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After Sara... I saw her too. And I heard her. I didn't know what was real. And then I figured out that it was in my mind, and I had to pack all that away... otherwise I was gonna fall down a hole, that I couldn't get out of.

–Jim Hopper, November 9, 1983

James "Jim" Hopper, also known as just Hopper, is a main character in Stranger Things. He is portrayed by David Harbour,

Hopper was Chief of Police in the small, sleepy town of Hawkins, Indiana, where he used to live out a carefree existence - yet haunted by a troubled past. After an old friend, Joyce Byers, reported that her son, Will, had mysteriously disappeared, Hopper's life became infinitely more complicated. He began to realize Will's disappearance was caused by an experiment at Hawkins National Laboratory and helped Joyce rescue her son from an alternate dimension called the Upside Down.

Later, Hopper discovered Eleven, a presumed deceased former child test subject from Hawkins Lab, living by herself in the woods. He decided to take her in, providing a home for her in his cabin, and did all in his power to hide her from the authorities.

After local crops began to rot, Hopper discovered that mysterious tunnels beneath Hawkins were the source of the decay. Hopper came to release that the Gate to the Upside Down not only remained open, but was actively growing in size, and in turn corrupting the environment around it. A pack of murderous creatures hailing from the alternate dimension attacked the laboratory, with Hopper and his allies only narrowly surviving. The immediate threat to Hawkins was neutralised when Eleven, accompanied by Hopper, returned to the laboratory and using her psychokinetic abilities to seal the Gate, cutting off the connection to the Upside Down.

In the summer of 1985, Hopper became overprotective of El. Hopper was concerned about her close relationship with Mike. Meanwhile, Hopper secretly had feelings for Joyce, who still grieved over her former lover, Bob. Hopper is initially unimpressed with Joyce's claim that magnets are not sticking to her refrigerator. He soon realized that a mysterious motorcyclist is involved in the electrical and magnetic disturbances. Hopper and Joyce discover that the Russians built a base under the newly built Starcourt Mall. The motorcyclist is an assassin, who will stop at nothing to protect the secrecy of the Russian base. With the help of Joyce, Murray, and a Russian scientist named Alexei, Hopper joined forces with the Party to destroy the Russian Gate to the Upside Down. Joyce was forced to destroy the Russian machine with Hopper trapped by an energy field behind it. This closed the gate, but seemingly killed Hopper. The US army arrived to seize the Russian base. The government used the fire at Starcourt Mall as a cover story, and claimed that Hopper sacrificed himself to save others at the mall. His death caused the Byers family to take in El as a step daughter.

It was soon revealed that Hopper did not die, but was transported to Kamchatka, Russia after he jumped into the gate just before the key exploded. He was captured by the Russians and subsequently tortured for information, before being put to work in the prison. By the spring of 1986, Hopper hasn't been seen since the explosion that resulted in his disappearance. Eleven has since moved to California with the Byers. Whilst living in California, Joyce received an anonymous note claiming Hopper was alive, prompting her and Murray Bauman to set off on a quest to try and save Hopper.

History

Personality and traits

The loss of his daughter and family life left Hopper emotionally reserved and cynical. To manage his pain, he regularly drank alcohol, smoked several cigarettes a day and developed an addiction to anti-anxiety drugs. Instead of making real connections with people, he slept around with several women who he never contacted again.

Despite being the Police Chief, he didn't care about his job, as he regularly slept in and showed up late and had an overall laid back attitude in the office even before the Byers case, and had an indifference to the cases brought to his attention. Only when Will Byers went missing and it turned out to be a government cover-up did he start caring about doing his job properly, as he had a personal interest in the case.

After discovering Eleven and taking her in to his cabin as her new home, Hopper grew to be highly sympathetic and responsible, which was why they quickly formed a father-daughter bond. To ensure her safety as well as fear for losing her like his daughter, Hopper placed trip-wires around their location and had no other choice but to prohibit Eleven from leaving the cabin at all. His care for her was so fierce that one day, he got mad at her for putting herself in jeopardy, an act he regretted. He later acknowledged this and asked her forgiveness. His sense of duty also didn't waiver during their time together, as he would often go to check out Will's condition and help him out as well as scrutinizing the reason behind the abnormal incidents of Hawkins.

Hopper's empathy for Eleven was the reason why, with the help of Dr. Owens he later took her as his adopted daughter.

