“The Duffers [brothers Matt and Ross who created Stranger Things] and I have talked about the entire five season arc of the show and the arc of Hopper, where he ends up. And we always planned this almost Gandalf resurrection. Hopper the Grey who descends into a pit and fights his demons. Re-emerging as a different warrior and can take on the evil of the Upside Down in a fresh way.
“One of the big models for him is Harrison Ford performances,” Harbour added. “When Han Solo gets trapped in carbonite at the end of Empire Strikes Back, your heart sinks. Then they break him out in a very dramatic fashion.
“The idea of resurrection with Hopper… his flaws, who he needs to be as opposed to who he is, was always something we wanted to explore.”
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Exactly how Hopper survived is yet to be discovered. But Harbour promises all will be revealed.
“We always knew how he didn’t die, which we will tell you in this series. We’ll show you how he survived.
“The idea of him being in Siberia was always part of the discussion. How long he was going to be in Kamchatka and what that ordeal was going to be was always in flux.
“He’s there for longer than one episode – spoiler alert – but it sort of became a season of Hopper getting to the base of his trauma, his guilt, his shame.
“I started getting the scripts and realising that a big bulk of his season is going to be confronting not being a cop anymore, but a prisoner, and a prisoner in this isolated wasteland.
“He’s really grappling with this very isolated, dark experience.”
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The new series of Stranger Things is released on Netflix on 27 May. Before then, you can read in full The Big Issue’s exclusive interview with David Harbour. He talks about fame, mental health and the challenges he’s had to overcome in his own life.
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Our special Stranger Things edition will be on sale from Monday 23 May.