Stranger Things fans have David Harbour and Winona Ryder to thank for Hopper and Joyce’s slow-burning romance, because it was the actors’ idea.
David Harbour says that Hopper and Joyce’s romance in Stranger Things was his and Winona Ryder’s idea. Stranger Things debuted on Netflix in July 2016, and has released four seasons so far. Volume 1 of season 4 premiered on the streaming platform in May of this year, with volume 2 following it in July. Stranger Things is slated to run for 5 seasons, with the final season expected sometime in the summer of 2024.
Harbour’s Jim Hopper and Ryder’s Joyce Byers were some of the first characters viewers were introduced to in Stranger Things, and both became immediate favorites. Both single parents, Hopper and Joyce had chemistry from the start in season 1, but the relationship was often set aside as the characters dealt with more pressing matters – namely, monsters from other dimensions invading their town. The two grew closer throughout Stranger Things‘ run, with Hopper outright expressing a romantic interest in Joyce during season 3. It wasn’t until Stranger Things season 4, however, that Hopper and Joyce would finally share a kiss, marking the official start of their romance.
In an interview with GQ, Harbour reveals that the idea of having Hopper and Joyce get together didn’t come from the creators of the series: It was Harbour and Ryder’s idea. Harbour says that he and Ryder often talked about the relationship between their characters, leading to a bit of a built-in backstory for the two actors. Read Harbour’s full comment below:
“It’s always something that Winona and I have talked about — on set riffing about what their relationship was in high school, and y’know, who they are to each other. There was always a tension between should this be consummated, or should they just be friends? And I do think it’s a bit of fan service. I think there was a real appetite for mommy and daddy to get back together again. And then once we were on that train, it seemed like an inevitability.”
Stranger Things season 4 was everything fans were expecting it to be and more, featuring heartbreaking deaths, epic battle scenes, and an unforgettable soundtrack. What many longtime fans of Stranger Things were most excited about, however, was seeing Hopper and Joyce finally end up together after four seasons-worth of tension between them. While there has been talk of Hopper and Joyce’s relationship perhaps not being as wonderful as Stranger Things wants to make it seem, there is no denying that season 4 only added positive moments to their shared history.
With so much history and chemistry between Hopper and Joyce, Harbour and Ryder seem to have been gearing up towards a romantic relationship since Stranger Things‘ very first season. As Harbour says in his interview, it seems as though the relationship was inevitable in the end, even if it took many episodes and obstacles to get there. However, with one last season of Stranger Things still to come, it remains to be seen whether Hopper and Joyce’s romance will flourish, or take a less optimistic turn.
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