Ahead of the 2024 release of Season 5 of Stranger Things are with me only just watching the series all the way through for the first time I thought I’d dive right in with an article on the best characters of Stranger Things.
I’m always late to the party when it comes to watching popular TV series. I must have been the last person to the party when it came to watching Breaking Bad, Two and a Half Men and even How I Met Your Mother.
I was miles behind pop culture conversations and I still to this day haven’t seen Game of Thrones!
After wiping a tear away on the final episode of Season 4 my Stranger Things journey concluded. For now, and what an experience it was.
As impatient as I am I thought season 1 was incredibly slow and it just wasn’t gripping me in the way that I wanted it to. I started to feel as though the show was all hype but Season 1 served as mere character development and Season 2 started to really dive into that 80s gang vibe with friendship, relationships and more being explored.
Season 3 was incredible and definitely my favourite season of them all as each episode was as consistently good as the other. Season 4 of Stranger Things took a much darker tone as our heroes really are put to the test with a villain as epic as Thanos from Infinity War. A villain that for the first time feels like they’re going to win and in some ways, he already has.
In the realm of television series, few shows have captured the collective imagination of audiences as profoundly as “Stranger Things.”
Set against the backdrop of a small town in the 1980s, this supernatural thriller has not only brought back a sense of nostalgia but has also introduced us to a diverse cast of characters that have become indelibly etched in pop culture.
As we journey through the mystifying events of Hawkins, Indiana, let’s delve into the intricacies that make some of the show’s characters truly exceptional.
Eleven (Eleven/Jane Hopper): The Enigmatic Protagonist
There would be no Stranger Things without Eleven. Whilst Mike may be the heart of the group, Eleven is the heart of the show.
With a character portrayed with remarkable depth by Millie Bobby Brown she is one tough cookie and incredible to watch.
Born as a test subject in a government lab, Eleven’s telekinetic abilities and her emotional journey from captivity to freedom make her a character of unparalleled complexity.
Her poignant vulnerability and fierce determination resonate deeply with viewers, as we witness her longing for normalcy amidst a world that is anything but.
The evolution of her character from a timid experiment to a powerful young woman showcases her resilience and growth, endearing her to fans across the globe.
I still hope that one day I can wake up, hold my arm out and just randomly open a door infront of me. My very own automated door system. I don’t ask for much, just the power to do that would be great, thanks.
Eddie Munson: Champion of the Misfits
Eddie Munson deserves a place on this list for giving misfits anywhere that stage to stand up and be different.
Eddie’s character owns who he is and shows the whole world that you should never change who you are no matter what. His endearing character instantly became a fans favourite despite only appearing for the first time in Season 4.
A character’s growth like Eddie’s is usually defined over an entire show but Eddie had one chance and one season and it was the most unexpected of them all.
Considered a freak Eddie at his high school Eddie is seriously misunderstood. A noble hearted character who values friendships and a character so pure that the Season 4 finale left not a dry eye in the room.
Eddie is the one character who questions why he should be endangering his own life, he’s the real voice of reason and the only person who’s genuinely scared experiencing these ‘stranger things’ for the first time but is driven by his bravery and affection for others.
A bright, intelligent young man who’s majorly misunderstood. Failing in school despite his creative flair all because he’s been failed by a system who puts too heavy an expectation on these young minds.
Chief Jim Hopper: The Relatable Guardian
When I first started watching Stranger Things Hopper felt as though he was going to be a background character but as the seasons progress I’m quite safe in saying that he becomes a core character and pretty much leads the way throughout the entirety of Season 4 as the storyline splits between 3 individual ones.
David Harbour’s portrayal of Chief Jim Hopper has carved a special place in the hearts of viewers.
Hopper’s gruff exterior conceals a profound sense of loss and vulnerability, stemming from the death of his daughter.
His journey from a disillusioned cop to a dedicated protector of Eleven and her friends paints a compelling narrative of redemption.
