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Stranger Things Season 4: Hopper’s Fate Has Been Revealed

This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 and was originally published in July 2019. This story has been updated following the release of a new Stranger Things 4 teaser trailer in February 2020.Update, 2/14: A new teaser for Stranger Things Season 4 has confirmed that Hopper is alive and that he is “the…

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Stranger Things Season 4: Hopper’s Fate Has Been Revealed
This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 and was originally published in July 2019. This story has been updated following the release of a new Stranger Things 4 teaser trailer in February 2020.

Update, 2/14: A new teaser for Stranger Things Season 4 has confirmed that Hopper is alive and that he is “the American” that the Russians referred to in the Season 3 post-credits scene.In a teaser titled “From Russia with love,” we see Hopper (with a shaved head, no less) working in a desolate Russian labor camp, building a train track. The teaser ends with the unmistakable chittering sound of a Demogorgon, which makes sense, since the end of Season 3 also revealed that the Russians have a Demogorgon in their possession. Watch the teaser below:

From Russia with love… pic.twitter.com/ZWEMgy63Et

— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) February 14, 2020

Netflix released the teaser to announce that production has started on Stranger Things Season 4, with the Duffer brothers offering this hint about the plot of Season 4:

“We’re excited to officially confirm that production on Stranger Things 4 is now underway — and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper! Although it’s not all good news for our ‘American’; he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human…and other. Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything… Season 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and most frightening season yet, and we cannot wait for everyone to see more. In the meantime — pray for the American.”

Original story continues below…

Stranger Things hasn’t had a particularly high body count among its regular cast members throughout its first two seasons (sorry, Barb and Bob), which led many fans to speculate that one or more main characters might die in Season 3 – but after the Season 3 finale, we’ve got a lot of questions about one of our heroes in particular…

While Dacre Montgomery’s Billy definitely died in the Season 3 finale, we’re a little more dubious about the fate of Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who was supposedly killed by the explosion of the machine that the Russians were using to reopen the gate to the Upside Down, but may actually be trapped in a Russian prison, judging by the post-credits scene.

David Harbour weighed in on whether Hopper is dead or alive in a new interview with EW – and unsurprisingly, he was fairly coy: “I don’t really know but we will have to see together. It’s a pretty serious situation that he gets himself into there at the end and it’s a pretty moving arc in terms of the way this all plays out. So I think we’ll sort of leave it at that and see if there is a life beyond, but I’m not sure yet.”

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight about whether Hopper could be “the American” in the post-credits scene, Harbor teased, “I have no idea! I mean that, of course, is my hope too. It seems pretty crazy though. You know, that machine went off and blew up and Hopper seemed to be trapped there. He did glance around a little bit, but he seemed to be trapped and the machine exploded. And then you cut to, what was it? It starts with a ‘K’ or something – some town in Russia, right? Where there’s some American and there’s some other prisoner. I don’t know, I mean, it seems strange…”

But the Duffer Brothers cautioned that things might not be as obvious as they seem: “You definitely should not assume anything,” Matt Duffer told EW. “The line that Russian guard said is purposely intended to spark debate. We need people to ask the very questions that you’re asking.”

“Assuming there’s a Season 4, obviously the question of who that American is in that cell and then also what they’re doing with the Demogorgon, that is a tease,” added Ross Duffer. “We try to tee up some Season 4.”

Regardless of what the Duffers say, we’re pretty confident that Hopper is alive and will return in Stranger Things Season 4, for several reasons:

  • We never see Hopper’s body. It may be a cliche, but going by standard TV rules, if the other protagonists never find a body, the character is probably still alive.
  • The Duffer brothers clearly want us to assume that Hopper is “the American” the Russians mention in the post-credits scene, because there’s really no other reason for two guards to be so vague about a prisoner’s identity immediately after a main character’s shocking “death.”
  • As a number of fans have noted, after Eleven finishes reading Hopper’s note, “Heroes” by Peter Gabriel starts playing – the same song the Duffer brothers chose as the soundtrack when police found a fake version of Will’s body in the lake when he was actually still alive and trapped in the Upside Down. The show doesn’t often repeat musical cues, so this feels like a blatant clue that this could be another death fakeout.
  • It’s also fairly convenient that Eleven’s powers aren’t working at the end of the season, since the show established last season that she’s capable of finding people if she’s inclined to look (which she hasn’t been in terms of locating her papa, Dr. Brenner), and would probably be able to sense that Hopper is still alive somewhere if she was operating at full strength.
  • As Harbour noted, we see Hopper looking back towards the gate (and therefore towards the open rift to the Upside Down) several times before Joyce turns both keys to shut off the machine. There’s no way off the gantry in front of him with the way the energy is sparking, but this is a subtle way of indicating that there technically is a way out behind, even if it might incinerate him. If Hopper is already fairly certain he’s going to die, what’s the harm in making one last potentially fatal leap, on the off chance it might save him?
  • Not only do we not see Hopper’s body, if you’re quick enough at pausing, you’ll see that there’s no sign of him beside the machine right before it explodes:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Hopper should be visible to the left of the machine in these shots, but there’s no sign of him anywhere – curiouser and curiouser.

