|“||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
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 disappeared mysteriously, Hopper's life became infinitely more complicated. He begins to realize Will's disappearance was caused through an experiment at Hawkins National Laboratory and helps Joyce find her son through an alternate dimension called the Upside Down where they are able to bring him home safe and sound.
Later, Hopper found Eleven and unbeknownst to everyone, took care of her, even using his cabin to give her a safe place to live in secret. Living together for almost a year, the two formed a father-daughter bond. After the pumpkin patches began to rot suddenly, he discovered the corrupted tunnels beneath Hawkins were responsible for it. Following the massacre at Hawkins Lab, Hopper reunited with Eleven and they closed the Mind Flayer's Gate together. Eventually, he adopted Eleven as his daughter and took her to the Snow Ball. After being adopted, Eleven was legally able to change her name from Jane Ives to Jane Hopper, though she still prefers Eleven or "El".
By the summer of 1985, Hopper became overprotective of El as her love for Mike began to fully erupt. Meanwhile, he secretly pines for Joyce, who still grieved over her a former lover, Bob. He is soon wrapped into Joyce's antics and soon discovers Russians residing in Hawkins under the newly built Starcourt Mall, with an assassin close behind them. Through the help of Joyce, Murray, and a Russian scientist named Alexei, Hopper joins forces with the Party to destroy a Gate to the Upside Down opened by the Russians. However, Joyce is forced to close the Gate with Hopper trapped between it, presumably killing him. His death caused the Byers to move out of Hawkins with El by their side.
However, it's been revealed that Hopper had mysteriously been transported alive to Kamchatka, Russia, being withheld in a prison where they feed prisoners to a captured Demogorgon. Now with a shaved head and forced to hard labor, Hopper remains in the Russian camp encountering dangers both human and other.
- Main article: Jim 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.
Skills and Abilities
- Gunmanship: As a former Army veteran and the present Police Chief, Hopper is noteworthy for his experience with a variety of firearms, ranging from handguns, shotguns and .22 LRs to M16s and even an AK-47. While he mostly carried his revolver around with him during investigations and settling minor disputes, he was shown to be remarkably proficient in handling assault 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.
- 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.
- Craftsmanship: 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.
Sara was Hopper’s late daughter who died of cancer. Her death severely affected him, causing him to enter a deep state of grief and depression. Sara’s death provided him with motivation to help Joyce find Will, and later played a part in his decision to take in Eleven. Additionally, he wore her blue hair tie around his wrist as a memento, which he later gave to Eleven who wore it during the Snow Ball.
Diane is Hopper's ex-wife and Sara's mother. They were married for seven years, but divorced shortly after Sara’s death. In “The Flea and the Acrobat”, Hopper called her, telling her he doesn’t regret the time they shared together.
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 food 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.
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.
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.
|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|
|Diane's second child||Sara 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."
- "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."
- "You know what I would give? For a chance? You know what I would give?"
- "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!"
- "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."
- 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.
- 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. After adopting Eleven as his daughter, he passes the bracelets to her, as seen during the Snow Ball.
- 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. 
- 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. 
- His license plate number is 98Y5, with the state shield displayed next to the number. 
- 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.
|For this subject's gallery, see Jim Hopper/Gallery.|
- 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.
- "Montauk Pilot"
- "Interview: Actor David Harbour Embraces ‘Stranger Things’"The Young Folks. August 3, 2016.
- "12 Clever Details You Might've Missed in Stranger Things Season 2"Dorkly
- Screenshot from The Vanishing of Will Byers
|The Upside Down|
|Locations||The Upside Down • The Gate • Hawkins • Hawkins National Laboratory • Public Library • Portals • Hawkins Middle School • Hawkins Tunnel System|
|Entities||D'Artagnan • The Demogorgon • Demogorgon (species) • The Flayed • Hospital Monster • The Mind Flayer • Russian Demogorgon • The Spider Monster • Hawkins Tunnel System • Vines|
|The Flayed||Billy Hargrove • Heather Holloway • Bruce Lowe • Tom Holloway • Janet Holloway • Doris Driscoll|
|Visitors||Joyce Byers • Will Byers • Eleven • Steve Harrington • Dustin Henderson • Barbara Holland • Jim Hopper • Max Mayfield • Bob Newby • Shepard • Lucas Sinclair • Mike Wheeler • Nancy Wheeler|
|Miscellaneous||Upside Down Egg • Dungeons & Dragons • The Void • The Keys|
|Articles may contain spoilers.|