Though David Harbour is grateful to have played the role of a lifetime with Netflix’s Stranger Things, he is ready to move on from the Upside Down, saying “it’s definitely time” for the series to end.
In an interview with Discussing Film, Harbour said he thought he’d never want to stop playing Hawkins Police Department Chief Jim Hopper when the show first started, but now he’s come to terms with the series winding down after its fifth season.
“What’s funny is when I started the show, I never ever wanted it to end,” Harbour said. “That’s why I love the show. I think it’s a great show, even if I wasn’t in it. Now we’re almost nine years from filming the first season, and I think it is time for it to end. But it is, of course, very bittersweet.”
He continued by saying it was time for everyone involved with the show to move on. “You know, there’s a sadness there,” he added. “But also, we’ve all grown up. It is time for us to leave that nest and try other things and different projects. And to let the Duffer Brothers try different things as well. I mean, those guys are so talented. I want to see what they come up with next. So it is bittersweet, but it’s definitely time.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Harbour talked about feeling “exhausted already” from splitting time between the Season 5 production of Stranger Things and the upcoming Marvel villain team-up movie Thunderbolts, the latter of which is set for release in theaters on July 26th, 2024.
“It’s nothing like I’ve ever done before. You know, Stranger Things had to go,” he said. “We have to get going because the kids are growing up, we got to shoot this thing! Then Thunderbolts came around, and I was terrified. I was like, ‘Oh god, if these things don’t work out, and I can’t do one?'”
He added that producers on both projects have gone to “great lengths to make it work,” but he’ll have to be “running back and forth between sets in Atlanta” all summer. “I’m doing two amazing projects,” he said. “So I’m fine with being exhausted.”
Stranger Things Season 5 doesn’t have a release date yet, but its creators the Duffer Brothers already have a full slate of upcoming projects with their production company Upside Down Pictures. Among their plans are a Stranger Things stage play and a loosely-connected spinoff, a previously-announced series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub‘s 1984 novel The Talisman, and a live-action Death Note.
As for Harbour, he’s found a new calling as an anti-hero Santa Claus in Violent Night, which has an upcoming sequel in the works. He’s also been cast as a retired race car driver in an upcoming film based on the video game Gran Turismo.
Besides having the show’s best villain yet, Stranger Things Season 4 fueled a major resurgence for both Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Metallica’s “Master of the Puppets.” It also made a rising star out of actor Joe Quinn thanks to his breakout character Eddie Munson.