But he was visible just a few moments before, when Joyce’s realization set in:

Our best guess is that Hopper jumped (or was thrown by the explosion, if you want to discount those shots before the machine blew) and ended up trapped in the Upside Down. Perhaps he’ll be the new host for the Mind Flayer in Season 4, just as a way of really twisting the knife for Eleven and Joyce, or perhaps he’ll find a way to escape when someone else opens another gate (maybe the Russians could actually be useful and grab him, if they don’t already have him captive?).Of course, the only downside of this theory is that it might lessen the emotional impact of Hopper’s poignant “heart-to-heart” letter to El, which served as a powerful farewell to the beloved character even if he didn’t write it with his death in mind. But honestly, if it brings David Harbour back for more snark and helicopter parenting, that’s a price we’re willing to pay.

Do you think Hopper survived the explosion, or do you think he’s dead and should stay that way after his tearjerking sendoff? Share your reaction in the comments, and check out our reviews of every episode of Stranger Things Season 3 and the 10 best ’80s references from the first two seasons.

Stranger Things Season 3 Gallery





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We Played Half-Life: Alyx – Ask Us Your Burning Questions

This month’s IGN First for Half-Life: Alyx is officially in full swing, with brand new gameplay and some commentary on it from Valve! As part of our coverage, Ryan McCaffrey and I played through roughly the first four hours of Alyx, and now we want to know what you want to know. While we can’t…

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We Played Half-Life: Alyx – Ask Us Your Burning Questions

This month’s IGN First for Half-Life: Alyx is officially in full swing, with brand new gameplay and some commentary on it from Valve! As part of our coverage, Ryan McCaffrey and I played through roughly the first four hours of Alyx, and now we want to know what you want to know.

While we can’t reveal everything we saw just yet (and you can read Ryan’s full Half-Life: Alyx hands-on preview for his in-depth impressions), we want to open the floor to any burning questions you have about what it’s like to play Valve’s long-awaited return to the Half-Life universe.

Leave any questions you might have about our time playing Alyx in the comments below! We’ll grab a bunch and update this post with our answers next week.

Keep in mind, Valve has asked us not to share certain details about the story, some of the later mechanics we saw, and other spoilery things like that just yet. But maybe you’re curious about the movement, how its weapons feel, or what the pacing and atmosphere is like from within VR? We had a lot of fun playing Alyx, and we’re excited to tell you about it!

You can find all our Half-Life: Alyx IGN First coverage here, and be sure to keep an eye out all month long for even more exclusive reveals.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.

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IGN’s Staff Reviews the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie

Video game movies have often proven worthy of disdain in the past but the new hybrid CG-animated/live-action Sonic the Hedgehog is shaping up to be better liked than most, at least according to the IGN staff who have seen the movie.In addition to the official IGN review posted on Tuesday, below you’ll find reactions from…

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IGN’s Staff Reviews the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie
Video game movies have often proven worthy of disdain in the past but the new hybrid CG-animated/live-action Sonic the Hedgehog is shaping up to be better liked than most, at least according to the IGN staff who have seen the movie.In addition to the official IGN review posted on Tuesday, below you’ll find reactions from six staff members across all of our content-making departments — from editorial to social to video — all of which are kept as spoiler-free as possible.

In addition to the staff review roundups for tentpole entertainment properties such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Netflix’s The Witcher, we also had several members of our team chime in about what they thought about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

These roundup pieces are a bit of an experiment that we will continue tweaking and refining, so we’ll be taking all your feedback left in the comments as we produce more of these in the future.

