Ever since Stranger Things season three was released last month fans have been theorising what happened to Hopper (played by David Harbour) following his shock exit in the season finale.
The last season saw Hopper disappear in the explosion caused by the closing gate of the upside down after he instructed Joyce (Winona Ryder) to close the gate on him.
Although it appeared the Chief of Police sacrificed himself, many fans speculated he was still alive, and it seems as though they are not wrong.
It appears the Duffer brothers let slip Jim Hopper’s true fate revealing the fan favourite is still alive should there be confirmation of a season four.
In a podcast interview with Entertainment Weekly, the pair spoke about the show’s numerous throwback references to 80s films.
The pair confirmed the Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back was referenced in the last outing through Hopper’s storyline, which implies he is in fact alive.
Matt Duffer said: “We always talk about Empire Strikes Back – we always wanted to give him a darker ending, we always wanted to give him a Han Solo sacrifice moment.”
Star Wars viewers will be aware that Hans Solo reappeared, proving to be alive in Return of the Jedi.
If the next outing was to follow this storyline, this would confirm a previous fan theory by Politico’s Bill Kuchman, who also likened Hopper’s arc to Star Wars character Han Solo’s.
Bill said: “I have a #StrangerThings theory based on something Hopper says to the Russian goon, Steve’s favourite #StarWars movie and Han Solo.
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“But I can’t tweet it without spoiling the final season for the people who haven’t seen it yet…
“‘I’ll see you in hell’ is a direct quote from Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back, the film where Han was frozen in carbonite and taken to another world.
“Steve’s favourite Star Wars movie? The one with the teddy bears, aka Return of the Jedi…” Bill added.
Star Wars’ Return of the Jedi sees Han’s friends rescue him from imprisonment in an enemy’s fortress.
If season four is confirmed, fans could see the Hawkins’ crew take to Russia on a quest to free Hopper.
Bill continued: “Where’s ‘The American’ being held in the Stranger Things S3 finale? A secret base where the Russians are feeding prisoners to a captive Demogorgon.
“Hopper is Han Solo. And Stranger Things made it pretty clear where he is through its Star Wars references.”
Should the theory be correct, and the showrunners remain true to their reference, Hopper could be being held captive by the Russians after ending up the wrong side of the gate.
Moreover, this would mean Hopper is ‘The American’ referenced in the post-credit scene and is still alive.
Stranger Things season three is streaming now on Netflix.
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