After months of speculation about what happened to Jim Hopper after that blast in Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things fans finally have some news — but it's not exactly happy. On Friday, Feb. 14, Netflix released a trailer for the upcoming season of the hit show, and the Stranger Things 4 teaser might reveal Hopper's fate. The clip opens on a series of people working on a railroad line in the Russian tundra, before the camera swings around to reveal one, very large prisoner, whipping off his hat to reveal a newly-bald Sergeant Jim Hopper (David Harbour).
"We’re excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway — and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper!" Netflix wrote in a press release for Stranger Things 4: From Russia With Love. The official synopsis also confirms that Hopper is, indeed the "American" who was being held in a cell in Russia after the explosion at the underground facility in Hawkins, Indiana. Rather than dying in the blast — which is what many fans and even Harbour himself thought happened to Eleven's adoptive father — the official synopsis for the new season reveals that "he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human ... and other."
While Hopper is dealing with otherworldly forces and attempting to survive life as a prisoner in the Russian wilderness, his loved ones back in Hawkins are in a dangerous situation of their own. "Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything," the synopsis reads.
Over the course of Stranger Things 3, the Hawkins Five discovered that the Russian government was just as interested in controlling the Upside Down as the U.S. scientists, throwing them into a conflict not just between themselves and the Mind Flayer, but also into a piece of the Cold War. Despite their best efforts, the season ended with an explosion in an underground Russian facility that killed the Mind Flayer — and seemingly, also took out Hopper.
In the wake of the blast, Joyce's family and a now-fatherless Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) prepare to leave Hawkins behind for good, but based on Netflix's synopsis, it seems like they might be drawn back to their former town in order to attempt to save their neighbors from the horrors of the Upside Down, and that their new discoveries will connect them back to Hopper, all the way in Russia.
One thing that fans know for sure is that the Russians have control of a Demogorgon, based on the post-credits scene from Season 3. Of course, things are never quite what they seem in the world of Stranger Things — as evidenced by the fact that Harbour, himself, didn't think he was the "American" before filming for Season 4 began. "[Creators Ross and Matt Duffer] told me the arc of the season, and then I think we got Episode 8 like a couple months before we shot it," Harbour told TheWrap in January.
"I remember reading that episode, and they hadn’t told me this whole thing about this Russian facility at the end," he continued, adding that once he saw the scene, he assume Hopper was the "American" in question. "I haven’t heard a lot from them [since]," he added. "I thought I was, but it was never discussed."
While he — and the rest of us — may finally have confirmation that Hopper is the "American," there are still plenty of mysteries to unravel in the new season of Stranger Things. In the meantime, in the words of Netflix's recent plot synopsis, "pray for the 'American'".