When a Demogorgon is running loose in your small town, it's helpful to have a really great detective on the case. That's why Sheriff Hopper was the true MVP of Season 1 of Stranger Things: he investigated the case even though it sounded absolutely bonkers, and was ultimately the one who, with Joyce Byers, rescues Will from the Upside Down. But on shows like this, even beloved characters don't often stick around for long, which is why fans are nervous that Hopper will die in Season 2 of Stranger Things.
This anxiety is compounded by the fact that many fans feel that the show would never actually kill off one of the major young kids, which leaves adults like Hopper more vulnerable. And then there's the fact that actor David Harbour, who plays Hopper in the show, has hinted about a darker future for his character on the show. He told Deadline:
"In terms of Hopper, it plays to a lot of darker themes. Even though in Season 1 he certainly had his darkness, it plays to a lot of his struggles, and it sort of peels the onion back of how he struggles to deal with the pressures of feeling like you have saved a kid, and now who does that make you?"
Though this is pretty vague and doesn't exactly reveal much about the fate of Hopper for Season 2, it does hint that the character might be headed down a darker narrative path... one that could possibly lead to death? I'm not fully convinced, but fans are definitely nervous:
Some fans are having a more, er, violent reaction to this possibility:
Others still are threatening legal action of their beloved sheriff bites it:
If Hopper truly does die in Season 2, the Duffer brothers are going to have a lot to answer for.
One way I could envision this death going down involves the mystery of what happened to Hopper's daughter. A popular fan theory is circulating about the possibility that Hopper's daughter is alive after all. In an interview with TV Guide, Harbour shared that more information about Hopper's daughter will be revealed in Season 2:
"Hopper's daughter will be the primary focus of Season 2, but not in the way that you think it will be," Harbour tells TV Guide. "Hopper's understanding of that relationship and Hopper's understanding of being a father and of being a man grows deeper and deeper in Season 2, and we get a lot of time to explore what that is, but it won't be in the literal way that you think it is. I don't want to tell you any more than that because it's good stuff."
Spoilers for all of Stranger Things Season 2!
The context of these comments is established pretty quickly in Stranger Things Season 2. Hopper examines his relationship with fatherhood by becoming an actually benevolent paternal figure in Eleven's life. They live together and take care of each other, but they also deal with his job and her growing pains, and the issues that those cause. It must be painful for Hopper to think about how he never got to have these fights with his biological daughter, but he's putting his parental energy towards someone who really needs somebody.
And in the end, Chief Hopper is his usual hero self and he even gets to keep his life. How cruel would it be to take another person away from Eleven?
So while Jim may not be safe in Hawkins forever, for now, fan fears are unfounded. Hopefully the grumpy officer will live to be a crusader for both his town and his adopted daughter for years to come.