Fans may have to wait until 2021 for more episodes of Stranger Things, but one star's new comments on the upcoming season may be more than enough to keep you theorizing in the meantime. During a recent interview alongside Matt and Ross Duffer for Deadline, David Harbour teased Stranger Things 4 will bring out Hopper's dark side. The former police chief from Hawkins, Indiana was thought to be dead until Netflix released a teaser for Stranger Things 4 back in February that revealed a newly-bald Hopper working on a railroad line in Russia.
"We know that Hopper is the American in that Russian prison," Harbour began, referencing the teaser at the very end of the Season 3 finale, and his new location in the snowy tundra. "To me, what happens in this season ... it's very epic and very big in a Stranger Things way. There's monsters, there's horrors, there's scares, there's great Indiana Jones-type action. But also we get to see some of Hopper's really deep backstory that we hinted at with the boxes in Season 2."
According to Harbour, the side of Hopper that fans will get to see is a distinct change from the "wackier" father figure that they've grown to know an love. "Each season we get to see a different side of him, and last season it was sort of wacky," the actor explained. "I loved playing that, [but] now I think he's painted in a bit of a darker palette, and he's able to express these really deep things about him that we haven't really known yet. It's been hinted at, but we don't really know."
"[Hopper] is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human ... and other," the Duffer brothers teased in a press release accompanying the trailer. "Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything." Though the synopsis was — fittingly — incredibly cryptic, that description alongside Harbour's hints add new credence to a popular fan theory that Hopper could become the show's latest villain.
Back in July, Reddit user u/Conor_mc7 proposed that Hopper could potentially be brainwashed by the Russians during his time in the prison, which would turn him against the Hawkins gang and force Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) into making a difficult choice about her adoptive father. Of course, the "dark palette" that Harbour is referring to could mean that his time in prison dredges up some unpleasant memories for Hopper, and forces him to face up to some dark past — or present — behaviors.
One thing that fans know for sure, however, is that Hopper's imprisonment in Russia has nothing to do with his upcoming role in Black Widow. "It is a very surprising, annoying coincidence, and I apologize to the entire internet," Harbour told Entertainment Weekly in a March interview. "There is no rhyme or reason for it, I promise you. There's no crossover event between Stranger Things and the MCU."
"I mean, I do look very different in them," he added, pointing out that it's just the location that inspired fans to make a connection between the two projects. "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." Now that one Stranger Things 4 theory has been debunked, fans will have to wait until 2021 to find out if any of their others are the real deal.