Stranger Things franchise is getting spin-off prequel novel about Jim Hopper

mobile game. Or they might try one of the prequel novels published by Del Rey Books that delves into the pasts of some of the peripheral characters.

, published earlier this month, tells the story of Eleven’s mother Terry Ives and how she got involved with MKUltra. A second prequel novel, , will arrive June 4 and focus on police Chief Jim Hopper’s early years in New York City as a homicide detective.

And yes, both are considered “canon,” for fans who are purists.

(Minor spoilers for the first two seasons below.)

Yes, that second title is a Bruce Springsteen reference. We know Hopper, played by David Harbour in the series, is a fan of Jim Croce—who could forget his “Dad dancing” to “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” in season 2?—so why not The Boss, too? We’ve seen hints of Hopper’s tragic past in the show’s first two seasons: namely, the death of his young daughter by an unspecified illness and how the grief destroyed his marriage. His wife moved away, remarried, and had a new baby while Hopper stayed in Hawkins wallowing in depression with his memories. Naturally, he bonded with Eleven, and at the end of season 2, he had successfully adopted her.

The second novel will be set in 1977, six years before the demogorgon first terrorized Hawkins. Details are scarce, but Netflix tweeted that Eleven’s many unanswered questions prompt the sheriff to confront past secrets. It sounds like Hawkins wasn’t the first time Hopper encountered strange phenomena. The novel’s author, Adam Christoper, called the novel a “dream project” on his blog, adding, “I’m a huge fan of the show, and [Hopper] is my favorite character. Digging into his past in NYC was a real blast, and I hope readers have as much fun reading about his bizarre 1977 adventure as I did writing it.”

As for the forthcoming season 3, a teaser on New Year’s Eve showed viewers Dick Clark’s broadcast of 1985, meaning the season’s events will likely take place around the same time period. But it probably won’t be around the New Year, since the official tagline is “one summer can change everything”—and that probably doesn’t refer to the arrival of the Starcourt Megamall in Hawkins.

Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette is a senior reporter at Ars Technica with a particular focus on where science meets culture, covering everything from physics and related interdisciplinary topics to her favorite films and TV series. Jennifer lives in Los Angeles.

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