Happy Valentine’s Day! In addition to the handcrafted card from your sweetheart you’re enjoying today, here’s a message from the Stranger Things crew, currently shooting the popular series’ fourth season. It serves as both an announcement that yes, everyone’s favorite nostalgia-fueled sci-fi show is coming back to Netflix and also an announcement that, yes, that one guy you never really believed was dead ISN’T ACTUALLY DEAD.
Stranger Things creators The Duffer Brothers only began filming the new season last month, so this is more a friendly check-in than a teaser, but one that confirms that everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Hopper, will be winging his way back to Hawkins, Indiana at some point or another. In this clip, however, the officer is currently waylaid in a Soviet labor camp after seemingly sacrificing himself to a big swirling portal at the end of last season.
Of course, no one really believed the show had killed off one of its most popular characters. What’s more, a post-credits sequence in the Season Three finale, roughly six minutes after Hopper’s implied death, reveals the Russians have a prisoner named “The American” somewhere in their vaults, making it all but official right then and there.
Ill-fated Hellboy reboot aside, David Harbour has been one of the main breakout stars of Stranger Things, so it’s not like they were going to sideline him headed into their endgame (The Duffers have said time and again that the fifth season may very well be its last), but the cheapness of Hopper’s sacrifice which has now been undercut—twice—after Season Three ended is an infuriatingly prevalent trick in genre TV. As beloved GQ alum Drew Magary put it so eloquently last year: “Motherfucker should have stayed dead.”
Stranger Things 4 is filming now, and will likely hit Netflix sometime this fall, with Hopper fully intact.