SPOILERS AHEAD FOR STRANGER THINGS AND STRANGER THINGS 2
Stranger Things 2 was an impressive succession to the phenomenal Netflix original that started it all back in the summer of 2016. The sequel season of the series showed the protagonists dealing with yet another threat from the Upside Down in the real world, this time with not only new characters, but new dynamics between beloved characters whether they’ve interacted with each other or not. Some of these were much anticipated after the first season and others were unexpected, making for something richer than was expected for audiences. One character that’s been a fan favorite since the beginning, and even more so after the second season, is David Harbour’s portrayal of Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper. Recently, Harbour’s even been asked by fans to take senior pictures with them and officiate their wedding! Even though Harbour’s been busy lately, especially with the Hellboy reboot on the horizon, Collider was lucky enough to get an interview with him to discuss Stranger Things.
In the interview, Harbour reflects on how big of a hit the first episodes of the show were and getting called back for a sequel to them. Harbour thought they “completed an arc of these characters’ lives and did this beautiful thing” and if they had continued the story “it had better be for a reason and not just to play the hits again”. Upon reading scripts by The Duffer Brothers, though, he noticed they “started to open the world up and take it in a whole new direction.” Harbour thought taking on a new arc in the sequel was “terrifying” yet he was “hopeful”, saying that the “intimacy” between the cast and the cast’s intimacy with the characters and the story are what make the series harmonic.
He also mentions how “there was a lot of talk about it being an American Horror Story type of thing”, otherwise known as an anthology series. Although it works for shows like American Horror Story across seasons and Black Mirror across episodes, with a story and characters so beloved, continuing it or ending it are the only options. The mistake was made with the Halloween franchise. The original story revolving around psycho slasher Michael Myers and teenage babysitter Laurie Strode is a horror classic, but the series was never the same after the third installment, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which deviated from that story completely with the intention of making Halloween an anthology series. Stranger Things has not, in their sequel, and will not, in further seasons, make the same mistake.
On future seasons, Harbour says he is not nervous unlike the he was in season 2: “Once you do it a second time”, speaking on the “lightning in a bottle moment” the first season was, “it’s smooth sailing from then on out”. He did say, however, others on the production are, and despite that, he “trusts” the Duffer Brothers. Their idea is to do “four or five seasons” in total, which is a development in that earlier talks suggested they were stopping at four. This would mean we’d get 80s pop culture allusions up through 1987. Like Harbour said, Season 2 made “the world so open”, making it “no sweat” for the writers/directors. Harbour talks on his character, saying Hopper “went to Vietnam” in the 60s, then “went to New York and was a cop there for awhile”, and even discusses “the death of Sara” (Hopper’s daughter) and that “there’s so many secrets there”. He compares it to a “tapestry” and a “buffet” in which they can “feed” audiences “so many wonderful things”.
As for dynamics between Hopper and other characters, Harbour has his own predictions. He says working with Winona Ryder when it comes to Hopper and Joyce Byers is “most gratifying” in that it is “personal” and that’s what makes it “so real and vivid”. When it comes to the relationship between the characters, though, he had this to say:
“Hopper is a really shut down, really miserable guy who clearly can’t stand this woman, and he also deeply needs her to fix him, as silly and cheesy as that sounds. I feel like they complete each other and they can heal and fix each other, and they’re also completely wrong for each other.”
With that in mind, there’s no telling where there relationship will go from here.
When it comes to the father-daughter relationship audiences saw and thoroughly enjoyed in Stranger Things 2 that saw Hopper, despite how “controlling” he was, becoming the father he never got to be for Eleven. It is a wonder, though, as the Duffer Brother’s put it “where that control ends”. I believe we’ve yet to see the end of it, especially with Eleven’s relationship with Mike.
A pairing of Hopper and Steve Harrington was even discussed which he thought, although “incredible”, would probably “add a month of to the production time” with Harbour “cracking up on set”.
I have my own predictions on future seasons. What follows is a stream of consciousness of sorts. Eleven, now under the legal name Jane Hopper, has been adopted not only by Jim, but into the real world with which she has yet to fully interact. It’s also a wonder if certain relationships will last. We were so hopeful for Mike and Eleven, Nancy and Jonathan, but there should be some problems they face. I even think there is a chance Steve and Nancy could get back together, or maybe college eventually creates a separation between Nancy and Jonathan. Speaking of Steve, we should definitely see him hanging with the kids again, maybe playing Dungeons and Dragons, depending on whether or not he ends up getting into college. Much like Eleven did, we should see the characters spend more time beyond Hawkins, yet still have it be home base for the plot. The kids should soon be going into high school, which could be a new challenge. Characters like Dustin and Will, although it was focused on during the Snow Ball, should remain independent instead of being in relationships. The Mind Flayer still looms over Hawkins from the Upside Down, but what seems more likely to me is that the Flayer phantom freed from Will by Joyce, Jonathan and Nancy in the Hopper’s cabin could still be lingering in the real world. The staff from the now closed Hawkins Lab, especially Dr. Brenner ( or “Papa” as Eleven calls him) should have a vengeance towards our protagonists, which could bring about the nine other test subjects or even an evil that manifests itself in the form of Hopper’s dead daughter Sara as antagonists.
The third installment of Stranger Things, Harbour says, is rumored to begin filming in March or April, but there has yet to be confirmation.
What do you expect to see in future seasons of Stranger Things? Let us know and and follow us @GeekMotivation on Twitter for more news like this!
Written by: Mike Guimond