Meet the Cast of Netflix's 'Stranger Things'

Michele Marin | Oct 29, 2016 TV

If you haven't jumped on the Stranger Things bandwagon yet, you're missing out. Loaded with popular '80s movie references (have fun spotting them) and pop culture playbacks, Stranger Things follows the gripping disappearance of young Will Byers. Step back in time to Hawkins, Indiana, and follow Byers's mom — played by Winona Ryder! — and the rest of the cast as they desperately look for the missing boy. Will's friends launch their own investigation, taking viewers on a hair-raising ride of their own.

The cast is a mix of new faces and stars who were major '80s icons. From Winona Ryder to young stars fresh off Broadway, get to know the cast of Stranger Things.


Image via PG/Splash News

  • Noah Schnapp as Will Byers


    This may not be the actor's first rodeo when it comes to acting, but 12-year-old Noah Schnapp says Stranger Things is "one of his biggest and most challenging projects." Other credits include voicing the lead character of none other than Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie and playing Tom Hanks's son in Bridge of Spies.

  • Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler


    Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, 13-year-old Finn Wolfhard plays Will Byer's best friend, Mikey, who unofficially leads their group of friends on their search for Will. Aware of the young actor's obsession with '80s movies, Wolfhard's agent sent him the script for Stranger Things, which he instantly fell in love with. A successful audition and a few Skype conversations later, and the directors were hooked. Wolfhard's other TV credits include guest roles on Supernatural and The 100. Besides season two of Stranger Things, you can catch Wolfhard in the new horror flick It.

  • Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair


    New York native Caleb McLaughlin takes on the role of Lucas Sinclair, another of Will's friends set out to find him. The most skeptical of the bunch, Lucas thinks this entire situation is a bit crazy, and he isn't sold on Eleven, either. McLaughlin stepped into his role on Stranger Things with a few credits on his resume, including a role on J Lo's series, Shades of Blue, and Law and Order. Prior to TV, McLaughlin studied dance at the Harlem School of Dance, transitioning to Broadway as young Simba in The Lion King. Keeping to the '80s theme, McLaughlin stars as Rickey Bell in the upcoming BET miniseries The New Edition Story, set to air January 24–26, 2017.

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  • Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson


    Tell me this show's Dustin Henderson doesn't melt your heart? Played by another musical talent and Broadway vet, Gaten Matarazzo, Dustin is the unsure and levelheaded friend of the group. The lisp you hear from Matarazzo's character is real, and he is not ashamed of it. Matazzaro suffers from a rare disease affecting how bones and teeth develop called cleidocranial dysplasia. It took Matarazzo hundreds of auditions over two years to land an acting role because of his disability. Stranger Things creators saw past Matarazzo's disablity and embraced his dysplasia as part of the actor's character. The 14-year-old New Jersey native's roots are on Broadway. The young actor started out as Benji in Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, and Gavorche in Les Miserables

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  • Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven


    On their quest to find Will, friends Lucas, Mikey, and Dustin come across a telekinetic girl, Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown.

    Born in Spain, Brown and her parents moved to England before emigrating to the US. The family settled in Orlando, Florida, where Brown took acting classes to occupy her Saturday afternoons. It was here that a top Hollywood scout came upon the young star, encouraging her parents to move her to Los Angeles

    They did and the actress soon landed roles on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Intruders before landing the role of Eleven on Stranger Things. Speculation abounds that her father is asking for more money for the 12-year-old, now that the show is getting so much buzz.

  • Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers


    Iconic '80s actress Winona Ryder delivers an astounding performance as the distraught mother of missing Will Byers. (The fact that she's playing a mom makes us feel a tad old.) We loved her in Lucas, followed by a diverse range of characters in iconic films such as HeathersBeetlejuice, Reality Bites, and Edward Scissorhands. Ryder's performance in The Age of Innocence landed her a Golden Globe and an Oscar, but then Winona Ryder was caught shoplifting and she sort of disappeared for a while. When asked about resurrecting her career and the success of Stranger Things, Winona Ryder told Jimmy Kimmel, "It's been amazing, overwhelming, humbling."

  • Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler


    Mikey Wheeler's studious, popular, teenage sister, Nancy, played by Natalia Dyer, finds her role in the show growing when her best friend, Barbara, also goes missing and she blames herself. The 19-year-old actress appeared in 2009's Hannah Montana: The Movie and the indie flick I Believe In Unicorns. Catch the actress next in Don't Let Me Go

  • Shannon Purser as Barbara Holland


    We know, we know. It's hard to believe. Is Barb really dead? Let's hope not, because we love seeing Shannon Purser portray Natalie's loyal and somewhat nerdy best friend, Barbara Holland. We were crushed when Barbara disappeared the night of Steve Harrington's party. It's hard to believe but Stranger Things is Purser's first acting gig. Fans love her character so much that they created a hashtag just for her, #justiceforbarb. If we don't end up seeing her next season, you can catch her in the CW series Riverdale as well as in in Melissa McCarthy's new film Life of the Party.  

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  • Joe Keery as Steve Harrington


    Nancy's charming, playboy boyfriend with great '80s hair, Steve Harrington, is the guy we love to hate, and Joe Keery nails the role. The actor's TV creds include Chicago Fire and Empire. Keery's upcoming thriller, The Charnel House, comes out in November 2016.

  • Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers


    The Talented Miss Byrnes. 📸 @lindseybyrnes 👗@lindseybyrnes

    A photo posted by Charlie Heaton (@charlie.r.heaton) on

    A cross between a young River Phoenix and Leonardo DiCaprio, London-bred Charlie Heaton plays Will Byers's big brother and head of the family since their father left. Prior to actingHeaton was the drummer for the London rock band Comanechi. After acquiring quite a few acting credits on British TV, the 22-year-old headed to Los Angeles and landed Stranger Things. Look for him alongside Naomi Watts in the thriller Shut In.

  • David Harbour as Police Chief Jim Hopper


    Police Chief Jim Hopper was slow to realize that something bad actually happened to Will Byer — and Barbara Holland, for that matter. The actor underestimated his ability to play the role; Harbour was certain that the role would go to a "big star." A Broadway veteran, the actor transitioned to TV in Law & Order and landed roles in Brokeback Mountain and Suicide Squad. Harbour really wanted the role of Eleven — see his hilarious audition tape on You Tube.

  • Matthew Modine as Dr. Martin Brenner


    The villainous Dr. Martin Brenner, or "Papa," as Eleven refers to him, is the scientist involved in the chilling plot. Brenner is portrayed by Matthew Modine, whom we fell in love with in Vision Quest and Weeds. He is also well known for his role in Full Metal Jacket. Besides Stranger Things, Modine is co-starring with Mandy Moore in the upcoming 47 Meters Down.

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