentially the Russian equivalent to Captain America.
As Harbour pointed out to EW, the two men don't even bear a slight resemblance. "I mean, I do look very different in them," he added. "One of them, I'm 270 pounds and got a beard and thick, long hair, and the other one I’m like 200 pounds and have no hair."
Although theories about the connections have officially been put to rest, fans will still have to wait a bit longer than expected to see how the separate stories play out on screen. Both Black Widow and Stranger Things 4 have been postponed due to the novel coronavirus epidemic. The Scarlett Johansson-led MCU flick was slated to hit theaters in North America on May 1, but the studio has now pushed back the date to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure among large gatherings of people. (A new release date has yet to be announced.) Meanwhile, Netflix announced a two-week production hiatus on the series beginning March 16.
Aside from the wishful MCU crossover speculation, fans have plenty of other Hopper theories for Season 4 to mull over in the meantime. Guesses have ranged from Hopper becoming the new villain to engaging in life-saving time travel. Some have even gone so far as to predict that the small town police officer will develop powers akin to those his adopted daughter Eleven possesses.
Although the two men decidedly won't exist in the same universe, who's to say they both can't save their own worlds? Stay tuned.