If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that Stranger Things is by far my favourite TV show.
At the end of the last season however, I was left a little distraught. I’m talking ugly crying, comfort eating for a week distraught. Everyone’s favourite TV dad Jim Hopper disappeared, thought to be blown up by the Russian’s malfunctioning Upside Down gate machine. It was pretty devastating for a while, knowing Hopper wouldn’t be around for one-liners and cute dad talks in Season 4. That was until February, when the Stranger Things team released the cheekiest of teasers on Valentine’s Day.
Queue hundreds of Internet theories to try and explain how Hopper possibly could have survived the explosion. I’ve got a few theories myself, as well as some ideas about how the show will progress next year.
1. Hopper ended up in Russia via the Upside Down
I think a lot of the Internet shares this theory at this point. In the final scene of season 3, Hopper’s fate looks pretty pre-determined. There’s no way he could’ve gotten out of the room and into another part of the facility before the explosion. His only option for survival at this point seems to be the massive gate to another dimension positioned right behind him. Whilst we don’t see Hopper enter the Upside Down, I think the only way he could have survive is if the explosion sent him through the gate, or he went through the gate beforehand.
There’s also that pesky end credit scene that referenced “The American.” Whilst I don’t think Hopper could be the only American at that Russian base, I paid more attention to the Demogorgan they’re keeping locked up. We know the only way the Russians could have a Demogorgan is if they got one from the Upside Down. This means that whilst their gate in Hawkins was closed before it was every fully opened, they must have opened another gate. Remember at the end of season 2 when the gate closed and all the Demodogs died? If the Russians have a Demogorgan that is alive, a gate must still be open.
2. Eleven will meet Hopper in the Upside Down and bring him home
A lot of people think that season 4 will see Joyce and Murray travel to Russia to find Hopper. Whilst that’s not a totally outlandish theory, I can’t exactly see Joyce, now a single mother of two, dropping her responsibilities or affording a flight to Russia. Plus, that would be a pretty boring episode. The only logical way to get to Russia now would be via the Upside Down, the same as Hopper.
I think at some point, someone in Hawkins -probably Will, poor kid- will realise that there is a gate still open somewhere in Russia. They’ll have to call on El to open a gate in Hawkins to find the open gate in Russia, where she will retrieve and guide Hopper home. I can’t imagine Joyce letting her now adopted daughter head to Russia solo, but I also doubt she’d want to go herself totally unarmed. Eleven has proven herself to be the most effective weapon against both human and supernatural foes, so a mother-daughter team up operation in Russia seems likely!
3. Hopper will find at least one of Eleven’s siblings in Russia
So, we know from season 3 that the Russians could not generate enough energy with their machine to open a gate. We also know that the only person to successfully open a gate is Eleven. Now, I’ve paid pretty close attention, and at no point did I see Eleven pop to Russia to open up a gate for them. The Russians must have found another way, right? Seems like the perfect opportunity to introduce some more of Eleven’s long-lost ‘siblings‘!
The siblings we’ve met in season 2 and the expanded media have all had different powers to Eleven, but we still don’t know if they can open gates. We also don’t know what Eleven or her siblings connection to the Upside Down is or how she can open gates. I really hope that we can get some answers to these questions in the last couple seasons of the show.
4. The Mind Flayer will return
Lets be honest, we all know the Mind Flayer isn’t dead. How else would there be a living Demogorgan in Russia? Plus, I can’t see the writers introducing another Big Bad. They could, but it would become very predictable. Previous seasons suggest that the Mind Flayer is connected to all life in the Upside Down, and once the connection is severed no life can survive without the Flayer. Introducing a creature that is somehow above and beyond the Mind Flayer would create a bit of a confusing hierarchy for the Upside Down.
5. This season is set at Christmas
I’ve been working on this theory ever since season 3 came out. Some behind the scenes footage (linked below) showed the basement area of Mike’s house decorated for Christmas. We’ve only ever seen Christmas in Hopkins once, but that was way back in the end of season 1, so the set wouldn’t have been decorated that way pre-season 3. Eleven also told Mike that they would all meet up again at Christmas. Seems like a pretty good indicator that next season is set at Christmas!
I sure hope Santa brings us many happy reunions – and hopefully a girlfriend for Steve!
Season 4 of Stranger Things is now set to be released in early 2021. What are your Stranger Things theories? Leave me a comment below and let me know! Wanna read some of my other TV posts? Click here!