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This page chronicles the history of Jim Hopper, a major character in Stranger Things.

History

Background

Jim Hopper was born in 1942 he attended school with Joyce Byers and Bob Newby in Hawkins in the late  50s Hopper hints that he wasn't exactly the model student while in high school and was unenthusiastic towards science; on at least one occasion, he lied to his mother about his whereabouts, so he could secretly hook up with girls such as Chrissy Carpenter.
The Upside Down - Hopper, Sarah and Diane 1

Jim and Diane realise there is something wrong with their daughter

Storage boxes kept at the cabin of Hopper's grandfather indicate that Jim served in the Vietnam War. A newspaper article written during 1985 also describes him as a Vietnam War veteran.

He later married a woman named Diane and moved to New York, where he worked in the police force. Together they had a daughter, Sara. However, Sara was diagnosed with cancer. Despite receiving cutting-edge chemotherapy treatment, Sara was unable to recover, passing away at a young age.[1]

After her passing, Jim and Diane divorced. He moved back to Hawkins in 1979 where he became Police Chief at Hawkins Police Department, a largely carefree occupation due to the town's low crime rate. Hopper started to rely on alcohol and prescription medication to get through his days and began sleeping around with women much younger than himself.[2]

1983

Investigating Will's disappearance

November 7

In November 1983, Joyce's son Will Byers disappeared. Initially Hopper did not take the case too seriously. He suggested Will was probably "playing hookie" when talking to Joyce at the police station; however, he soon realized the situation was much more complicated than it initially appeared and would require in-depth investigation.

Vanishing of Will Byers - Hopper with the boys

Hopper talks to the boys in the principal's office

Hopper entered Hawkins Middle School and briefly discussed Will with his friends Mike, Lucas, and Dustin. The boys informed him that Will had taken the road where Cornwallis and Kerley meet on his way home the previous night. Hopper then requested the boys to return back home after school and not go out searching for Will.

Vanishing of Will Byers - Will's bike is found

Hopper and his deputies find Will's bike

Hopper looked along the road with Officers Powell and Callahan hoping to find evidence, eventually finding Will's bicycle on the side of the road. He theorized that Will had returned home due to the close vicinity to the Byers household. Hopper decided to investigate the house, where he found little evidence to support his theory. He investigated further, going into the garden shed where he heard strange noises. He decided to organize a search party to look for Will. That night, the party walked all the way to Cartersville and back but found nothing. The search was called off because of a storm.

November 8

Hopper headed over to the Byers house to check up on Joyce, informing her of the search results and taking a look at her "barbequed" phone. Later that day, Hopper was summoned to Benny's Burgers after Benny was found dead inside, who appeared to have committed suicide. Hopper then talked to Earl, as he had been present at the diner the day before. Earl told him about an incident involving a kid with a shaved head, who entered the diner and stole food from the kitchen. When pressed as to whether this child could've been Will but with a buzzcut, Earl agreed that it could've been.

At night, while searching for Will, Hopper and his co-workers found a torn piece of clothing at the end of a drainpipe near the diner leading to Hawkins National Laboratory.

November 9

The next day, Hopper went to the laboratory with Powell and Callahan to investigate. He was allowed to see the security tapes from the night of Will's disappearance, but he noticed there was no storm on the tapes as there had been that night.

Hopper went to the public library with Powell to search newspapers, where he learned that the laboratory and Dr. Brenner had been involved in the experiments known as Project MKUltra. He began to believe that the lab was responsible for Will's disappearance, but Powell thought it was too big of a reach. They were then notified by Callahan to head over to the quarry.

Will's body was discovered in the quarry by State Police officer David O'Bannon, but Joyce insisted to him that the body wasn't her son and claimed that he was being hunted by a man with no face. Hopper dismissed these worries as grief-induced delusions, similar to delusions he experienced after the loss of his daughter.