Abilities

  • Expert Combatant: As an Army veteran and the present Police Chief, Hopper is highly trained in hand-to-hand combat. He beat up David O'Bannon, defeated laboratory security guards, he was able to easily fight against and knock out a Russian spy, and even hold his own against Grigori and managed to win the fight in the end, though with extreme effort.
  • Expert Marksman: As an Army veteran and the present Police Chief, Hopper is noteworthy for his experience with a variety of firearms, ranging from handguns, shotguns and rifles. While he mostly carried his revolver around with him during investigations and settling minor disputes, he was shown to be remarkably proficient in handling rifles and shotguns when he fought side by side with Eleven and protected her from the Demodogs by shooting a substantial number of them without much difficulty, and later when he shot Russians while holding a rifle with one hand.
  • Survival Instincts: Hopper's basic surviving skills helped him considerably when he was trapped in the tunnels corrupted by the Upside Down, such as, placing cigars for leaving a trail to follow, cutting off a part of his shirt to cover his face, and crafting a makeshift torch from a branch.
  • Skilled Craftsman: His military life led him to be familiarized with some crafting skills too, as displayed in "The Pollywog" when he constructed trip-wires around Eleven's location.
  • Morse Code: Hopper also had some knowledge regarding radio operation and its mechanisms, as he taught Eleven how to communicate over the radio using Morse code during their time together, as well as was very quick to infer the Morse Codes the then possessed Will was trying to signal.

Equipment

Relationships

Familial

Sara was born in April of 1971, and was the apple of Jim's eye. The two would often read together, study science, and play in the park. One day, however, Sara began to hyperventilate in the park while she and Jim were playing, and was soon diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, Jim often laid in her hospital bed and happily read to her, but would often sit alone in the stairwells of the hospital crying hysterically. By the end, Sara could not be saved and sadly passed on, right in front of her devastated parents. Hopper mentioned to Joyce that his mind would distort him from reality and cause him to see and hear Sara, until he had to make the decision to pack the memories away, or else he would "fall down a hole [he] couldn't get out of". Despite this, one thing Hopper kept was the memory of Sara alive, taping an old drawing in his trailer, mentioning her fascination of science to others, and wore her old blue hair tie around his wrist. When Hopper is skeptic of Joyce hearing Will's voice on the phone, she berates him and angrily asks if he wouldn't know his own daughter's voice, surprising him and soon giving him motivation to find Will, not wanting to lose another child.

After adopting Eleven, Hopper sees a lot of Sara in her. When driving to Hawkins Lab to close the Gate, Hopper explains to El what a black hole is and that Sara had a picture book about it that she loved. El asks who Sara is, causing Hopper to say that she's "his little girl". When El asks where is she, Hopper states that "the black hole got her", and that he's afraid that it'll take her away to, which causes Hopper to apologize for being so strict on her. A month later, when Hopper allows El to attend the Snow Ball with the Party, he gifts her with Sara's hair tie.

Diane is Hopper's ex-wife and Sara's mother. The two married in 1972, and birthed a child they both loved dearly. But upon Sara's diagnosis of cancer and ultimate death, Diane and Jim divorced in 1979, causing Jim to move back to his hometown in Hawkins, Indiana, while Diane met a man named Bill and had another child. In “The Flea and the Acrobat”, Hopper calls her after ripping his trailer apart. It's hinted that Hopper has called her in hopes of getting her back previously, as Diane annoyingly states that she's told him not to call. Hopper simply tells her that he doesn't regret any of their marriage. Diane then asks if he's been drinking, to which Jim initially says no, but soon tells the truth that he has. Diane tearfully tells him she can't do this right now, and Jim simply tells her to say hello to her husband Bill for him before cutting her off by hanging up. As he prepares to leave, Diane attempts to call back, only for Jim to rip the cord out of the socket.

After her defeat of the Demogorgon in 1983, it is revealed that Eleven is alive and comes back through a Gate to escape the school. Hiding in the woods, Hopper had been leaving eggos for her in a lock box until she one day arrives during one of his drops. Hiding her for almost a year in his grandfather's old cabin, for what he believed to be her own safety, the two form a father-daughter bond.

While Hopper thoroughly cared for Eleven, his decision to prohibit her from leaving the cabin ultimately infuriates her as she became enraged for being continued to be promised to see Mike, even though it had been almost a year. They argue one night which causes Eleven to shatter all the windows. The next day, she leaves the cabin to visit her mother. Hopper, who was taken to Hawkins Lab for his injuries, regretted his actions and apologized Eleven for his misbehavior and admitted that he only wanted to protect her, though unaware that she already left.

After passing through many hardship and challenges, they reunite again to forgive each other and finally close the Mind Flayer's Gate together. At the end of the events of Season 2, Hopper adopts Eleven officially as his daughter "Jane".

