Warning: Major Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 lie ahead.
The dust has settled. The Gate to the Upside Down has been closed (yet again). The infamous Dungeons & Dragons Satanic Panic of the 1980s has begun. And, more importantly, the quiet suburban town of Hawkins, Indiana and its denizens are once again safe from the terrors that lurk from the world beyond.
However, the end of Season 3 of Stranger Things also saw the presumed end of fan favourite Jim Hopper, who had to remain in the Upside Down, was caught in a blast while a tearful Joyce Byers had to close the Gate during the Battle of Starcourt. His voiceover at the final few scenes of the last episode certainly gave us the feels, but then the unexpected post-credit scene happened, leaving us scratching our heads as to his final fate.
For those of you who somehow missed the post-credit scene (still, go watch it anyway, it’s super cool), here’s a brief lowdown of it.
The scene opens in a Soviet military facility in Kamchatka, Russia. Several Russian soldiers appear to be setting up an execution of sorts for their prisoners. Amid picking prisoners to be given the axe, one soldier could be heard saying “Not the American,” and instead going for a compatriot to be killed off.
The Russian prisoner was then led into a pit deep in the bowels of the facility, where a ravenous Demogorgon (yup, the very same one we’d come to know and love back in Seasons 1 and 2) lay waiting to rip his flesh apart, as a gruesome end to the season.
Could this “American” held in Russian captivity possibly be Jim Hopper? Possibly. However, one would have to wonder: how the hell could he have possibly survived that big blast and the Upside Down, presuming this all took place months after the events of Season 3?
It could be due to the possibility that the Russians were somehow using the Upside Down as a means of transporting their forces to possibly invade enemy states, such as the US. After all, the events of Stranger Things occur during the Cold War, so naturally the USSR would be finding ways in which to one-up their United States counterparts.
Their discovery of the portals in their nation and in Hawkins certainly allowed them to develop the technology that would enable them to traverse to and fro via the Upside Down, so this could be a possibility in Season 4.
Even if Hopper was alive in Season 4, how would he return to his friends in Hawkins? Eleven had lost her psychic powers by the end of this season, meaning that they’d have to find other means of doing so — perhaps through finding others like El (though that may be highly improbable given Eight was the only other known test subject from Hawkins Lab), or by El regaining her powers (which makes more sense, and would allow her to reestablish her telepathic connection with Hopper, allowing her to then pinpoint his location).
Another potential “American” could be Martin Brenner, former head scientist at Hawkins Lab and former antagonist in Season 1. We last saw him physically in Season 1, where he was attacked by the Demogorgon. He could’ve survived those events and have been captured by the Russians, which would make him a noteworthy prisoner among their ranks.
Perhaps what is most chilling about this post-credit scene is the fact that the Russians have the Demogorgon in captivity. This speaks volumes of their capability to unleash some serious terrors upon whoever crosses them, most of all the entire United States, given their dour relationship in the Cold War.
The Mind Flayer could most possibly be a superweapon they had intended to use to gain the upper hand, had it not been for Eleven and company. Who knows what other dastardly tricks they have up their sleeves moving forward. From the looks of it, we certainly haven’t seen the last of these guys.
What a season it has been for Stranger Things. The post-credit scene is a first for the acclaimed Netflix Original series, but certainly sparked a lot of buzz among fans who finished binging it. We’re certainly ready for the next season or two.
Over to you, Duffer Brothers.
Marion has a serious RPG addiction. Sometimes it bleeds into real life; he forgets to sleep because he thinks he has a Witcher’s body clock. Forgive him in advance if he suddenly blurts out terms such as “Mind Flayer” and “Magic Missile”, because never once does he stop thinking about his next Dungeons & Dragons game.