The Radio Times logo

Stranger Things bosses originally wanted Ewan McGregor for Hopper

The Duffer brothers first imagined the Star Wars actor as the Hawkins chief of police, a role eventually portrayed by David Harbour

Jim Hopper stranger things headshots
Published: Wednesday, 28th August 2019 at 4:28 pm

Here’s news that’ll turn your idea of Stranger Things upside down: showrunners the Duffer brothers have revealed they originally wanted Ewan McGregor to play Jim Hopper.


Although it’s now hard to imagine anyone but David Harbour playing the moody Hawkins police chief, the brothers’ original overview of the series (initially titled Montauk) names the Star Wars actor as one of two names they favoured for the part. The other? Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri star Sam Rockwell.

That’s not all. The outline also suggests Naomi Watts or The Wrestler's Marisa Tomei could have played Joyce Byers, a role that went to Winona Ryder. The character is also described as entering a relationship with Hopper, albeit a "rocky" one.

The overview also drops some interesting notes about the Hawkins kids, in particular with Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) described as a “sensitive kid with sexual identity issues,” a detail which has previously been a topic of speculation for fans.

And it looks like Dustin, the boy played by Gaten Matarazzo, was originally imagined as “overweight and wearing glasses” and was bullied for his looks. Of course, in the actual show the character is picked on for his cleidocranial dysplasia – a defect that leaves Dustin without teeth, just like Matarazzo.

Although not officially greenlit, most are expecting Stranger Things to return for a fourth season, with the Duffer brothers previously saying they have plans for another run of the monster hit.


Based on the pattern of previous seasons, we might expect a fourth run to drop in late 2020, or early 2021.


Sponsored content