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1 October 2019, 15:05 | Updated: 1 October 2019, 15:17
Fans are speculating as to whether or not the American prisoner referenced in the final episode of Stranger Things 3 could be Barb Holland.
During the final episode of the Netflix Original Series, titled Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt, a post-credits scene shows a Russian prison, where a guard goes to collet an inmate, only for another guard to say "No. Not the American," before their identity can be revealed.
After Hopper was seemingly disintegrated in the gate room, after the machine opening the gate exploded, many believed David Harbour's character was actually alive, and that he was the American prisoner.
However, another theory claims Barbara 'Barb' Holland – played by Shannon Purser – is actually the inmate.
And after the official trailer for Stranger Things 4 dropped on Monday 30 September, some fans predicted we'll see Barb again in the next season as the teaser confirmed "We're not in Hawkins anymore" in the eery short clip.
One person tweeted in response to the sneak-peek: "This is where they find barb and she becomes the savior of hawkins. just watch. barb was not forgotten about." As another said: "If we're not in Hawkins then I hope we have a refreshed cast. It would certainly make my theory that 'The American' is Barb and Hop is dead a lot easier to implement and could also tie in the old gang if Barb somehow ends up back home! I CANNOT WAIT! Now just tell us WHEN! [sic]"
are we gonna see barb down there or ??— bex (@treacherouscal) September 30, 2019
Barb finally coming back— J. Co (@JErkROME) September 30, 2019
Barb was Nancy Wheeler's best friend in the first season of Stranger Things, until she was taken to the Upside Down during Steve's house party. Eleven later announced that Barb had died in the Upside Down.
The aforementioned theory claims, however, that the American prisoner could be Barb, and that Brenner (from the first season) created a fake body of Barb, much like how he did for Will. This theory also suggests that Hopper is alive, and that he jumped into the Upside Down before the machine exploded.
If these fan theories prove true, we could potentially see both Barb and Hopper return to Stranger Things.
Despite playing a smaller, supporting role, Barb became a cult figure for the show, and Shannon Purser went on to receive an EMMY nomination for an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.