David Harbour and Winona Ryder improvised Hopper and Joyce’s kiss in Stranger Things 4

4 July 2022, 20:35

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Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

"This kiss wasn’t scripted, Winona and David added it on the day of filming."

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Don't know who needs to hear this but: JOPPER IS CANON. After an emotional reunion in Volume 1, Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 finally delivered on giving us the Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers kiss we've all been waiting for – and then some.

After six long years of will-they-won't-they antics, fans were blessed with a smörgåsbord of Jopper moments in the final two episodes. But if it wasn't for David Harbour and Winona Ryder, that stunningly beautiful second kiss would never have happened.

Following the release of Volume 2, the Stranger Things writers Twitter account shared a few unscripted moments that made it into the finale episode. One was from Joseph Quinn, who improvised Eddie's devastating final words ("I love you, man") to Dustin. The second was Caleb McLaughlin's heart-wrenching cry for help to his sister Erica as Max lay dying in his arms.

And the third was the second kiss between Hopper and Joyce, which wasn't in the script. David and Winona actually added that themselves on the day of filming.

READ MORE: Stranger Things season 5: Release date, spoilers, cast, news and trailers

Stranger Things 4: Hopper and Joyce's second kiss was improvised
Stranger Things 4: Hopper and Joyce's second kiss was improvised. Picture: Matt Winkelmeyer/FilmMagic, Netflix

In episode 9, the Jopper shippers get everything they’ve been hoping for since season 1. After making it back to Yuri's warehouse post-reunion, Hopper and Joyce find themselves alone in the church.

They change out of their clothes in separate corners, stealing quick glances at each other before Joyce goes to check on Hopper. After discussing their planned date at Enzo's, and flirting back and forth over dreams of breadsticks, lasagna, wine and dessert, they finally kiss. And if that phone hadn't interrupted... Well? They would have [REDACTED].

Here’s a picture of that scene, because I said so and because I want to look at it again.

Stranger Things 4: Hopper and Joyce kiss for the first time
Stranger Things 4: Hopper and Joyce kiss for the first time. Picture: Netflix

Anyway, after all of that, the group break back into the prison to destroy the Demogorgon once and for all, and Hopper lays out the plan with Joyce and Murray.

Hop and Joyce share a moment in front of the monitors, as Joyce gets devastating flashbacks of Bob Newby being killed by a demodog right in front of her. (She has seen this film before, and she didn't like the ending...)

Sensing her apprehension, Hopper reassures her that this time will be different. He cradles her face in his hand as the two share another, much more tender kiss on the lips before he leaves to bait the demodog.

That kiss, however, was not scripted. That kiss was added on the day of shooting by David Harbour and Winona Ryder themselves – and it was everything.

Elaborating a little further, Matt and Ross Duffer revealed on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that the second kiss was "an idea that they had on the spot."

With the reveal that that second kiss was not scripted, it seems like Hopper was meant to just leave the room without kissing Joyce goodbye before heading off to face possible death – again.

But like, of course he would kiss her goodbye. Of course he would. And for them to share such a soft kiss at that specific moment? It was 100% the right call from the actors, and a perfect one at that.

Now everyone say, “Thank you David Harbour and Winona Ryder!!!”

Read more about Stranger Things 5 here:

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