The season culminates with Hawkins, Indiana police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), frazzled mom Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and paranoid private investigator Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) infiltrating a Russian bunker where the Soviets are conducting experiments revolving around the Upside Down.
When Joyce is forced to shut down the experiment by herself, the resulting explosion seemingly kills Hopper, who appears to have been disintegrated in the blast. A mid-credits scene revealed the Russians are holding an unidentified American captive in a bunker, which could be a very much still-living Hopper.
Now Brown, who plays Hopper’s adopted daughter El, hints Hopper may have survived.
“They had prerecorded David and they played it out loud. I didn’t want to read that speech. I didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t want to rehearse it,” Brown told EW of a speech penned by Hopper, later discovered in a shirt pocket by Joyce after Hopp’s apparent death.
“I just immediately wanted to put a camera on me and find the way I react and the way I reacted was pure devastation and sadness, and a distraught child that just lost her father or so she thinks. So it was definitely a raw emotion, especially because David Harbour and I are really close. He is just one of the greatest men. I think something I admire about David is he respects girls and women so much. It felt so … I’m so gutted and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is horrible.’ So the emotions were raw in that scene for sure.”
“Or so she thinks” plays into theories Hopper survived by leaping into the Upside Down, which plays into creators the Duffer Brothers’ penchant for confirming major character deaths on screen.
Asked about a potential Season 4, Brown could give nothing away.
“The Duffer Brothers are like my older brothers, so I call them all the time, and I definitely try to press them on little clues and hints. I know things here and there, but nothing deep or something I could tell you about,” Brown said.
“If there was a season four, we would be really excited, but right now, we have to see how season three goes and how the fans react to it.”
Harbour was similarly tight-lipped, but did offer an interesting tease to ComicBook.com:
“There’s always discussion on set about kicking around ideas about what would be cool and stuff, but there’s a lot of stuff that goes down in season three that you’re going to want to pay attention to before you start thinking at all about the future,” Harbour told us when asked about a Season 4 return.
“They pulled no punches with the season, and it’s a big deal what goes down. So you really have to watch this before you start even speculating.”
All episodes of Stranger Things are now streaming on Netflix.