Chief Hopper's Chevy Blazer may be back in action in Stranger Things Season 4. A photo shared on Reddit earlier in October, reportedly taken by a fan who witnessed the new season in production in Rome, Georgia, shows what appears to be the car belonging to the one and only Jim Hopper (David Harbour). Netflix (unsurprisingly) did not respond to TV Guide's request for comment, but for now let's assume these are Hopper's wheels.
Considering Hopper's fate is one of the biggest question marks punctuating Stranger Things 3's explosive finale and mysterious credits sequence, any sighting that indicates he might have survived the blast is intriguing. Let's dig in to what this could mean for the season ahead.
Last time we saw Hopper's ride, it was in terrible shape; the engine exploded while he and Joyce (Winona Ryder) were escorting their Russian asset Alexei (Alec Ugtoff), aka Smirnoff, and they had to ditch it in the woods. By the time their Terminator-style tail (Andrey Ivchenko) caught up to the scene, the Blazer was giving off a cloud of black smoke and definitely didn't appear to be operable. The frame did look to be mostly intact though, so it's possible a mechanic much, much better than Hopper could restore the car.
If the car was repaired, it could have found its way into new ownership. Maybe Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) likes to take Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) on joy rides so that they can really feel the wind in their bouffants. Maybe Joyce went back to Hawkins to get it for one of her boys. Maybe the incoming chief of police wanted to keep the same car as Hopper for continuity's sake.
The more exciting possibility is that the Blazer's presence on the set means Hopper himself will be back in some way next season — Harbour's Saturday Night Live opening monologue stunt seems to support that possibility as well. But that doesn't necessarily mean he survived the ending of Stranger Things 3.
There have been quite a few hints that the season ahead will introduce a time travel element of some kind; consider the tick-tocking clock in the Stranger Things 4 announcement teaser and the third season's homages to 1985's Back to the Future. Plus, the original pitch for the series, then dubbed Montauk, mentions time travel as part of the lab's experimental projects. The pristine condition of Hopper's car here could indicate a leap back in time to sometime before the vehicle erupted in flames. If so, we could still see Hopper alive and well — even if his ultimate fate remained grim.
It's possible the car is just a leftover prop with absolutely no significance to the story of Stranger Things 4. But if we had to lay a wager on what the return of Hopper's car means, we'd guess it means we'll see our friendly police chief once again before this show is done ... in some timeline or another.
Stranger Things Seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix.