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[Warning: The next incorporates spoilers for Stranger Issues 3. Learn at your individual threat!]

Stranger Issues‘ third season was a enjoyable journey stuffed with exploding rats, baby spies, and have we already talked about the exploding rats? However the season finale delivered a devastating twist: the one means for Joyce (Winona Ryder) to shut the gate to the Upside Down and cease the Thoughts Flayer meant sacrificing Hopper (David Harbour), who was seemingly killed when Joyce blew up the Soviet machine within the lab beneath Starcourt Mall.

A 3-month soar ahead in time revealed everybody shifting on within the wake of Hopper’s loss of life, with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) now dwelling with the Byers and shifting with them removed from the supernatural troubles of Hawkins. However a cryptic mid-credits sequence revealed that the Upside Down hadn’t been utterly shut out of our world, with the Soviets elevating a demogorgon in Kamchatka, Russia. Extra apparently, the scene additionally revealed that the Soviets are conserving an unseen American captive.

Stranger Issues 3 Recap: Here is Who Died This Season

So, what if Hopper is not lifeless? What if he is being held captive by the Soviets as a result of as an alternative of killing him, the machine’s explosion truly transported Hopper via house and/or time?

It sounds loopy, even by Stranger Issues requirements, however folks have been speculating there shall be a time journey aspect within the sequence for some time. There are theories that that the gate to the Upside Down would not take you right into a parallel universe, however right into a future model of Hawkins. Season 2 additionally included references to The Terminator, which was enjoying on the Hawkins theater in Episode 1 and which was the main focus of a business Eleven watched in Episode 2. Extra notably, one of many Season Three influences was Again to the Future, maybe essentially the most iconic time journey film and the flick {that a} very stoned Steve (Joe Keery) and Robin (Maya Hawke) watched after escaping the Soviet lab. Then once more, a lot of the instances a movie has been referenced in Stranger Issues, it hasn’t been very literal. Ghostbusters was an enormous affect in Season 2, but it surely’s not like we noticed ghosts, and the George Romero affect this season did not imply the present featured literal brain-eating zombies.

However even when we ignore the time travel-centric popular culture references, the letter Hopper wrote to deal with Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven’s burgeoning relationship is extraordinarily targeted on the thought of time, each shifting ahead and the need to return. “I do know you are getting older, rising, altering, and I suppose if I am being actually trustworthy that is what scares me. I do not need issues to vary,” Hopper wrote. “So I feel perhaps that is why I got here in right here, to attempt to perhaps cease that change, to show again the clock, to make issues return to how they had been. However I do know that is naive. It is simply not how life works. It is shifting, all the time shifting, whether or not you prefer it or not. And yeah, typically it is painful. Generally it is unhappy. And typically it is shocking. Blissful. So you realize what, carry on rising up, child. Do not let me cease you.”

Here is What Hopper Wrote in His Letter to Eleven in Stranger Issues 3

Whereas Hopper resigned himself to the pure progress of time within the heartwarming letter, this message might be organising the introduction of time journey and our heroes making an attempt to vary occasions for the higher within the subsequent season. However to search out the most important clue that Season four may introduce time journey, one has to go all the way in which again to one of many unique inspirations for the present: the Montauk Venture. To not be confused with MKUltra, the Montauk Venture is a conspiracy concept that the federal government secretly experimented with teleportation, thoughts management and — you guessed it — time journey in Lengthy Island, New York. The unique pitch for the sequence, then known as Montauk, additionally talked about time journey. So whereas introducing time journey within the present’s fourth season may really feel a bit random after years with out beforehand venturing into that form of territory, it might be one thing the Duffers have been planning from the beginning — and one thing David Harbour is personally hoping to see within the sequence.

“I do not know [if time journey is feasible in Stranger Issues] as a result of I haven’t got any spoilers,” Harbour instructed TV Information. “The nice factor is, I am fascinated by what the hell the Upside Down is. I do know loads of issues about Stranger Issues, however I do not actually know what the Upside Down is. However folks have speculated on-line that it might be the long run or it might be the previous or it might have a while part. I really like time journey motion pictures. I might like to see time journey in it. … Time journey is profound. It might be arduous to search out actors that seem like Millie Bobby Brown when she was 11 or Gaten Matarazzo when he was 12. However yeah, I really like time journey. I might like to see it within the present.”

However even when we settle for time journey is feasible within the Stranger Issues universe, there’s nonetheless the query of the way it may join Hopper and his potential survival. Our concept? No matter malfunction Hopper set off within the machine when he threw the Soviet murderer into it, thus creating that electrical energy barrier that prevented him from getting again to Joyce and to security, could have additionally saved his life. We noticed that everybody else who entered the lab ground was disintegrated when the machine exploded, however we notably did not see Hopper’s loss of life or any proof of his physique afterwards. May the truth that Hopper was on the opposite aspect of the power barrier — and on the aspect nearer to the Upside Down — imply he was affected by the explosion otherwise? May it in some way have transported him via time, thus saving his life? And if he did return in time, however not by a lot, that might additionally clarify how the Soviets may have simply captured him and brought him again to Russia the place they then imprisoned him. Or maybe he went actually again in time and was capable of reconnect along with his now-dead daughter Sarah, lastly giving viewers closure on that storyline.

Then once more, there’s additionally a slight probability that as an alternative of transporting Hopper via time, the machine explosion transported him via house as an alternative. David Cronenberg was one of many influences the Duffers listed for Season 3; most probably, they simply had been impressed by the director’s beautiful use of physique horror in his movies, however Cronenberg’s most well-known film, the 1986 traditional The Fly, did function Jeff Goldblum’s character inventing a teleportation machine — one which went horribly awry when he used it whereas a fly was additionally contained in the machine, thus merging their DNA.

Stranger Issues 3 Is Proof Well-liked Reveals Can Additionally Be Very, Very Good

If the Duffers actually needed to drag extra direct inspiration from Cronenberg, and particularly The Fly, then perhaps Hopper’s life was saved by the machine teleporting him away, maybe even to its sister machine in Russia that we noticed in Season 3’s opening scene. And whereas we doubt this might occur, think about if Hopper in some way merged with the Upside Down within the course of. (Not that we hope and even assume that may occur, however it’s enjoyable to image a Hopper with additional limbs rising out of him just like the Thoughts Flayer or a mouth like a demogorgon.)

We all know this all sounds loopy and that folks say the only rationalization is usually the reality. Nevertheless, till they present us Hopper’s lifeless physique, we won’t consider he is truly lifeless. Plus, when has the only rationalization ever been the case in Stranger Issues? So till Season four premieres and proves us fallacious, we’ll proceed to consider Hopper is alive and that teleportation or time journey saved the day.

Stranger Issues 3 is out there to stream on Netflix.

Further reporting by Lindsay Macdonald

PHOTOS: Joyce and Hopper’s Greatest Moments

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