'Stranger Things' Season 4 Theory: "The American" Could Be Murray Bauman

Wouldn't this be quite the surprise?

The big cliffhanger teased at the end of Stranger Things Season 3 involved the Russians feeding a human to a Demogorgon at their base in Kamchatka while the kept an “American” locked up in a prison cell. Is it Hopper? Could it somehow be Dr. Brenner? Alexei?! Or maybe it’s Murray Bauman, who may have investigated Hopper’s disappearance and gotten captured.

Last we saw of him, the investigative journalist turned private investigator/conspiracy theorist was with Joyce Byers shortly after she destroyed the device in the Russian lab under Starcourt Mall. Doctor Owens and the American troops swept through the facility. So Murray was safe as the action wrapped up, and he wasn’t shown in the epilogue three months later. However, we do have a clue as to what happened to Murray after Season 3 wrapped.

After the release of Season 3, Stranger Things star David Harbour revealed a phone number — 1 (618) 625-8313 — that when called, plays a pre-recorded message from Murray. In it, he complains about his mother and tells Joyce that he has “an update” that’s “not good or bad, but it’s … something.”

Stranger Things Murray Corn Dog
Murray loves a good corn dog.

One fan on Reddit thinks that the “something” is that he “heard something about an American that came out of the Gate.” This theory assumes Hopper managed to “hop” through the portal to the Upside Down and somehow escaped to Kamchatka, where he was apprehended by the Russians and has been kept for months — or longer.

Space in the Upside Down could work like time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Quantum Realm for all we know, meaning that inside the Upside Down, Russia and Indiana aren’t that far apart.

Whether or not that part of the theory is true, Murray must be investigating the Russians in some capacity, a dangerous venture that could attract their attention. Perhaps shortly after recording this message for Joyce, he was captured by the Russians and imprisoned in Kamchatka.

Because Murray has intimate knowledge of the events that have transpired in Hawkins, that would make him valuable to the Russians if they ever captured him. Remember, we don’t actually know how much time has passed between the Season 3 epilogue and the post-credits scene.

In Murray’s Season 3 arc, he helped Hopper and Joyce Byers with their Russian prisoner Alexei, translating for them so they might unravel the mystery. He also helped them infiltrate the Russian base under Starcourt Mall to shut down the machine. So it stands to reason he might remain a prominent part of the show in Season 4 and beyond.

Whether or not he’s “The American” remains to be seen, but it’s starting to feel like he’ll be connected to that person in some way.


Stranger Things Season 3 is now on Netflix, and Season 4 will probably be released in late 2020.

Media via Netflix