Netflix just released a short teaser for the upcoming fourth season of Weird stuff, and it reveals a doozy of a spoiler. Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) lives and works on a Russian chain gang somewhere in the desolate frozen expanse of the Soviet Union.
(Spoilers for the first three seasons below.)
When we last left our plucky teenage sleuths and their allies, they had successfully beaten back a third attempt by the so-called Mind-Flayer to escape the Upside Down and take over the town of Hawkins, Indiana, where the series hitherto has been set. But that win didn’t come without a cost: Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) lost her telekinetic powers after being bitten by the Flay Monster. And her adoptive father, Hopper, sacrificed himself to save the city in the season three finale. Eleven is taken by Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and the entire Byers clan moves away from Hawkins.
Series creators Matt and Ross Duffer (collectively, the Duffer Brothers) have hinted that season four will open the story with storylines outside of Hawkins, featuring the Russians and their imprisoned Demogorgon. A mid-credits scene after the S3 finale hinted that S4 would delve further into the Russian subplot. Two Russian guards approach a prison door. “Not the American,” says a guard. Instead, the guards drag a Russian prisoner away and lock him in a room with a prisoner Demogorgon, who then devours the screaming prisoner.
There was much speculation online that “The American” was a reference to Hopper, who somehow survived the explosion at Hawkins. After all, we’ve never seen a corpse. (Another option was Dr. Martin Brenner, played by Matthew Modine; an S2 reference hinted he might still be alive.) Those suspicions were clearly justified with this first teaser.
It’s short and sweet. The teaser opens with a wide shot of a wintery wasteland – specifically in Kamchatka, Russia – and the camera gradually zooms in on a military-style camp, with guards in Soviet uniforms (circa mid-1980s) and dogs patrolling the grounds . Cut into a long line of chained inmates working on the track, as the camera view moves across the track to focus on one hooded prisoner in particular. He pushes back his hood and reveals that he is Jim Hopper, with a shaved head. The camera hangs for a moment and then goes dark with only a slight chirping sound in the background, indicating the continued influence of the Upside Down.
We still have no idea how this plot point will play out or how it fits into the wider story for the season. And will all that hard work on a chain gang change Hopper’s signature “dad bod”? Frankly, it’s a little surprising that Netflix chose to drop such a big reveal so far ahead of the new season. But the Duffer Brothers are clearly confident that there are still plenty of surprises in store. Here’s their statement:
“We are delighted to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now on its way – and even more excited to announce Hopper’s return. Although it is not all good news for our ‘American’; he is trapped far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face both human… and other dangers. Meanwhile, a new horror is beginning to emerge across the United States, something long buried, something that ties everything together… Season 4 will be the biggest and most terrifying season yet, and we can’t wait for everyone to see get to see more. Meanwhile, pray for the American.”