It seems Chief Hopper will be involved in a not-so-noble coverup, when Stranger Things season 2 gets underway. While psychokinetic but damaged child Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) was arguably the biggest breakout character to come out of Netflix's Stranger Things season 1, not too far behind was Hopper, played by David Harbour. Harbour is a character actor with quite a few Hollywood credits to his name, including last year's DCEU entry Suicide Squad and the HBO drama The Newsroom. Still, it wasn't until Hopper that Harbour's career finally took off, leading to him landing the role of Hellboy in Neil Marshall's upcoming reboot.
Despite Stranger Things in many ways serving as a love letter to the horror and sci-fi films of the 1980s, those movies often featured cops and other authority figures that proved all but useless to the protagonists, refusing to believe that an otherworldly explanation could even be possible. Hopper - alcoholism aside - actually proved quite competent at his job during season 1, and without his dogged persistence in investigating Will Byers' disappearance and the shady history of Dr. Brenner, the boy probably would never have been recovered safely.
That said, Hopper's heroism came at a price, in the form of a deal he made with Brenner's contemporaries to help cover-up the monstrous reality behind Will's near-death experience and Barb's still technically unsolved demise. This was evidenced by Hopper getting into a car with some shifty people near the end of the season 1 finale, months after rescuing Will from the Upside Down. In a recent interview with Uproxx, Harbour discussed the increasingly morally grey Chief Hopper that fans will come to know in season 2.
"There's a bit of a cover-up kind of going on that Hopper is head of. We don't need people to know about the interdimensional monster that was running around town. He's also got the Barb thing. Barb was never found, so that's addressed. And then he's got this reemergence of Eleven, which he knows something about at the end of last season. There is some interaction on that front, in terms of his relationship with Eleven, and we see what that becomes in season two, which is very complex. Hopper is sort of pulled in a lot of different directions."
In the moment, it was completely understandable that Hopper would enter into a bargain with the bad guys in order to save himself, Joyce, and Will. That in itself doesn't make him a villain, even if he did tell Brenner where Mike, Eleven, Dustin, and Lucas were hiding. However, Hopper perpetually being involved in covering up the truth is definitely a new wrinkle, after he spent so much of season 1 trying to expose what really happened. At his base, Hopper seems like a no B.S., what you see is what you get type of person. Being in the position of compromised liar is probably a big change for him.
What really holds the potential to be interesting is just how far Hopper will prove willing to go in order to maintain the veil of secrecy that he has agreed to enforce. Hopper was seen leaving food for Eleven in the season 1 finale, but if she returns, would he let her be seen in public? Letting people know her true identity would surely compromise the cover-up. Even worse, would those Hopper is now beholden to insist that she be placed back in their custody? If Hopper slides too far over to the darkside, he could end up with a lot to answer for.
Stranger Things season 2 arrives on Netflix this Halloween.