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Oh. There's a new Stranger Things theory that proves the big finale death was a fake-out.

This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season three, so head on back to the Upside Down until you’ve finished the new season, then come on back for the theories.  

At this point in time, pretty much every person with access to a Netflix account is enveloped in an emotionally destructive relationship with the new season of Stranger Things

Fans waited two years for the third installment of the hit Netflix series that takes us within the goings-on of the small American town of Hawkins in the year of 1984. A small town that has the bad luck to be placed next to top-secret government experiments where terrifying supernatural forces can be unleashed via portals to the alternate reality known as the Upside Down.

Although there was a lot to love about season three, including the introduction of new fan-favourite Robin (Maya Hawke) and the ongoing and pure friendship between Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve (Joe Keery) the final episode left any viewer in possession of a heart in a river of tears.

Watch Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery tell Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik all the gruesome details about season three. 

In the final episode, entitled The Battle of Starcourt, the gruff but endlessly loyal and loving Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) sacrificed himself in order to destroy the Mind Flayer, effectively being electrocuted and dying while trapped in the gate machine room beneath the mall.

But here’s the thing. I, along with a legion of other Stranger Things fans, are not at all convinced that Hopper is actually dead and we’ve got some convincing evidence to back up our case.

First of all, when I interviewed Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery, who plays Billy Hargrove, before season three premiered, he kept mentioning Billy’s climactic scene in the context of being the show’s big season three death. There was no mention or hint of him sharing the death limelight with another character.

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Then there’s the idea that we never actually see Hopper’s body.

Yes, that could be because it was destroyed and disintegrated to the point where it was no longer visible to the naked human eye (sob) or it could be that Stranger Things adheres to the “no body= no death” school of cinematic storytelling. As they did in previous seasons with Eleven (not dead) and then with Bob Newby (really, really dead).

Adding further fuel to the Hopper-is-not-dead-fire is the fact that Reddit users, the spotters of every plot hole, claim that Hopper is missing from the spot in which he was standing when the camera cuts back to the machine right after Joyce (Winona Ryder) turns the key and “kills” him.

The most convincing amount of evidence that Hopper is alive, however, can be found in the post-credits scene in episode eight.

This scene takes place in a Russian prison where two soldiers are walking slowly down a line of cell doors looking for a certain prisoner. They then come to a stop at one cell door until one soldier says “no, not the American,” and then gestures for them to move on and select another prisoner to be locked in with a Demogorgon.

The popular theory is that the “American” is Hopper, and that he was transported there instead of being killed.

It all makes total sense.

Fans should also take heart that there will be more seasons of Stranger Things in our futures, clearing the way for Hopper to make a triumphant return.

“The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth,” Stranger Things Executive Producer Shawn Levy told Entertainment Weekly.

In the meantime, if you have a longing to remind yourself that our beloved David Harbour is still very much alive, his new Netflix mockumentary, Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein, is premiering July 16.

Seasons one to three of Stranger Things are available to watch now on Netflix. 

For more stories like this, you can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.  You can also visit our newsletter page and sign up to “TV and Movies”  for a backstage pass to the best movies, TV shows and celebrity interviews (see one of her newsletters here). 

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