Hopper’s dry humour, unyielding loyalty, and the vulnerability he displays while grappling with his own demons make him an authentic and relatable character.
I knew from day one that he and Joyce would have a thing going on, they just need to seal the deal now before the inevitable end of the world.
Get hopping Hopper!
Mike Wheeler: The Heartfelt Friend
The heart of the friendship group as Finn Wolfhard’s character really has evolved since the first season.
Granted he’s a bit of a cocky douchebag now but he still has his endearing moments especially when it comes to how he feels about Eleven and how no matter he’s making sure his friends are safe in the face of danger.
His connection with Eleven is a testament to the purity of young love.
Mike’s growth from a curious, bike-riding kid to a teenager dealing with complex emotions is a reflection of the show’s theme of navigating the challenges of growing up.
Dustin Henderson: The Endearing Optimist
Out of the group I had my favourite character from day one and my least favourite character.
You know who my least favourite character is as I’ve very clearly omitted them from this particular article for a very strong reason.
Heck, I could write a whole article on why I feel his character doesn’t really work up until this point but I’m sure he’ll come good in Season 5, his arc has to start sooner or later outside the realms of dialogue that includes ‘He’s here’ or ‘I can feel him’ on repeat throughout two seasons.
With his endearing lisp and infectious enthusiasm, Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin Henderson adds a layer of levity to the show’s darker themes.
Dustin’s unflinching optimism, even in the face of demogorgons and government conspiracies, is a ray of light that resonates with audiences.
His determination to maintain the group’s unity, his love for his pet demodog Dart, and his witty banter with Steve Harrington contribute to his status as a fan favorite.
After a tear-jerking scene with Eddie Munson in Season 4 Dustin must be protected at all costs!
Steve Harrington: The Unlikely Hero
From high school heartthrob douchebag to one of perhaps the strongest arcs of the entire show Joe Keery has endeared fans to his character.
Steve undergoes one of the most remarkable character transformations in the series. From a self-absorbed teenager to a compassionate protector of his younger friends, Steve’s growth is a testament to the show’s ability to subvert expectations.
His dynamic with Dustin, which evolves into a genuine mentorship, is a heartwarming subplot where Steve has gone from a false high school hero to a real one.
Joyce Byers: The Fierce Mother
Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Joyce Byers, the mother of missing boy Will, brings emotional depth and intensity to the show.
Well, after season 1 that is.
I have to be honest Season 1 some scenes were grating hard with her character becoming almost intolerable to watch at times.
Her character has been toned down as the series has gone on as she has grow into a resourceful and resilient character that steps up levels in Stranger Things Season 4 to rescue Hopper from the Russians.
Joyce definitely anchors down those family values throughout the core of the series.
Lucas Sinclair: The Pragmatic Voice
I added Lucas into the article but it was hit and miss for a while with him looking likely to join Max and Will in my least favourite characters pile but Caleb McLaughlin’s Lucas Sinclair is the voice of practicality and caution within the group of friends.
He deserves a place on the list.
His skepticism and tendency to question decisions add a layer of realism to the otherwise fantastical events of the show. Lucas’s unwavering loyalty to his friends and his growth from skepticism to acceptance reflect the show’s theme of embracing the extraordinary.
Stranger Things provides an audience with well-crafted multi-dimensional characters. The fact I have characters I like and characters I hate further proves the individual arcs and personalities that have been lovingly crafted by the writers.
Others will love different characters, others will hate different characters but there is enough to viewers to stick to.
If you’re patient and can get past Season 1 then you’ll be in for a real treat.
From Eleven’s emotional journey to Hopper’s redemption, and from Mike’s heartfelt friendship to Steve’s unexpected heroism, each character contributes a unique facet to the story’s intricate tapestry.
Their strengths, vulnerabilities, and growth arcs resonate with viewers on a profound level, making them not just characters on a screen, but cherished companions in an otherworldly adventure. Come on Netflix, we want Season 5!
So there we have it, we’ve explored our best characters of Stranger Things but still, one question remains. Which are yours?