David Harbour — 'I know what happens at the end of Stranger Things — and it’s quite beautiful'

David Harbour
David Habour plays Chief Hopper in Stranger Things. (Image credit: Netflix)

David Harbour plays the damaged adult, Jim Hopper, the kids have relied on as Stranger Things has become stranger and more dangerous over the three seasons, central to the bewildering plot, so it’s no surprise to learn he had more than vested interest in learning how the sci-fi thriller resolved at the end of season five.

David revealed that he ‘harassed’ creators Matt and Ross Duffer for the ultimate knowledge of how Stranger Things wraps up.

He told Variety: “I think it varies from person to person, from character to character, and I’m such a harassment specialist that I think I’ve gotten it out of them. It’s been back and forth about like, ‘What happens to Hopper? Is he a character that’s able to survive Hawkins or does he die?'”

David added: “I know what happens and it’s quite moving, and quite beautiful.”

Don't expect any spoilers, however – he said he would take this one to his grave.

Even though there are still two seasons of the Netflix hit yet to stream, David explained why he felt he needed to know the conclusion to play his character, who started season one as a drunk, miserable chief of police who was forced out of his malaise when bad things started occurring in Hawkins. 

He finished season three in a Russian prison camp, although the other key characters believe he died in the explosion in the Upside Down.

“I think that I needed to know as we were shooting early on, because I needed to know where [Hopper] ends up and for what reason he ends up there,” he said. “I think there is going to be somewhat of a morality – or at least responsible storytelling – to what the Duffers are doing.

“There’s a reason in season 2 why Bob dies. He’s too innocent. You can’t go up to that monster and say, like, ‘Get away from me, get away!’ You just can’t be that person in this world. That person dies. So I think there’s a responsibility in terms of how Hopper ends up that I’m eager for people to see, and I had to know that going in so I knew where to arc it.”

As miserable as he appeared in the Arctic prison, David says he strangely enjoyed the experience of filming in Lithuania, which stood in for Russia.

“To have him be so far away with a bunch of Lithuanians who didn’t speak English was kind of fun! It was like doing a big old prison escape movie on my own.”

Stranger Things season four streams from May 27. Watch a sneak peek here.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.