‘Stranger Things 2’ Refresher: Here’s What Happened to Chief Hopper’s Daughter, Sara

The fate of Chief Jim Hopper’s daughter was covered in Season 1, and it’s an important part of his character in “Stranger Things 2”

Stranger Things Hopper Season 2 fan theory

“Stranger Things 2” catches up with the characters of Netflix’s hit horror series a year after the events of the first season. It’s also been a year between seasons for viewers — and remembering all the ins and outs of “Stranger Things” Season 1 can be tough, since so much time has passed.

A lot of the details in Season 1 are directly relevant to “Stranger Things 2,” though. When it comes to Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), the show expects you to remember the tragic backstory relating to his family — specifically his daughter. But with a year between seasons, we’ll help you recall Sara Hopper, and what happened to her.

Sara Hopper was Jim’s young daughter, who appeared in flashbacks during Season 1. She suffered from cancer, and the disease killed her at some point before the show started. In Season 1, Jim’s drive to find Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is largely informed by this pain in his past.

For Jim, the loss of Sara was a devastating blow. Her death changed him fundamentally, making him a lot harder, and causing Jim and his wife, Diane, to drift apart and eventually divorce. Hopper’s gruff, somewhat unfriendly police chief personality is due, in part, to the loss he’s suffered. He spent a chunk of Season 1 drinking and remembering what happened to Sara, and the pain of that loss has obviously made him somewhat self-destructive.

Remembering Sara also helped push him to track down Terry Ives (Aimee Mullins), Eleven’s mother, and find out what happened to the pair. Hopper understands the pain of a parent losing a child, and that’s part of what makes him so driven to find Will and save his mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder) from suffering the same pain.

Sara’s death and the pain suffered from it is still a big part of Hopper’s life in “Stranger Things 2.” He’s not over that wound, even though the events of the first season of the show have helped. At the start of “Strange Things 2,” Hopper seems to have healed some, but he’s still got a long way to go.