There is probably no one better suited to promoting a new season of Stranger Things than David Harbour, who, in addition to bringing warmth, pathos, and rural-dad hotness to the role of Sheriff Hopper, has mastered social media. Harbour took some time from his busy “smash that retweet button” schedule to present a Stranger Things screening at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery last Friday, where he dutifully mugged in photo ops with some pouty Ghostbusters, talked #Jopper, and listed various cultural and historical events that could inform the new season.
According to Variety, Harbour shared executive producer Shawn Levy’s description of season three as being “darker, scarier, bigger, and broader” than its predecessors. But he also told the publication that despite the lingering threat of that upside-down monster, Stranger Things 3 is also taking inspiration from the Chevy Chase comedy, Fletch. The addition of Jake Busey’s character, a not-so-upstanding journalist named Bruce, could point to that 1985 film. “The Duffers are so specific each year with the movies,” Harbour says. “And Fletch is one movie we get to play around and have some fun with this season, which you wouldn’t expect from Stranger Things and you wouldn’t expect from the Spielberg universe and you certainly wouldn’t expect from a darker season.”
Then, focusing on his character, Harbour says Hopper’s relationship with Eleven “is going to get far more complex, because, you know, things happen to girls and boys when they’re 13 and 14.” Eleven’s move into adolescence isn’t something her adoptive dad is going to handle “very well. That’s a horrifying thing for him—maybe even more so than fighting inter-dimensional monsters.” And while teasing a “summer of love” for Hopper, the Hellboy actor doesn’t rule out reuniting with Winona Ryder’s Joyce Byers: “From the very beginning, I thought that these are two tortured, messed up, beautiful people who are like puzzle pieces that can’t stand each other but actually need each other.”
Harbour, who says Stranger Things 3 is “so much of a departure and so much of a risk,” also hinted at the possibility of uncovering more of Hopper’s past, including his time in New York and Vietnam. At the screening, the actor dropped the following teases:
We know that he was a cop in New York in probably the ’70s, so I wonder if he knew Frank Serpico and if there are a lot of things we could go into in terms of that and his police training in New York,. And we know that he was in Vietnam, so I’m curious as to how his tours in Vietnam might have shaped him to be who he is and if some of that stuff doesn’t still linger or haunt him in various ways.
Stranger Things 3 is scheduled to return in 2019.