In 1985, Hopper is very jealous and protective over Eleven due to the events of their past year and a half of living together. Eleven and Mike are now a couple with Mike frequently visiting the cabin to spend time with her, much to Hopper's annoyance. Also, whilst he now allows Eleven to leave the cabin, Hopper gave her a set of rules to stick to, including a curfew, and doesn't allow her to visit places with too many people, such as the Starcourt Mall.

Hopper's irritation at how much time Eleven is spending with Mike, who he thinks is bad for her, causes him to try and have a heart-to-heart with the two of them. When this fails due to Mike acting obnoxious, Hopper forces him to intentionally avoid Eleven with false excuses because he believes it's in her best interest.

Non-Familial

Hopper and Joyce have known each other since high school. They were fairly close, often skipping class to smoke together, even being caught by a teacher on at least one occasion. Their friendship continued well into adulthood, and remained even after Hopper returned to Hawkins after living in another city for several years. They started to soon developed feelings for each other.

While Bob and Hopper knew each other since high school and were friends from then, Hopper always trifled Bob for his passive nature, calling him "Bob the Brain". However, Jim developed a sense of respect for Bob when he put himself in danger in order to help the group escape from the lab, which ultimately leads to Bob's tragic demise.

Hopper and Mike did not get off to a good start. When questioning Mike on Will's whereabouts, Hopper ordered Mike and his friends to not go searching for Will, but Mike secretly disobeyed him and started searching for Will. When Hopper realized that Mike was in danger for sheltering Eleven, he did not hesitate to find him and come to his rescue at the junkyard. When interrogated by Martin Brenner, Hopper was forced to reveal Mike and the rest of the kids' location, which he regretted.

In 1984, Hopper still showed some care for Mike as he asked Eleven if she wanted him to check on Mike, which she refused. However, when Mike found out that Hopper had been hiding Eleven for nearly an entire year, he became furious with Hopper, blaming him for hiding her as he tried to justify his actions. When Mike took all of his anger out, Hopper stopped and comforted a sobbing Mike, apologizing to him as he realized how wrong he was to keep Eleven hidden.

However, in 1985, Hopper and Mike weren't on good terms again, especially when Hopper was irritated with how much time his adopted daughter, Eleven, spends being with Mike. Eventually, it boils over when Mike becomes too arrogant and Hopper forces Mike to be distant to Eleven, resulting in Eleven not hanging out with Mike, and eventually breaking up, much to Hopper's joy. Despite their differences, Hopper still wants Mike safe, telling him to be careful before the final attack, hinting he does care for Mike and is starting to support his relationship with El.

Hopper had two police officers who were loyal enough to work with him Phil Callahan and Calvin Powell. Hopper was often annoyed with their antics and foolishness, but still allowed them to help him investigate the disappearance of Will Byers and the rotting of the pumpkin fields. Both Callahan and Powell respect Hopper and follow his orders, and even worry about his well-being.

Hopper was friends and acquaintances with Murray Bauman, although the two were sometimes annoyed with each other. In 1984, as Murray investigated the disappearance of Barbara Holland, he tried to explain his clues and theories about a girl with psychic powers and how there could be Russians in Hawkins. However, Hopper, knowing the truth about Eleven and what really happened to Barbara, dismissed Murray's claims and told him to go home.

In 1985, Hopper sought Murray's help when he and Joyce captured Russian scientist Alexei, as Hopper knew that Murray knows how to speak in Russian.

The connection with his boss, Larry Kline hasn't been known too well in 1983 and 1984. However, Hopper was manipulated by him, and felt threatened due to being fired. When a protest group came over to the Town Hall to yell at Kline for building the Starcourt Mall - which caused them to lose their jobs - Kline said to Hopper that he had to arrest these people, claiming none of the people were given permission to protest. Hopper later noticed that Kline was in cahoots with a man in black, and thought it would be good to point out all the other sneaky things his boss did. Kline says he also knows Hopper did sneaky things too, and threatens to ruin his life by calling Tom Holloway who ran the newspaper. He also scoffs at Hopper to show he didn't care about the "dead daughter story" and tries to leave the office, before Hopper throws the man into the door, breaking his nose. Hopper threatens to break his boss's finger, until he hears that the visiting criminal came from Starcourt Mall. Hopper, Kline, and Joyce head to Kline's mansion, and Hopper teases Kline for being so wealthy, by asking him if he shot the zebra, which made the rug, before nearly exclaiming, "No shit" when he is told it is not real. Kline later corporates with Hopper before being released, though choosing his safety over Hopper's, when Grigori threatens him.

