WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things season three.
Stranger Things fans, prepare yourselves because it’s likely we’ll be speculating about the fate of a certain Hawaiian-shirt wearing sheriff until the show returns (hopefully in 2020).
Season three of the Duffer Brother’s 80s sci-fi experiment ended with Jim Hopper sacrificing his dad bod for the greater good, destroying a machine the Russians had built to unlock the Upside Down. Hopper was in the lab when Joyce Byers blew the drill to smithereens with Hop seemingly killed in the aftermath. Except, we never saw the good sheriff’s body, which almost certainly would’ve turned to goo and painted the walls of the lab as previous victims of the blast had. We were never even given a funeral, or a chance to truly mourn the character, an odd storytelling choice for a figure as integral to this show as Hopper was.
If TV has taught us anything, it’s that a character isn’t truly dead if they die off-screen, so the choice to have Hopper meet his demise off-camera was already suspect, but now star David Harbour is adding fuel to the fire through, what else, Instagram.
Harbour, who spoke with us about the show’s latest season before its premiere, has kept coy about the fate of Hopper and what his death or disappearance might mean for Eleven and the rest of the gang. He’s spoken about change and moving on, and posted his heartfelt thanks for fans who have loved the character and the show these last few years, but he’s never verified that Hopper did in fact die. Neither have any of his castmates.
Now, Harbour is giving us even more reason to hope that the small-town cop might not be as dead as we feared and he’s doing it through the ‘gram.
A few sleuths on Twitter have noticed that Harbour has been changing up his profile picture on Instagram every day this week to match the phone number that plays a crucial part in the post-credits speculation of season four’s storyline. If you’ll recall, the show gave us a quick glimpse of a Russian prison, where guards where sacrificing inmates to a captured Demogorgon. When choosing the creature’s next meal, one guard tells the other, “Not the American,” a nod fans think means Hopper is being held captive in the Motherland.