Break-in at Hawkins Lab

November 10

The Body - Hopper beats up O'Bannon

Hopper beats up O'Bannon outside the Hideaway

Hopper became suspicious after talking to the local morgue's usual coroner, who informed him that state coroners had replaced him when examining the body. Hopper sought out David O'Bannon in a bar and discovered he was lying. He beat him up to get more information about who told him to lie and saw that a black car was watching them. Hopper broke into the morgue, cutting open Will's body. He found that the body was stuffed with cotton. With his suspicions confirmed, he decided to break into the laboratory compound.[3]

Flea and the Acrobat - Hopper at the Gate

Hopper looks out for attackers outside the Gate

Inside the compound, Hopper broke into a high security area after confiscating a pass from one of the guards. He found a solitary confinement room containing a child-sized bed and a drawing on the wall. Delving deeper into the laboratory, he found a room overgrown with strange biologic matter, unfurling from a Gate to another dimension. He was knocked out by agents in hazmat suits before he could investigate further.

November 11

Hopper awoke the next morning in his own house and searched thoroughly to find a hidden microphone in one of his lights. He went directly to Joyce's house to explain all he knew and to apologize for not initially believing her. He also revealed his theory that he may have unintentionally been tracking down the daughter of Terry Ives the whole time he had been looking for Will.

Saving Will

November 12

Arriving at Terry's house, Hopper and Joyce were greeted by her sister, Becky Ives, who recounted Terry's involvement in MKUltra. Hopper was disgusted to hear that Terry had been willingly paid to test drugs while concurrently being pregnant. He learned, to his surprise, that Terry had miscarried, although he was aware that the "miscarriage" may have been a cover-up, as with Will's fake body.

Hopper received notice from Powell that Will's elder brother Jonathan had been arrested for assaulting an officer.[4] At the station, Hopper demanded that Jonathan be released but later learnt that he and Nancy had accumulated a box full of weapons in the trunk of his car. He worryingly learnt that he and Nancy had been preparing to fight the monster. Now fully aware that the government officials were descending on the town, Hopper attempted to contact the three friends of Will, and Jonathan suggested using Will's mobile radio. Hopper found the boys and Eleven in an abandoned bus located in a deserted junkyard, encountering and incapacitating several agents who were also looking for them. Hopper took El and the boys to the Byers' house.

Eleven attempted to contact Will and Barbara using her psychic abilities, but she was limited in what she could achieve. Dustin had the idea to create a makeshift sensory deprivation tank in order to amplify Eleven's abilities. The group broke into Hawkins Middle School, with Hopper and Jonathan fetching bags of de-icing salt as Dustin and Lucas set up a kiddie pool. Eleven entered the pool, and entering a deep psychic state. Eleven discovered that Barb had been killed, but she had found Will, barely clinging to his life.

In a desperate attempt to save the boy, Hopper traveled to the laboratory with Joyce in the hopes of entering the Upside Down via the Gate. They were apprehended before they entered the building.[5]

The Upside Down - Hopper and Brenner negotiate

Hopper and Brenner negotiate

Hopper and Joyce were separated and interrogated by Brenner, Agent Frazier, and another agent. Hopper told them he was aware of the experimentation on Eleven and the fact that they had staged Barb's run-away. They threatened to kill Hopper and stage an overdose if he did not cooperate, but he realized they needed him to locate Eleven. He came to an "agreement" with them; they gave him and Joyce access to the Gate and promised the safety of the three boys, and in return he had to tell them Eleven's location.

As the laboratory officials left to apprehend Eleven, Hopper and Joyce were freed from confinement and allowed access through the Gate to the Upside Down, wearing hazmat suits. They walked through the woods, where Hopper found and briefly studied a mysterious egg. They looked on at the tattered remains of Castle Byers before continuing to the Byers household, where they found a trail of the monster's blood. Hopper and Joyce followed the trail to the town library, where they found Will strung up in webs of strange biologic matter, with a tendril extending down his throat. Hopper pulled out the tendril before shooting and destroying it. He coached Joyce through a combined CPR effort, which revived Will. They returned to their dimension, taking Will to the hospital immediately.

The Upside Down - Hopper is picked up by agents

Hopper is picked up by agents

Hopper left through the back door of the hospital. As he began to walk away, a black car pulled up near him. After an agent got out of the car and indicated to him, Hopper entered the vehicle, which drove away to an unknown location.

