[Warning: minor spoilers for Stranger Things 3...but not really. In fact, this is probably helpful to read BEFORE watching.]
Don’t judge me. It’s been about two years since the last season of Stranger Things-season 3 hit Netflix on July 4-and much longer since season 1. So while binging all eight new episodes at once, I was frustrated that I could not remember what happened to Chief Hopper’s daughter. Not even if you paid me...and it actually mattered.
In season 3, Jim Hopper’s daughter (not Eleven) comes up a few times. First, when Joyce (Winona Ryder) is trying to encourage open communication between Hopper (David Harbour) and El (Millie Bobby Brown). You know: cause she and her boyfriend Mike (Finn Wolfhard) are acting all gross and teenager-y. Then she comes up again later in the season when the dude from The Princess Bride is giving Hopper a hard time. (See, I promised you this post wasn’t going to be big on the spoilers.)
Well, it turns out the death of Sara Hopper is still a bit of a mystery. Here’s what you need to know:
Sara died when she was 7 years old.
In season 1, it’s revealed that Hopper used to be married to a woman named Diane, and they had a daughter together. When Sara was 3, she began hyperventilating in a park. She was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemo but passed away when she was 7. While she was in the hospital, Hopper stayed by her side and would read to her, including the book Anne of Green Gables. *SOBS*
Jim and Diane were both there when she died. They divorced soon after, and Diane remarried and had another kid. Years later, in season 1, Jim called her to say he didn’t regret any of their time together despite what happened. *More sobs*
There may be more to the story than cancer.
Although Sara was treated for cancer, there may be a more Upside Downy cause of death. During a Reddit AMA with Harbour, a fan asked, “Do you know what specifically Jim’s daughter died of in the show?”
His answer: “Yes, but it’s a secret we may explore in season 2, so don’t wanna say right now.” They didn’t go there in season 2 or 3, but there’s always hope for Stranger Things 4. We know Eleven’s “Poppa” experimented on other children. Is it possible Sara was one of them?
Here’s something to make you cry...
During the scene at the park, Sara is wearing a blue hair elastic. Later, Hopper is shown wearing it as a bracelet.
As if that isn’t heart-wrenching enough, Eleven wears that same blue band to the school dance in season 2.
MY WHOLE HEART.
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