Hopper's Giant Stranger Things Sword Was Previously Swung By Arnold Schwarzenegger

This post contains spoilers for the "Stranger Things" season 4 finale.

The fourth season of "Stranger Things" might be the best yet, but it is not without inconsistencies. Will's birthday (and character) are both forgotten, Eleven's excellent language skills at Hawkins Lab undermine her character development throughout the show, and there's somehow a massive sword at a Russian prison ... that Hopper wields in an incredible moment to slay a demogorgon and decapitate its head. Is it badass? Yep. But it's also confusing.

Additionally, David Harbour has just revealed that the sword represents a super cool Easter egg — it's the exact prop sword swung by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1982 film "Conan the Barbarian" and its sequel.

I'm all for Easter eggs and cool-looking swords with history. The odds of a sword existing at a Russian prison, however, is a little strange — and poses the question, is "Conan the Barbarian" canon in "Stranger Things?" Is Yuri smuggling more than just peanut butter? What's next, the time travel machine from "Back To The Future?" Why is a sword of that size casually stored away in a Russian prison? Did the Russians anticipate the demogorgon breakout and their inefficiency in killing them? Or do they just enjoy watching the inmates fight for their lives before they become the monster's dinner? The possibilities are endless.

David Harbour's pretty excited about it

Former Hawkins Chief of Police Jim Hopper is put through a great ordeal in "Stranger Things" season 4 — he is held hostage at a Russian prison, tortured, and is put through hell to escape, with the help of Joyce, Murray his friend Enzo, and an unwilling Russian smuggler Yuri. Hopper's journey culminates in an epic battle when he picks up a sword against one of the Upside Down's most menacing, bloodthirsty creatures, the demogorgon.

The sword was previously wielded by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the epic film series "Conan the Barbarian," revealed David Harbour in an interview with GQ Magazine.

"I don't know if you saw this, but that sword I pick up — it's the actual prop sword they used in Conan the Barbarian ... It's the sword that Schwarzenegger swings in the movie."

Harbour later took to his Instagram profile to share that the prop was the genuine, hand-forged Atlantean sword swung by Schwarzenegger in the legendary film series. 

A prized possession

This isn't Harbour's first brush with classic '80s fantasy memorabilia. One of Harbour's "most prized possessions" is a poster for "Masters of the Universe," the 1987 fantasy adventure movie starring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man, a powerful and frequently bare-chested warrior who, with the help of two teenagers from Earth, must save the universe from his archenemy Skeletor (Frank Langella).

Released at the height of the '80s fantasy craze, "Masters of the Universe" was a critical and commercial disaster, eking out a worldwide box office haul of $17 million against a budget of $22 million. But it's since gained a cult following, along with Harbour's fond appreciation — in particular for the performance by one of his acting idols Langella. "I just like the fact that a really great actor that I admire could do a film in full prosthetics that wasn't received very well," Harbour told Architectural Digest during a tour of his home in 2019.

Now it's all come full circle for Harbour, who got to play out his '80s adventure fantasies in a show about '80s nostalgia — and get praised for his acting performance while he did it. 

Well, the sword didn't appear out of nowhere

While it may seem like Hopper's sword somehow appeared out of thin air (Godric Gryffindor, is that you?) the prop was actually first established in the seventh episode of "Stranger Things." If you'll go back, you will see that it was initially used by a not-so-lucky prisoner near the cells at the side of the gladiatorial pit, after their big Hansel and Gretel-style feast thrown by the Russians. Harbour shared a photo of the scene from a fan who made the discovery.

The seventh episode shows that the sword was just one of the many weapons locked away in a case on the wall, given to prisoners to battle the monster after the feast. Unfortunately, the poor guy who picked up the sword before Hopper wasn't as lucky.

While this little tidbit does solve the mystery of how Hopper randomly found a sword at the prison, it still doesn't attest to why the sword was being held here in the first place. But judging from the prop presented in episode 7, I would say that the bad guys simply enjoy watching the prisoners fight off one of the most dangerous creatures in their world. A bit sadistic, yes, but the only probable explanation.