December

The Upside Down - Hopper leaves food

Hopper puts food in the box

A month later, Hopper left a Christmas party at the police station, taking some leftovers with him to give to Eleven. [6] Driving out to Mirkwood on a snowy night, he placed the food, along with some Eggo waffles, in a concealed box before returning to his car.

1983-1984

Living with Eleven

In December, he was reunited with Eleven, having escaped from the Upside Down and found his box of food. He then took her to a cabin in the woods that would serve as their new home. Together, they cleaned the cabin and rigged nearby trees with trip wire to alert them of any intruders. In order for them to communicate safely, Hopper taught Eleven how to read and signal Morse code. Hopper created a set of rules for Eleven's safety, requiring her to always have the curtains drawn, to always have the door locked, and to never leave the cabin.

1984

Investigating the pumpkin rot

October 30

On October 30, Hopper was met by Murray Bauman, a private investigator, outside the police station. Initially, Hopper tried to brush him off, but when Murray mentioned a hypothetical “Russian girl with psionic abilities”, Hopper, believing the child to be Eleven, agreed to give him five minutes to talk. Hopper listened as Murray tried to convince him of a Russian spy presence in Hawkins, eventually coming to the conclusion that Barbara Holland had been taken by Russians. As Murray was talking, Hopper received a phone call requesting that he investigate Merrill's pumpkin patch and had to leave, cutting their time short.

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At the pumpkin patch, a strange rot had destroyed all the pumpkins. Merrill told Hopper he believed that Eugene had poisoned his field, though Hopper was skeptical of the idea. His attention was then drawn to a sound coming from the nearby cornfield. Hopper went to investigate the source of the noise, but was interrupted by a crow.

Later that day, Hopper met Joyce and Will at the lab, accompanying them during Will's medical exam. Will explained his episode that he had experienced at the arcade to Dr. Owens, telling him that an evil force wanted to kill everyone. Owens told Joyce and Hopper the reason for the increased number of episodes was because of the “Anniversary Effect.” He advised them to just treat Will as normally as possible.

That night, Hopper arrived at the cabin late. This frustrated Eleven because Hopper did not signal to tell her ahead of time. After apologizing, the two then ate dinner together.
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Hopper and Eleven have breakfast together.

October 31

The next morning, Eleven tried to convince Hopper to let her go trick-or-treating, arguing that she wouldn't be seen by the bad men because of her ghost costume. Hopper refused, as it would have been too big of a risk. He then came up with a compromise, telling her he would get off work early and they'd watch a scary movie together. While not completely happy with the compromise, Eleven agreed to it.

EN US ST2 Darkness 3840x2160 Still02.0

Hopper discovers the rot that has been spreading

At the police station, Hopper questioned Eugene about poisoning Merrill's pumpkins. He denied any involvement, and instead accused Merrill, since his, as well as several other local farmers' crops, had also succumbed to the same rot. At Eugene's field, Hopper discovered the rot had begun affecting nearby trees. As he was marking the effected area, he lost track of time, resulting in him arriving to the cabin late again. This angered Eleven, and when Hopper finally arrived at the cabin, she refused to come out of her room.

November 1

The following morning, Hopper managed to convince her to come out of her room. At breakfast, Eleven asked Hopper when she would be able to see Mike again. He tried to placate her by saying she'd be able to see him “soon,” but Eleven's patience had reached its limit. She lashed out at Hopper and stormed away to her room, slamming the door.

Hopper realized that the rot was originating from Hawkins Lab. When he told Owens this, he dismissed Hopper's worries, assuring him that everything was contained. Hopper wasn't satisfied, and demanded that Owens convince him otherwise. They, along with a team of scientists, traveled to one of the contaminated pumpkin patches. While there, Hopper received a call from Powell, who had been called by a woman who had witnessed a strange girl manipulate her child's swing. Realizing this to be Eleven, he left the pumpkin patch and headed to the cabin.

