“I feel like a horse getting ready and the gates are about to open, there’s all of this drive and all this passion to do it,” Harbour, 48, told The Hollywood Reporter in a Thursday, November 9, interview. “We have a while to shoot and to edit but we’re going to work as hard and as fast as we possibly can to get it to people because I know they love the show as much as we do and I can’t wait for them to see what’s up next, it’s really exciting stuff. The scripts are great.”
Harbour, who has portrayed Chief Hopper in the Netflix series since it premiered in 2016, noted that the SAG-AFTRA strike — which came to an end earlier this week after nearly four months on the picket lines — has been “really tough” on him.
“I think that there’s a piece of me psychically that processes the world through my work, through acting; I love it so much and I haven’t been able to do it and it’s been driving me a little bit nuts,” he said.
While Stranger Things season 5, which will be the show’s final season, was gearing up to begin filming in May, production was put on hold as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA went on strike against the major studios in pursuit of better contracts. The WGA’s reached a new deal in September, while SAG-AFTRA ended their strike on Thursday.
Harbour, for his part, is more than ready to get back to Georgia (where Stranger Things mostly shoots) to give both his character and the fans the proper ending they deserve.
“I just love that show and I love that [Jim Hopper] character so much,” he told THR. “It’s the last season and I’m looking forward to just diving in with my whole heart into this guy that, certainly career-wise, has made a huge difference in my life but personally, has been the character in film and TV who I’ve loved the most, that I’ve fallen in love with.”
He added, “I’m excited to give him the finale that I’ve wanted for him since we started. I just love it so much, I can’t wait to pour my heart into it.”
In August, Harbour teased that he knows what the end of the series will bring, hinting on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast that it will be a very “moving” goodbye for the monster-fighting crew.
He also suggested that season 5 won’t pick up directly after the fallout of season 4, which saw Max (Sadie Sink) in a coma and the rest of the gang reeling as the Upside Down began to take over the town of Hawkins, Indiana.
“After where season 4 ended — when you watch us on that hill looking at the ash and the smoke fires — we’re going to start somewhere after that,” he explained. “So you’ve gotta imagine the world is a different place.”
While he warned that the final season will take “a while to shoot,” he promised that the Duffer brothers will deliver a payoff for all their characters, especially those that have been part of the adventure from the very beginning like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Hopper, Joyce (Winona Ryder), Will (Noah Schnapp) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard).
“They’re going to pay them off in big ways because they’ve lived with you for the past eight years,” he said.