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Stranger Things Theory: Hopper Isn’t Dead (He’s Trapped BETWEEN Dimensions)

Stranger Things Jim Hopper and Interstellar

There are many questions and mysteries waiting to be solved in Stranger Things season 4, but the biggest one is about the seemingly deceased Jim Hopper: is he really gone or is he trapped somewhere? Perhaps Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar can provide some clues as to what really happened to him. Stranger Things began its run in 2016, introducing viewers to another dimension called the “Upside Down” and some of the dangerous creatures that live there.

The following seasons have expanded on the main characters and featured new threats – both human and non-human – but they haven’t added much to the Upside Down. Viewers know as much about it as the characters in the series, which has made Hopper’s “death” in season 3 a much bigger deal and mystery. Did he really die when Joyce closed the gate or did he find a way out? Speculation on Hopper’s survival has only grown after the Stranger Things season 4 teaser was released, which showed what looks a lot like Hopper’s cabin in the Upside Down, with the lights on.

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Many fan theories suggest Hopper could have found a way out from the Russian’s lab literally in the last seconds through a staircase near him, while others believe he could have jumped through the gate and into the Upside Down, getting trapped there. However, others have found some similarities to Interstellar, which could offer an explanation on what happened to Hopper in season 3.

Hopper Is Caught Between Dimensions In Stranger Things Season 3

The theory comes from Instagram user noahschhnapp, who came up with it after going back to season 1, taking elements from the original script for the series, and finding a connection with Nolan’s Interstellar. The author suggests that Hopper wasn’t disintegrated by the explosion at the end of Stranger Things season 3, but was rather transported in time, and instead of being trapped in the Upside Down, he got trapped between dimensions. They even shared images to support the theory; among those is a piece from the original concept for the series (when it was still titled Montauk) where it’s explained that the horror in it is “supernatural, but rooted in science”, citing black holes, wormholes, alternate universes, and string theory as some of the elements they were looking to use.

Now, many things happen in Interstellar, but the ones that caught the attention of the author of this theory are its use of wormholes and how Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) is able to interact with both worlds when getting trapped in a tesseract through the Gargantua black hole. In season 1 of Stranger Things, Mr. Clarke offered an explanation on wormholes through the analogy of the acrobat, the tightrope, and the flea. In Interstellar, Cooper was the flea, as he found a way to move through both dimensions – in Stranger Things, Hopper is now the flea, and can now travel between the real world and the Upside Down, as well as through time, which makes sense given the films Stranger Things has taken inspiration from, of which many deal with time-travel.

Hopper Could Be The Key To Season 4’s Time Travel

Stranger Things draws inspiration from the works of Stephen King, John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, and more, with each season including references to other works released on the year they’re set in (season 1 in 1983, season 2 in 1984, and season 3 in 1985). One of the biggest rumors surrounding season 4 is that of time-travel, made even bigger by the addition of Back to the Future in season 3 and the writers recently mentioning Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey as one of the films that will “relate in some way or another” to the upcoming season.

Back to the theory, there have been clues to time-traveling since season 1, in the shape of three very similar stuffed animal toys: the first one appeared in the Upside Down’s Castle Byers, the second one in Sarah’s hospital room (shown in Hopper’s flashback), and the third one in Eleven’s room at Hawkins Lab. David Harbour has already teased a connection between Will, Sarah, and Eleven (via Insider), so these toys might be clues of Hopper’s presence in each scenario/moment in time.

As seen in many films and TV shows, the rules of time-travel are not set in stone, and each story makes and breaks them as it pleases. Bill & Ted, for example, makes use of it more freely than Back to the Future, which has some very specific rules on what not to do. Stranger Things could take the rules of either or create its own, making it possible for Hopper to leave this type of clues without changing the course of events – or maybe they will go on a more Interstellar-y route that allows him to interact with the characters in different points in time by manipulating gravity, electricity, and other elements. After all, there have already been examples in the series of flickering lights leading the way to other places and characters.

Related: Stranger Things' Original Plan Was Copying IT Even More

How Hopper Can Return In Stranger Things Season 4

Here’s the tricky part of the theory: as the are no specific time-travel rules, Stranger Things can do whatever it wants with them, which in turn would mean that Hopper could go back to his time, get trapped in the past or future, or never come back at all. If he’s trapped between the two dimensions, with the ability to time-travel as well, it’s fairly possible he might never come back – although that doesn’t mean viewers won’t get to see him anymore or that his presence won’t be felt in season 4.

Stranger Things could instead show Hopper’s actions between dimensions (and in different times) and how they affect both the real world and the Upside Down, without the rest of the characters knowing he’s behind them. This could also help solve some “plot holes” and answer questions the series has been (intentionally?) leaving over the course of three seasons, essentially bringing the series to a full circle and giving it closure, as it has been implied by the Duffer Brothers that Stranger Things season 4 could be the last.

The theory gives an explanation to some of the clues in the Stranger Things season 4 teaser (the cabin and the clock on the tree) while also giving fans hope that Hopper survived, but at the same time it raises more questions and makes other aspects of the series a bit more confusing. Supposing this idea is on the right path, hopefully the writers behind Stranger Things will answer the biggest questions about time-travel, Hopper’s fate, and more without losing the series’ essence.

Next: Stranger Things Theory: Eleven Is Season 4's Villain

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