When she arrived at the cabin, Eleven discovered Hopper waiting for her. The two got into an argument, with Hopper grounding her and revoking her television privileges. However, Eleven held the television in place with her powers, resulting in Hopper destroying the device's cord. Furious, Eleven told Hopper she hated him and went to her room. As Hopper reprimanded her and tried to convince her to open the door, she had a psychic tantrum, breaking all of the cabin's windows.[7]

Exploring the tunnels

November 2

Ep4-Hopper talks to an ailing Will

Will tries to explain Hopper about his "now-memories"

Before leaving for work the following morning, Hopper told Eleven he'd consider fixing the television if she cleaned up the mess she had made the night before. After heading to his car, he was informed by Flo that Joyce had been trying to contact him. After arriving at the Byers' house, Will explained to Hopper that he now knew things he hadn't before, through memories that “were happening all at once”, which he called “now-memories”. When Will couldn't make sense of these now-memories, Joyce asked him to draw what he saw. He began frantically drawing what at first appeared to be random scribbles, but Joyce and Hopper soon realized that the drawings were all connected. After assembling the drawings in the correct order, they discovered the drawings depicted a strange maze-like pattern. Assuming that the drawings depicted vines, Hopper made the connection to the pumpkin patch and left.
Tunnel

Hopper investigates the tunnels

After digging a hole in the pumpkin patch's soil, Hopper descended into a subterranean tunnel overgrown with biological matter originating from the Upside Down. As he was exploring, he encountered a strange growth that sprayed some type of spore-spray in his face, causing him to lose consciousness.

November 3

When he awoke, he vomited a dark substance. Realizing he was trapped, Hopper continued through the tunnels looking for a way out. He eventually came to a point where several of the tunnels intersected, filled with several animal carcasses.

Discovering that the vines were vulnerable to fire, he fashioned a makeshift torch out of a piece of an animal carcass and one of his sleeves. As he futilely tried to dig a way out, he was overcome by exhaustion and stopped to rest. He was then ensnared in a mass of vines. Eventually, he was found by Joyce and Bob, who had discovered his predicament through Will's connection with the shadow monster. After Hopper was freed, soldiers from the lab arrived and urged them to leave shortly before burning the tunnels. Suddenly, Will, who was waiting above ground with Mike, collapsed and began convulsing on the ground.[8]

Hopper, Joyce, Bob, and Mike were taken to Hawkins Lab, where Will was quickly treated. There, Dr. Owens showed Hopper how far the Gate had grown and been spreading beneath Hawkins as a series of network tunnels. Hopper asked him why they hadn't burned them yet, to which Dr. Owens replied that there was a complication.

Escaping Hawkins Lab

November 4

When Will awoke, he could not remember Hopper, Owens, or Bob, and was barely able to remember Mike.[9] In a test involving a severed vine from the Upside Down, Owens asked if Will could feel anything as another scientist used a blowtorch to burn the vine. Through this, they determined that Will had some sort of “virus” that connected him to all other infected hosts in a hive intelligence.
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Hopper apologizes to Eleven through the radio

Hopper, after recovering, used the radio to apologize to Eleven and acknowledged that he didn't want her to get hurt at all, though he was unaware that Eleven had already left the cabin. Back in the infirmary, Will claimed he knew of a way they could possibly stop the shadow monster. Using images that the lab personnel had taken of the map, Will directed the scientists to an area, stating “he doesn't want me to see there.”

As soldiers traversed the tunnels with Hopper and Dr. Owens watching them from the control room, Will revealed that the shadow monster made him deceive the soldiers. Realizing it was a trap, Mike tried to warn the scientists, but it was too late; the soldiers were ambushed and killed by a pack of Demo-dogs. Shortly after, Demo-dogs began invading the lab. Hopper and Dr. Owens came out through the stairs. To prevent the shadow monster from knowing their location, Mike urged them to
Hopper Mike and Joyce trapped in Hawkins Lab

Hopper, carrying Will, guides the group out of the lab

sedate Will. Once Will was unconscious, the group took refuge in a surveillance room, where they witnessed the lab being overrun by Demo-dogs before the power went out.

To restore the power and allow them a way out, Bob volunteered to go down to the basement and reset the breakers, but requested Hopper to get the group out of there and not wait for him. Once the power was restored and the doors unlocked, Mike, Joyce, Hopper, and Will made it to safety while Owens stayed behind to guide Bob. Just when it seemed Bob was safe, he was tackled and killed by several Demo-dogs. Joyce cried in terror but Hopper managed to bring her out of the Lab. Outside, the group met up with Nancy, Jonathan, Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max. Together, they escaped the lab.

