David Harbour Imagines Hopper’s Happiest Stranger Things 5 Ending

Exclusive: David Harbour teases an even bigger and more emotional Stranger Things 5 while considering what Jim Hopper wants at the end of the day.

David Harbour as Hopper on Stranger Things
Photo: Netflix

Jim Hopper had a real rough time in Stranger Things 4. Before this summer’s blockbuster television event, the David Harbour character was a man of simple hopes and dreams: he wanted to take Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) out to a nice Italian restaurant; see his adopted daughter Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) keep the door cracked open three inches; watch Magnum P.I. on Wednesday nights! But after being abducted by Soviet agents, he spent most of the fourth season being tortured, plotting escape, and battling Demogorgons in a gulag.

It’s why when we meet Harbour at New York Comic Con, where he’s promoting his upcoming action-comedy Violent Night (think The Santa Clause meets Die Hard), we feel compelled to say that one of our favorite moments in Stranger Things 4 was Hop having a happy moment with El at the end.

“One of the few,” Harbour says with a wry chuckle. And it’s true, Hopper is having a real rough time as of late. But the end is coming. Netflix and showrunners Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer have long confirmed Stranger Things 5 will be the end of the line, and with it characters like Hop, El, Joyce, and the whole Hawkins crew will meet their final destinies.

So we got to wondering: What ending would make Jim Hopper happiest after everything he’s been through?

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“Jesus,” Harbour says while giving the matter some thought. He then says, “If the people he loves were safe. Whatever he could do to keep safe the people that he [cares about]. At the end of the day, he is a police chief and he got into it because he wanted to protect people who were vulnerable, and I think you see that throughout all the seasons. He’s that guy. And I think what would make him happiest is to be able to see and protect the ones that he loves.”

That said, what Hopper wants and what the Duffer Brothers want for him could be potentially miles apart. The creators did send Hop to Russia, after all. And when it comes to getting into specifics about what will actually occur in Stranger Things 5, Harbour is unsurprisingly taciturn. However, he does suggest that fans will be satisfied with how Stranger Things draws its final curtain (perhaps unlike certain other genre shows).

“[The Duffers are] writing,” Harbour says. “We’ll start shooting next year, and we’ll try to get it to you as soon as possible. I sort of know general arcs and themes, and such. And as you’ve seen with each successive season, from 1, 2, 3, to 4, which was this big explosion, 5 is going to be no less impressive and spectacular. I think we’ll push it all a step forward because of your relationship with these characters. And it’ll be the final one. So I have a feeling that they’ll stick the landing very well, and everyone will be very happy.”

Stranger Things 5 is coming, eventually. Meanwhile Violent Night will be here just in time for the holidays, with the movie opening only in theaters on Dec. 2, 2022. We’ll have our full interview about that Yuletide treat closer to release.