Hopper met and discovered Alexei when investigating the Hess Farm. When Grigori arrived and tried to kill Hopper and Joyce, Hopper decided to kidnap Alexei so he could reveal the Russians' plan. Hopper was quite hostile towards Alexei for most of their time together, often manhandling him and occasionally physically assaulting him, as well as mockingly referring to him as "Smirnoff" rather than his actual name. Hopper would also avoid trying to talk to Alexei until they reached the residence of Murray Bauman, often berating Joyce for trying to communicate with him despite the language barrier. Eventually the tension between Alexei and Hopper ended with Hopper beating Alexei up after he refused to help them over his Slurpee being a different flavor than what he asked for. After this interaction, Alexei was much more cooperative with Hopper and didn't try and provoke him again. After Alexei was killed at the Fun Fair, Hopper realized his death when asking Joyce where he was and looked depressed, despite being hostile towards him.

Jim Hopper and Grigori were enemies. Hopper first noticed him at Town Hall while waiting to be met by Mayor Kline. They engaged in combat with each other on multiple occasions, with Grigori gaining the upper hand most of time. After his first fight with Grigori, Hopper realized that his attacker was drove a motorcycle which matched Grigori's appearance who he saw earlier at Town Hall. This caused Hopper to investigate Grigori's identity. When confronting him again at the Hess Farm, Hopper threatened to shoot Grigori, but the Russian hitman did not believe Hopper would do it as he was a policeman. However, Hopper proved him wrong, but Grigori managed to dodge Hopper's gunshot and fought him.

Later, Hopper shot Grigori multiple times in a fight at the Fun Fair, but Grigori survived. When Hopper and Joyce tried to shut off the Key to the Upside Down at Starcourt Mall, Grigori intervened. Grigori knocked out Joyce and then went after Hopper, with the two engaging in a full out brawl. Both got close to the gateway machine, with Grigori seemingly on the verge of killing Hopper. However, Hopper was able to recover, stabbing Grigori's injured shoulder with his thumb. When Grigori tried to retaliate, Hopper told him he would "see him in hell" before he threw Grigori into the machine, ripping him to shreds and killing him, thus avenging Alexei.

Dmitri Antonov

While working as a guard in Kamchatka, Dmitri took note of Hopper's high profile as an American prisoner and offered to help him escape in exchange for payment. Desperate to leave, Hopper agreed. The first step in their loose alliance included Dmitri contacting Joyce by sending her a package with a letter and a doll informing her that Hopper was alive. Making contact with him through a payphone, Joyce was told to travel to Alaska with several tens of thousands in cash to meet a man named Yuri, who would fly her to Russia and retrieve Hopper. Eventually finding an opportunity, Hopper blows up several guards and escapes on a snowmobile to the rendezvous point. When Joyce and Murray arrive in Alaska, they are unexpectedly drugged and brought along as prisoners by Yuri, who has also informed the warden of the prison of Dmitri's treason, completely deviating from the plan to maximize profits for himself.

Now an inmate in the prison he once guarded, Dmitri and Hopper are forced to work together to find a new means of escape. The two are eventually selected alongside many other prisoners to take part in a battle against the prison's captured Demogorgon. Hopper, believing his time is running short, vents to Dmitri, explaining that he believes he himself is a curse to everybody he loves and that he believes he indirectly caused the death of his own daughter despite knowing the risks. Dmitri shares that he is as well a father. The night before the Demogorgon battle, during the group's final meal, Dmitri motivates the rest of the group to stick together during the battle in order to defeat the monster. The following day, as the battle commences, Dmitri and Hopper are the only surviving prisoners, having worked together to escape the cage and eventually join Murray and Joyce in beginning a siege on the prison.

Appearances

Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down
Season Two appearances
MADMAX Trick or Treat, Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate
Season Three appearances
Suzie, Do You Copy? The Mall Rats The Case of the Missing Lifeguard The Sauna Test
The Flayed E Pluribus Unum The Bite The Battle of Starcourt
Season Four appearances
The Hellfire Club Vecna's Curse The Monster and the Superhero
Dear Billy The Nina Project The Dive
The Massacre at Hawkins Lab Papa The Piggyback
Video Game Appearances
Stranger Things: The Game
Stranger Things 3: The Game
Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

Family tree

Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon.png
Bill
 
 
 
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Diane
 
 
 
Jim Hopper Family Tree Icon 001.png
Jim Hopper
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon.png
Diane's second child
 
 
 
Sarah Hopper Family Tree icon 001.png
Sara Hopper
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
Jane Ives Family Tree icon 001.png

Jane Hopper

Jim's Adopted Daughter

Memorable Quotes

Hopper:

  • "I know you do experiments on kidnapped little kids, whose parents' brains you've turned to mush. And I know you went a little too far this time and you messed up in a big way."
  • "Bike like this is like a Cadillac to these kids."
  • "Mornings are for coffee and contemplation."

