The Stranger Things season 3 release is getting closer. Well, not really. It’s still about a year away, but as cast and crew drop more hints, I’m finding it hard to contain my excitement. During a screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, David Harbour – everyone's favourite reluctant father figure and viral dance meme – offered some new information about Chief Jim Hopper’s future.
One of the biggest roles Hopper will be taking on in season 3 is that of official adoptive father to Eleven. Being the father to a teen girl comes with its own set of challenges even when you don’t involve the Upside Down, Demodogs, and mysterious laboratories. “Their relationship is going to get far more complex, because, you know, things happen to girls and boys when they’re 13 and 14,” Harbour told Variety. “A lot of changes go on in the body and in your social life, and I don’t think he’s going to handle watching her become a woman in front of his eyes very well. That’s a horrifying thing for him – maybe even more so than fighting inter-dimensional monsters.” Most dads aren’t ready for their daughters to grow up. Hopper might have helped save Hawkins with Mike, but even that kind of bond will undoubtedly be strained when Mike and Eleven get into what producer Shawn Levy terms a "fully-fledged middle school relationship.”
There’s also a lot about Hopper’s past that’s still a mystery. What are the boxes labelled “Dad,” “New York,” and “Vietnam” in his basement? Season 3 is reportedly darker and scarier than the last two, but some of that could be less about fighting actual monsters and more to do with addressing personal monsters Hopper has left untouched for years.
Harbour shared his own lingering questions about Hopper’s past. “We know that he was a cop in New York in probably the ’70s, so I wonder if he knew Frank Serpico and if there are a lot of things we could go into in terms of that and his police training in New York," he said. "And we know that he was in Vietnam, so I’m curious as to how his tours in Vietnam might have shaped him to be who he is and if some of that stuff doesn’t still linger or haunt him in various ways.”
We still have another year before we’ll get to find out, but it sounds like we’ll definitely get to know Hopper as more than the grumpy police chief with a kind and well-meaning heart.