It’s been a long three years, but the fourth season of Stranger Things is nearly upon us. The previous season ended with Eleven losing her powers, and Joyce Byers and her family moving to California, leaving Hawkins behind. The tightly-knit group, bonded by supernatural trauma and events, had split apart.
Last season, perhaps the two characters who suffered the most were probably Max (Sadie Sink) and Hopper (David Harbour). Max had to witness her stepbrother Billy’s gruesome death by Mindflayer, and Hopper, he, well…kinda died (except not really). And now, the Duffer Brothers have poised these two characters to have the most interesting arcs in season four, according to a report from IGN.
As previous Stranger Things 4 teasers and trailers have indicated, Hopper is alive and well in Russia. Ok, maybe not “well,” as he looks to be in some kind of Soviet prison camp. But according to David Harbour, it’s the psychological scars that are bearing down the most on his character this year. More so than anything the Reds are doing to him. For him, his years of past trauma are about to catch up with him in a big, bad way.
Harbour says “I think it’s a very popular word nowadays, I almost loathe to use it, but the idea of trauma is something that Hopper has. He had a daughter that he loved. He had a life that he loved, and his daughter was taken from him by a force that is beyond his control, cancer. And yet, he made it about his control. He’s a control freak, he’s a terrible father in a certain way. He’s very controlling of Eleven. He doesn’t know how to let go.”
Having said that, emotional scars or not, Hopper is still in prison in Russia. And it’s going to take its toll on him. Harbour said “Hopper has the Indiana Jones quality to a lot of what he does, but he is at his lowest point in Russia. It is sort of the Dark Night of the Soul where he needs to go through this really dark passage to get out to the other side.”
And if you’ve seen the trailers, you know Sadie Sink’s character of Max Mayfield is going to be front and center in a way she wasn’t last season. According to Sink, “Max in Season 4 is a little bit closer to where she was in Season 2 because she had this guard up just from being the new kid. And then in Season 3, she relaxes into something and we get to see a more of a fun and comfortable version of Max. But with Season 4, she’s reverted back to her old ways, but on another extreme. She took it to another level. So, in some ways it feels familiar, but it’s really, it’s just heartbreaking to see. It’s almost like the life has been drained out of her.”
We’re hoping that this is a metaphorical “life-draining” and not a literal one because Sadie Sink’s Max is amazing. Although with trailers showing Max floating in the air in some kind of possessed state, you just never know. Because as the show barrels towards its final season in year five, anything is possible. And that includes losing some of our most beloved characters.
Stranger Things 4 volume one premieres on May 27. Volume two will follow on July 1.