IGN’s Review, by Akeem Lawanson, Host/Producer

From the official IGN Sonic the Hedgehog review: While this family-friendly action-comedy suffers from a simplistic story and leans too heavily on tired visual cliches, Sonic the Hedgehog is nevertheless boosted by solid performances from Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. Their ongoing cat-and-mouse game is entertaining, and passionate fans of the Sega franchise should appreciate all the nods to Sonic’s history.Make no mistake, this frantically-paced film is made first and foremost for Sonic fans. If you’ve been there for the little blue fella these past 29 years, from his humble beginnings on the Sega Genesis to his current iteration, then Sonic the Hedgehog is the love letter you’re probably looking for. If not… maybe save your gold rings.

Terri Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief, Entertainment

Sonic the Hedgehog is a sweet and simple adaptation of the beloved video game franchise of the same name. This is a movie aimed at kids that certainly is charming as an adult viewer — and pays loving homage to the Sonic video games — but also isn’t especially edgy or adult with its humor. Instead, this is a sweet story about friendship and family, with the strongest bond being between Ben Schwartz’s teenage Sonic and James Marsden’s Tom Wachowski, a cop who crosses paths with Sonic and needs to protect him from Jim Carrey’s villainous Dr. Ivo Robotnik.

Carrey channels his full The Mask energy for a pre-Eggman Robotnik, with all the mustache-twirling zeal you’d hope from him playing this character. As someone who didn’t grow up playing Sonic and who didn’t have a deep attachment to the character, I found his big-screen debut pleasant and inoffensive, but it’s not something I would rush to theaters to see again any time soon.

Sonic the Hedgehog: All the Easter Eggs and Hidden References From the Movie

Zach Ryan, Director of Social Content and Strategy

I didn’t expect much from the Sonic film. To be honest, I’ve never really been much of a Sonic fan, but from the moment we saw those first renders, I knew that this movie would certainly be… something. Fortunately, for all of us, Sonic the Hedgehog is surprisingly fun and full of heart. Yes, it’s chock full extremely online jokes and there are a couple of genuinely bizarre product placements, but that’s not enough to bring down the absolutely bonkers action sequences or distract from a genuinely charming performance from Ben Schwartz as Sonic.

My only real gripe with the film is Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. He’s got a very ‘90s era Jim Carrey vibe about him throughout the whole movie and his over-the-top “I’m better than you” schtick is more annoying than it is funny. It captures a Saturday morning cartoon feel in the same way the recent TMNT films did: absolutely crazy, occasionally cringy, and ultimately a good time.

Nick Limon, Video Producer

The Sonic movie is charming and perfect for kids, with little substance for the adults bringing them to the movie outside of the fantastic bar fight and, of course, Jim Carrey chewing up every scene he’s in.

But other than that, not much of the movie sticks with me outside of the glaring omission of City Escape. Like, why have Sonic travel to San Francisco and have him run away from something and NOT play City Escape? It’s probably in a previous draft of the movie that’s forever lost in time. Like tears in rain.

Brendan Graeber, Editor, Games

I went into the Sonic movie with pretty low expectations – I was a Nintendo kid that played a handful of Sonic games at my friend’s house growing up, so I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen. The movie relied heavily on making Sonic a believable character on screen, and to that end, the design of Sonic was exactly what it needed to be to carry the film (I honestly don’t think I could have stomached a movie’s worth of Sonic’s initial gremlin design). Ben Schwartz did an impeccable job voicing a version of Sonic I actually liked: wisecracking, but not too snarky. Schwartz also managed to make Sonic a goofy chatterbox that never crossed the line into becoming a true annoyance, which I consider a pretty impressive feat. There were a few fun nods to Sonic’s source material, and I’m glad the movie didn’t get lost in the weeds with pointless references or lore that wouldn’t make sense to the plot.

I also felt like Sonic the Hedgehog worked as well as it did thanks to the efforts of its small but talented main cast. Similar movies like Detective Pikachu lost me whenever the camera cut away to the bland human characters, but I felt James Marsden ended up having great chemistry trying to keep up with the hyperactive hedgehog, and Jim Carrey absolutely stole the show by channeling his ‘90s-era zaniness to make every scene he was a part of absolutely over-the-top. I did find the plot revolving around Sonic and Tom Wachowski’s quest to get to San Francisco a bit odd and ultimately underused. The pacing didn’t feel quite right at times with Sonic rushing along with secondary plots by getting mad at something that didn’t make sense, and certain scenes just ended up feeling trivial. That said, Sonic’s slow-motion action scenes were pretty enjoyable, and actually translated Sonic’s signature “spin dash” to look as cool in a movie as it does in a video game.

