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|“||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|
|“||Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.||„|
|~ Jim Hopper.|
James "Jim" Hopper is the overall deuteragonist of the Netflix series Stranger Things.
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 the young son of an old friend disappeared mysteriously, Hopper's life became infinitely more complicated. As many events unfolded, he came to know about Eleven, a young girl who was experimented upon by Hawkins Lab for her inherited abilities. However, to save Will, he had to give up her location, a decision he would regret.
Later Hopper found Eleven and unbeknownst to everyone, took her to his cabin for her safety. 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 Shadow Monster's Gate together. Eventually, he adopted Eleven as his daughter and took her to the Snow Ball.
James "Jim" Hopper was born in 1942 in Hawkins, Indiana to unnamed parents, and later attended Hawkins High School in 1957 with Joyce Byers and Bob Newby. Hopper hints that he wasn't exactly the model student, and once lied to his mother about his whereabouts so he could secretly hook up with girls, such as Chrissy Carpenter. Hopper also mentioned that he smoked with Joyce during sixth and seventh period, but sometimes got caught by the teachers. After graduating in 1960, Jim joined the United States military and served in the Vietnam War.
After his service, Hopper met and fell in love with a woman named Diane, and the two married in 1972. The couple moved to New York and had a daughter named Sara, but she was later diagnosed with cancer. Despite receiving chemotherapy treatment, Sara was unable to recover, and passed away. After Sara's passing, Jim and Diane divorced, and he moved back to Hawkins in 1979. Hopper became the Police Chief at the Hawkins Police Department, and started to rely on alcohol, prescription medication, and sleeping with women to get through his grief.
In November, Joyce's son, Will Byers disappeared, and Hopper and the police were sent to investigate. Initially, Hopper didn't take the case seriously, suggesting to Joyce that Will was probably playing hookie. However, Jim soon realized the situation was more complicated, and would require an in depth investigation. Hopper went to Hawkins Middle School to talk to Will's friends, Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair and Dustin Henderson. The boys informed him that Will had taken the road where Cornwallis and Kerley meet on his way home the night he went missing, and Hopper requested that the boys return back after school, and not got searching for Will.
Hopper looked along the road with officers Powell and Callahan hoping to find evidence, and found Will's bicycle on the side of the road. Jim theorized that Will returned home, and decided to investigate the house, where he found little evidence to support his theory. Hopper investigated further, and went into garden shed after hearing strange noises. He decided to organize a search party, and the party walked all the way to Cartersville and back that night, and found nothing, and eventually called off the party due to a storm coming in.
The next day, Hopper went to the Byers house to check upon Joyce, informing her of their search and taking a look at her "barbequed" phone. Later on, Hopper was summoned to Benny's Burgers after Benny was found dead inside, having appeared to committing suicide. Hopper talked to Earl, who told him about an incident involving a kid with a shaved head, who entered Benny's Burgers and stole food from the kitchen. Hopper asked Earl if the child could've been Will but with a buzzcut, Earl agreed that it could have been. That night, Hopper and his co-workers found a torn pierce of clothing at the end of a drainpipe near the diner, which led to the Hawkins National Laboratory.
On November 9, Hopper went to the laboratory with Powell and Callahan to investigate, and he was allowed to see the security tapes from the night of Will's disappearance. However, he noticed there was storm on the tapes as there had been that night, and went to the public library with Powell to search newspapers. Jim learned that the laboratory and Dr. Brenner had been involved with Project MKUltra experiments, and Hopper started to believe that the lab was responsible for Will's disappearance.
Powell thought it was too big of reach, and then they were notified by Callahan to head over to the quarry. Will's body was discovered in the quarry by David O'Bannon, but Joyce insisted that the body wasn't her son's and claimed that he was being hunted by a man with no face. Hopper dismissed her worries as grief-induced delusions, something which he suffered after he lost his daughter. Despite his dismission, Hopper became suspicious after talking to the local morgue's coroner, who informed him that the state coroners had replaced him when examining the body. Hopper found O'Bannon in a bar and discovered he was lying, and beat him to get more information about who told him to lie. Jim broke into the morgue, cutting open Will's body, and discovered the body was stuffed with cotton.
Seeing his suspicions confirmed, Hopper decided to break into the Hawkins lab compound, breaking into a high security area after confiscating a pass from one of the guards. Jim found a solitary confinement room, containing a child-sized bed and a drawing on the wall. Going deeper into the lab, he found a room overgrown with strange matter, but was knocked out by agents in hazmat suits before he could further investigate. Hopper awoke the next morning in his own house, and discovered a hidden microphone in one of his lights. Jim went to Joyce to explain all he knew and to apologize for not believing her, and also revealed his theory that he may been tracking down the daughter of Terry Ives.
Hopper and Joyce went to the Ives' home, and Becky Ives informed them her Terry's involvement with MKUltra. Afterward, Hopper was notified by Powell that Will's brother, Jonathan Byers, had been arrested for assaulting an officer. At the station, Hopper demanded that Jonathan be released, but later learned that he and Nancy had accumulated a box full of weapons in the trunk of his car. He learned that Jonathan and Nancy were planning to fight a monster, and Jim decided to get in contact with Will's friends. Jonathan suggested using Will's radio, and Hopper found the boys with Eleven in an abandoned bus in a desert junkyard. The group encountered several agents, and managed to escape and got the Byers' house.
When Eleven attempted to contact Will and Barbara using her psychic abilities, Dustin came up with the idea to create a makeshift sensory deprivation tank in so she amplify her powers. Hopper and Jonathan broke into Hawkins Middle School, fetching bags of de-icing salt as Dustin and Lucas set up a kiddie pool. Eleven entered the pool, and discovered that Barbara had been killed, but she found Will. In a desperate attempt to save Will, Hopper and Joyce traveled to the laboratory in hopes to enter the Upside Down, but they were apprehended. The two were separated and interrogated by Brenner, Agent Frazier, and another agent, and Hopper informed them they he was aware of their experiments. The agents threatened to kill Hopper and stage an overdose if he did not cooperate, but realized they needed him to locate Eleven.
Jim came to an "agreement" with the agents, and they gave him and Joyce access to the Gate, and promised the safety of Mike, Lucas and Dustin as he would tell them Eleven's location. Hopper and Joyce followed a trail of monster blood, and found Will strung up in webs of strange biologic matter. Hopper pulled out the tendril from Will's mouth, and managed to revive Will with CPR. The group returned to their dimension, and took Will to the hospital immediately. Hopper left through the back door of the hospital, and Jim had to enter a vehicle that had agents in it, and they took him to an unknown location
In December, Hopper left a Christmas party at the police station, and took some leftovers with him to give to Eleven. Driving out to Mirkwood on a snowy night, Jim placed the food and some Eggo waffles in a concealed box, before returning to his car.
Living with Eleven
In that same month, Jim was reunited with Eleven, who had escaped from the Upside Down and found his box of food. He took her to a cabin in the woods that became their new home, and rigged the outside for traps to alert them of intruders. In order for them to communicate safely, Hopper taught Eleven how to read and signal Morse Code, and also created a set of rules for Eleven's safety.
|“||Bike like this is like a Cadillac to these kids.||„|
|~ Jim 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.||„|
|~ Hopper to the agents and Brenner.|
|“||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.||„|
|~ Hopper to Joyce.|
- The name Jim Hopper could a reference to the 1987 film Predator, as the first person killed by the Predator was a man named Jim Hopper.
- His character and appearance was inspired by Han Solo and Indiana Jones.
- David Harbour, the actor of Jim Hopper, also is going to portray Red Guardian in the 2020 Marvel film Black Widow.