David Harbour weighed in on the possible romance between Chief Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) on Stranger Things. The pair have had noticeable chemistry since season 1, when Hopper helped a frantic Joyce search for her missing son. As her behavior grew increasingly erratic, Hopper stood by her. And when no one else believed her, Hopper did. But to many fans’ disappointment, their relationship remained strictly platonic – though, to be fair, they were busy rescuing Will from the bloodthirsty Demogorgon and the soul-sucking dimension it called home, the Upside-Down.
While there wasn’t a lot of time for romance in season 1, hope persisted for the two to get together in season 2, which debuted on Netflix late last month. But a new character addition kept them apart: Sean Astin was cast as Joyce’s new love interest, Bob, her former high school classmate. And with a second season now behind them and no closer to a Joyce-Hopper union, viewers have begun to wonder if their will-they-won’t-they dynamic will ever come to a close.
Harbour has now shared his thoughts on whether or not “Jopper,” as fans call them, will ever be realized on-screen. He told Variety that he’s always loved the relationship between the two characters, likening them to Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. He said:
“These are two lost, broken people who need each other but are so prideful and messed up that they’ll never admit it. It’s great to allow that to play out over several seasons.”
Although Harbour has gone on record to say that he ships Hopper and Joyce, he’s not quite sure if they’re a good match. He continued:
“I don’t know that ultimately they’re quite right for each other. Talk about problems! If Eleven is difficult, imagine him and Joyce. There would be nightmare fights! Him being prideful and emotionally shut down and unavailable. But I do think he feels something for her … It’s a special connection. I think that’s something that’s very deep between them. We’ll have to see where that goes in future seasons. But I root for some happiness for Joyce and Hopper. If they can find that together, that would be great. But we’ll see.”
Harbour makes a valid point, but despite their flaws, Joyce and Hopper seem to bring out the best in one another. After losing his daughter, Hopper became a detached, distant man, and since meeting Joyce, he’s begun to soften. Joyce, meanwhile, has allowed herself to be happy again — even if that means being with another man. There’s no telling what the Duffer brothers might be planning, but for now, the door is still open.
Stranger Things 2 is available to stream on Netflix.
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