Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 3. In line with its July 4 release, Stranger Things 3 brought both explosive fireworks and storylines. The highly anticipated third season concluded with Eleven and friends defeating the Mind Flayer at the Starcourt mall and Joyce closing the gate to the Upside Down (hopefully) once and for all. In the heartbreaking finale, Billy died at the hands (tentacles?) of the Mind Flayer after a shocking effort to save Eleven. Over at the underground lab, Joyce managed to turn off the machine re-opening the gate, which resulted in a huge blast that killed Hopper. But… is Hopper really dead? This Stranger Things 3 theory may prove he's alive after all, and no, it has nothing to do with the end credits scene.
At the end of Stranger Things 3, it's three months after the deadly events at the Starcourt mall, and Joyce, Will, Jonathan, and Eleven have chosen to officially leave Hawkins. Afterward, the end credits scene shows us a snowy facility in Kamchatka, Russia where an undisclosed American is being held captive by the Russians — and a Demogorgon is being housed to murder prisoners, apparently. Because Hopper's body was never shown after the explosion at the underground lab, fans are convinced that Hawkins' beloved police chief isn't dead after all, but is instead the American being held hostage in Kamchatka.
With that assumption in mind, another compelling clue that Hopper is, in fact, alive has surfaced — and it's a major callback to Season 1. Not counting the end credits scene, Stranger Things 3 concludes as Peter Gabriel's cover of the David Bowie's "Heroes" plays in the background. It's an emotional end, but more importantly, it's the same song that played in Season 1, Episode 3 when Will was presumed dead.
"This may very well be the most emotional episode of the season, and a lot of that has to do with the ending. Shawn [Levy, producer] picked that Peter Gabriel cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" and played it over some of our favorite shots from the show," Stranger Things creators the Duffer brothers told Entertainment Weekly of the song choice in 2016. "When Jonathan hugs Joyce, their bodies silhouetted by the car headlights, and the camera slowly cranes up to reveal distant sirens… it gives us goosebumps every time we watch it."
In the scene, the song plays after authorities pull Will's body out of the lake as Mike, Eleven, Lucas, and Dustin watch from afar. From there, Will is presumed dead by the entire town (except El, of course). Only, we now know that the body wasn't actually Will's in the first place but a fake! So, is Stranger Things 3's similar song choice paralleling Hopper's fate to that of Will's in Season 1? Since Will wasn't really dead, could Hopper be alive, too? It's very possible. Sure, the song choice could be mere coincidence. But is anything coincidence in the world of Stranger Things? According to David Harbour himself, nothing is ever done unintentionally.
While speaking with Insider about Easter eggs potentially alluding to a larger storyline about Hopper's late daughter Sara, Harbour said, "These are little things that highlight mysteries that I don't want to give too much away from but I don't think anything is done randomly in this show. So the fact that you're picking up on these things is something that will pay off in some way."
We can only hope the same goes for Peter Gabriel's "Heroes" cover in Stranger Things 3.