At the Byers' house, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Max speculated about the shadow monster's weakness. When they realized that the shadow monster controlled everything in a hive mind, they compared it to the Mind Flayer, a monster from Dungeons & Dragons that similarly controls the minds of its victims. They also speculated that, if they killed the Mind Flayer, they would kill everything it controlled. Mike then proposed that, in order to discover the Mind Flayer's weakness, they'd have to take Will someplace he couldn't recognize and try to get through to him. After making the backyard shed unrecognizable, they attempt to interrogate Will. While the Mind Flayer had taken over a majority of Will's mind and body, a part of Will managed to subconsciously signal to them in Morse code. Deciphering his message, they discovered the way to stop the Mind Flayer: by closing the Gate. Soon after, the phone in the Byers' kitchen rang, giving away their location.

Closing the Gate

November 5

Stranger-things-hopper-eleven-bracelet-hairband

Hopper and Eleven reunite as Mike discovers the truth.

As the house was being surrounded by a pack of Demo-dogs, the group armed themselves. Before the pack could attack, however, to everyone's surprise, Eleven arrived and eradicated them.[10] After a brief reunion with Eleven, Mike deduced that Hopper had been hiding Eleven away for almost a year and forbade her to contact him and as such, Hopper and Mike had an argument as he blamed Hopper. However, they reconciled quickly and together, the group came up with a plan: Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy would exorcise the Mind Flayer from Will's body while Eleven and Hopper would go to the lab and close the Gate.

While Hopper and Eleven were reaching the lab, Eleven revealed that she visited her mother but admitted that she shouldn't have left. In return, Hopper apologized to Eleven about his misbehavior, telling her that it was all his fault and that he was sorry for everything, as he thought he would have lost Eleven just like he'd lost his daughter. They both forgave each other as they held each other's hand.

At the lab, Hopper and Eleven came across Dr. Owens, heavily wounded but still alive. After Hopper patched him up, Hopper revealed that he had been protecting Eleven for almost a year and convinced Owens to help her lead a better, happier life.

Hopper and Eleven at Gate

Hopper and Eleven reach the Gate

After making their way through the complex, they eventually reached the Gate, receiving the signal from Jonathan to destroy it. After being lowered down to the Gate's underground entrance, Eleven, frightened, held Hopper's hand. As Hopper assured her, she began closing it. Now aware of her presence, the Mind Flayer attempted to stop Eleven by sending the Demo-dogs after her, though Hopper managed to keep them at bay with gunfire. The Mind Flayer then resorted to attacking Eleven directly. By channelling her anger, she was able to overcome the Mind Flayer and close the Gate for good. Hopper tearfully embraced Eleven, exhausted after using her powers, and commended her for her bravery as they both return.

Adopting Eleven

December

A month later, Hopper met with Owens at the Hideaway. He received a forged birth certificate with the name “Jane Hopper”, indicating he had taken her in as an adopted daughter.[11] Though Owens advised Hopper that Eleven should still lie low for another year to ensure their safety, Hopper ultimately convinced him to give Eleven a night out to reunite with her friends at the Snow Ball.

On December 15, after taking Eleven to the Snow Ball, Hopper met Joyce in the school's parking lot. He comforted Joyce, who was still grieving over Bob's death.

1985

June 28

June 29

June 30

July 1

July 2

July 3

July 4

1986

References

  1. "Season 1 Chapter 8: "The Upside Down"
  2. Season 1 Chapter 1: "The Vanishing of Will Byers"
  3. Season 1 Chapter 4: "The Body"
  4. Season 1 Chapter 6: "The Monster"
  5. Season 1 Chapter 7: "The Bathtub"
  6. The person receiving the food from Hopper was revealed at the 2017 Stranger Things Comic Con Panel.
  7. Season 2 Chapter 4: "Will the Wise"
  8. Season 2 Chapter 5: "Dig Dug"
  9. Season 2 Chapter 6: "The Spy"
  10. Season 2 Chapter 8: "The Mind Flayer (episode)"
  11. Season 2 Chapter 9: "The Gate (episode)"
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