Hopper to Joyce:

  • "You wanna know the worst thing that’s ever happened here in the four years I’ve been working here? You wanna know the worst thing, was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie's head because it thought that her hair was a nest."
  • "Maybe I’ll just kill Mike. I’m the chief of police, I could cover it up."
  • "You know what I would give? For a chance? You know what I would give?"

Hopper to Eleven:

  • "Make mistakes, learn from them, and when life hurts you -- because it will -- remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you're out of that cave."

Hopper to Murray:

  • "Listen, you know what? I liked your alien theory a lot better. And you want my advice? Why don't you stop bleeding those people dry and go home? All right? Go home!"

Hopper to Dr. Owens:

  • "Maybe when this is all said and done, maybe you could help her out too, you know? Maybe you could help her lead, like, a normal life. One where she's not poked and prodded and treated like some kind of lab rat, you know?"

Hopper & Eleven:

  • Hopper: "I am sorry, for everything. Sometimes, I could be so so..."
  • Eleven: "Stupid?"
  • Hopper: "Yeah, stupid."
  • Eleven: [Both holding their hands] "I have been stupid too."
  • Hopper: "I guess we both broke our rules."

Gallery

View Gallery.png For this subject's gallery, see Jim Hopper/Gallery.


Trivia

  • The name "Gillespie" (from Hopper's quote about the owl) could be a possible reference to the famous Silent Hill franchise (a series that largely focuses on many things - among which: deformed human-like creatures, other worlds and dimensions, as well as a town seemingly in the middle of nowhere and in which strange things happen. Also, the plot in the first game revolved around a father trying to find his missing daughter - as opposed to a mother looking for her missing son).
  • In the 1987 movie Predator, the first man ever killed by a Predator was named Jim Hopper.
  • The pills Hopper takes in the beginning of the series are Tuinal, a popular sedative/anti-anxiety drug that was discontinued in 1991.[2]
  • The blue bracelets around his right wrist are his daughter's hair ribbons--every time he wakes, he looks at them before he does anything else.[3] After adopting Eleven as his daughter, he passes the bracelets to her, as seen during the Snow Ball.[4]
  • When Hopper approaches the guard at the morgue, the guard is reading Cujo by Stephen King. Hopper's line "That's a nasty mutt" is a reference to the book being about a rabid dog.
  • Hopper drinks Schlitz beer. [5]
  • He takes his coffee black.
  • Not only does he rearrange Powell's cards when he arrives at the station, he has a box of gambling chips on his kitchen table; leading the audience to believe he may have an affection for gambling.
  • The typewriter in the first scene between Hopper and Joyce is an IBM Selectric III.
  • The truck he drives is a GMC K5 Blazer.[6] [7]
  • His license plate number is 98Y5, with the state shield displayed next to the number. [8]
  • His Character and look is based on Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and Han Solo.
  • Jim Hopper and Mike Wheeler are the only characters to appear in all episodes of season 1, season 2, and season 3.
  • In the news report shown in "The Battle of Starcourt", a newspaper is shown which states that Jim was a decorated Vietnam veteran.
  • Jim Hopper has only been absent in one episode, "The Hellfire Club".
  • Jim Hopper when he was in the army was likely stationed in Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri since he mentioned he was in the Chemical Corps.

References

  1. Basic math and attention to detail from information revealed in Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town yields his age. Hopper was 35 years old during his time in New York in July 1977.
  2. "Montauk Pilot"
  3. "Interview: Actor David Harbour Embraces ‘Stranger Things’"The Young Folks. August 3, 2016.
  4. "12 Clever Details You Might've Missed in Stranger Things Season 2"Dorkly
  5. Screenshot from The Vanishing of Will Byers
  6. "Screenshot"
  7. "Screenshot"
  8. "Screenshot"


Locations The Upside DownCreel HouseThe GateHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryLover's LakePublic LibraryPortalsHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel SystemTrailer Park
Entities D'ArtagnanDemobat (species)The DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)The FlayedHospital MonsterThe Mind FlayerRussian DemogorgonThe Spider MonsterHawkins Tunnel SystemVecnaVines
The Flayed Billy HargroveHeather HollowayBruce LoweTom HollowayJanet HollowayDoris Driscoll
Visitors Robin BuckleyJoyce ByersWill ByersElevenSteve HarringtonDustin HendersonBarbara HollandJim HopperMax MayfieldEddie MunsonBob NewbyShepardLucas SinclairMike WheelerNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down EggDungeons & DragonsThe VoidThe KeysVecna's curseVecna's Mind Lair
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