Warning: the following article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 4.
Stranger Things fans aren’t the only ones who ship characters on the show, as David Harbour reveals he’s had conversations with Winona Ryder about Hopper and Joyce’s romantic history. Their relationship started as a background, slow-burning flicker that has erupted into a powerful flame by the time season four rolled around, and it became a huge part of the series.
In an interview with GQ, Harbour shared what those conversations were like with his co-star, and the choices they planned to make regarding their character’s past relationship.
“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.”
Things weren’t so easy for Jopper once they were finally reunited, though. They still had to fight monsters from the Upside Down and escape the Russian prison, but once things settled down, the two got to catch up. Hopper felt guilty for having sent the letter and putting Joyce in danger, but Joyce wasn’t regretful about the decision at all. In volume two, they shared a passionate kiss after their long journeys, and apparently that was something the actors chose to do.
Harbour has previously said that he believes Hopper and Joyce have dated in the school, but it didn’t necessarily go anywhere. It was more like one of those undefined relationships that was never fully explored, but now in their adulthood and with all their life experience, they have that option.
Season four, volume two just premiered and fans are already hungry for more. Thankfully, the Duffer brothers revealed they’ll start writing in August, and hopefully the wait won’t be as long as it was between seasons three and four.
Stranger Things is available to stream on Netflix.