Francesca Rivera, Associate Producer

I never played the Sonic games growing up, so everything I learned about Sonic’s tragic life-on-the run was straight from this movie. That being said, I love James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz, and Ben Schwartz’s love of Sonic, and would’ve tried to watch this movie for them regardless. Sonic is the kind of self-aware kids’ movie that would entertain both the young children and the grown-ups who brought them alike.

Although it is a fun time for the kids, Sonic doesn’t really say anything about anything, especially for its human (and actual) lead, James Marsden’s Tom Wachowski. Marsden, by the way, carries the film expertly and is clearly having a lot of fun, especially against Jim Carrey’s Robotnik. The cat-and-mouse road trip that covers the second act really builds Tom and Sonic’s friendship and fulfills each character’s needs the way a neat movie should. There are also some truly creative “freeze time” sequences with songs that, indeed, slap.

It’s obvious that this film is the first of a franchise, setting up the Sonic/Dr. Robotnik rivalry over the course of what felt like one long first act. The way Tom’s story ends does leave a bad taste in my mouth and Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik, unfortunately, is a little too out-of-place against everyone else’s dialogue and performances. So while the larger lesson of maybe staying in your comfortable space instead of challenging yourself may be troubling to expose to children, it still is a sweet story of helping those in need.

Yusuf McCoy, Social Media Designer

With a commendable performance from Jim Carrey and the titular hero voiced by Ben Schwartz, this live-action adaptation brings the joy and excitement for fans and children alike. Though the film does an adequate job of introducing some lore to Sonic, it falls short in the final act. With some surprise appearances making their way into the film leaving room for possible sequels, this is a strong start to a possible film franchise.

Let us know your thoughts on Sonic the Hedgehog in the comments below! And for more on the movie, here’s our breakdown of the end credits scene and what it could mean for a sequel, all the video game Easter eggs we caught in the film, find out what the critics are saying about Sonic, and what Jim Carrey had to tell us about the evolution of Robotnik’s look.

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‘Keep Fighting’ For Persona 5 on Switch, Atlus Says

Persona 5 still hasn’t been announced for the Nintendo Switch, but publisher Atlus says it doesn’t want fans to give up hope just yet. Rumors have swirled around a potential Persona 5 Switch port for a long time, with a bogus Best Buy listing even popping up in 2019, but that momentum has slowed considerably.…

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‘Keep Fighting’ For Persona 5 on Switch, Atlus Says

Persona 5 still hasn’t been announced for the Nintendo Switch, but publisher Atlus says it doesn’t want fans to give up hope just yet.

Rumors have swirled around a potential Persona 5 Switch port for a long time, with a bogus Best Buy listing even popping up in 2019, but that momentum has slowed considerably. So IGN asked Atlus Communications Manager Ari Advincula if it was finally time for fans to give up on hope for a potential port during a Persona 5 Royal preview event earlier this month, to which she responded “I am a strong believer in ‘never ever give up on hope’.”

The fervor for a port was spurred on by protagonist Joker coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate early last year, but ended up being squelched somewhat when the teased P5S turned out to be Persona 5 Scramble, an entirely new game (and essentially a full-on sequel) coming to Switch. But Advincula says fans making their voices heard is the only way it’ll happen.

“You want what you want,” she explained, “and if you don’t let us know it we’re never going to be able to make it.” Advincula said Atlus is listening and does see the desire for Persona 5 on Switch, saying “it’s important to always voice your opinion.”

Advincula encouraged fans to “keep telling us what you want,” saying she was fighting for it internally as well. However, it’s important to point out that she also said she’s obviously “not the decision-maker” in a situation like this despite being an “internal champion” for it, so this shouldn’t be taken as an indication of what is happening or could happen down the line.

Still, Atlus has made it clear it is listening to the Persona community and taking feedback seriously, notably also revealing that it will change a handful of scenes in Persona 5 Royal fans previously condemned for being homophobic for its Western release on March 31.

Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.

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