All the ‘Stranger Things’ Characters Ranked (Good Guys Only)

in Movies & TV

Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley (left), Joe Keery as Steve Harrington (middle), and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson (right)

Credit: Netflix

Between all the good guys and the villains and whatever is lurking in the Upside Down, there are more Stranger Things characters than you might realize.

While the fifth and final season of Stranger Things is nowhere in sight, an upcoming stage production will soon cast a dark cloud over London’s West End (in a good way), so there’s no better time to rank all the Hawkins heroes from worst to best.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Could Recast Eleven This Year

Stranger Things characters ranked

14. Erica Sinclair

Erica Sinclair in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Erica Sinclair (Priah Nicole Ferguson) isn’t a main character per se, but she is the younger sister of Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), and she also helps the gang to fight the forces of the Upside Down in seasons 3 and 4. So she deserves a little spot on our list. But she’s also bratty and annoying, which is why she’s at the bottom.

Related: New ‘Stranger Things’ Trailer Hints at Major “Reset” for the Series

13. Lucas Sinclair

Stranger Things 4 cast
Credit: Netflix

Lucas Sinclair is easily among the most annoying Stranger Things characters. While Caleb McLaughlin’s performance in the Season 4 finale is gut-wrenching, his character has always been quite irritating. He’s aggressive and abrasive, and seldom hesitates to ditch his friends when the going gets tough. On the other hand, while Season 4 finds him to have completely abandoned them for the popular life at high school, he comes through for them in the end.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Is Recasting Three of Its Main Characters

12. Jonathan Byers

Jonathan Byers in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

In Season 1, Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) is one of many unlikely heroes. Watching him slowly despair over his brother’s disappearance is heartbreaking, as is watching him get bullied at high school. But Jonathan soon rises to the challenge of facing the mysteries of the Upside Down head-on. Unfortunately, as the seasons have gone by, Jonathan has been relegated to a background character — there just isn’t much for him to do anymore.

Related: Upcoming ‘Stranger Things’ Spin-Off Shares First Look

11. Mike Wheeler

Dustin, Mike and Max at school in Stranger Things Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Finn Wolfhard seems to be popping up everywhere these days, and later this year, he’ll be returning to another supernatural franchise in the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). But before Ghostbusters and Stephen King’s IT (2017), Wolfhard found fame in Stranger Things as Mike Wheeler. Mike remains one of the more prominent characters, mainly because of his relationship with Eleven. However, we’re not entirely sure where he’d fit into the show if this weren’t the case.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Is Bringing Back a Fan-Favorite Character

10. Robin Buckley

Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Daughter of Hollywood megastars Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, Maya Hawke is a very talented actress, and her Stranger Things character, Robin Buckley, has become a fan favorite. But while her chemistry with best friend, Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), is palpable, her quirkiness feels forced sometimes, and her humor doesn’t always stick the landing.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Spin-off Will Officially Break the Fourth Wall

9. Max Mayfield

Stranger Things characters looking into the Upside Down
Credit: Netflix

Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) first arrived in Stranger Things Season 2 along with her rough-around-the-edges brother, Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). While the teen skater is a perfect fit for the Hawkins gang, Max can be quite annoying from time to time. That’s not to suggest she’s a poorly written character in any way, and Sink’s performance in Season 4 is incredible, but let’s just say Max is very well suited to Lucas.

Related: New ‘Stranger Things’ Special Will Feature Ninja Turtles In “Crossover Event of the Summer”

8. Will Byers

Will Byers in Stranger Things Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is one of the most empathetic characters in the entire series. Sadly, he’s also the most tragic. His first experience with the Upside Down in Season 1 didn’t just leave him mentally scarred — in many ways, he’s now bound to the shadow dimension, as it certainly didn’t leave him alone in Season 2. Let’s hope there’s some justice ahead for Will. But either way, we’re sure there will be an epic showdown between him and Vecna/Henry Creel/One (Jamie Campbell Bower).

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Is Temporarily Replacing Its Main Character Lineup

7. Joyce Byers

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

There are many stand-out performances in Stranger Things Season 1, such as Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven). But it’s Winona Ryder who steals the show as frantic mother Joyce Byers, who searches the darkest corners of Hawkins and beyond to find her son, Will, all the while decorating her living room like she’s following the “How to Do Christmas in Whoville” manual. Ryder is simply a “joy” to watch.

Related: David Harbour Speaks Out on ‘Stranger Things’ Getting “Canceled”

6. Jim Hopper

Hopper in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

After filming on Season 1 wrapped, David Harbour didn’t think Stranger Things would succeed. How wrong he was. His character, Jim Hopper, is among the most iconic Stranger Things characters, and it’s plain to see why. Across the four seasons, he’s gone from small-town cop to Demogorgon-slaying warrior. His relationship with his surrogate daughter, Eleven/Jane Hopper (Millie Bobby Brown), also tugs at the heartstrings.

Related: When Is ‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’ Out In Theaters?

5. Murray Bauman

Dmitri Antonov (Tom Wlaschiha), Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in Season 4 of Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) seems to have come out of nowhere. The conspiracy theorist first appears in Stranger Things Season 2 as a side character, but Season 4 sees him become one of the leading and most unlikely heroes of Hawkins as he goes up against the Russians — and a Demogorgon — in a snowbound Soviet prison. Murray brings a ton of much-needed levity to the show, but he’s also a bit of a dark horse. Who knew?

Related: First Look at Beloved ‘Stranger Things’ Star’s Return In Upcoming Prequel

4. Nancy Wheeler

Nancy Wheeler in in Stranger Things Season 3 poster
Credit: Netflix

Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) is one of the most exciting characters in Stranger Things. Her first name is likely no accident — she’s kind of a “Nancy Drew” with her investigative streak, and it’s probably also an homage to Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), especially with Season 4 feeling like a love letter to the 1984 classic. But watching Nancy take on the Freddy Krueger-like Vecna/Henry Creel/One with a pump-shotgun puts the Elm Street final girl to shame.

Related: “Theatrical” ‘Stranger Things’ Prequel Gets 2023 Release Date and Synopsis

3. Eleven/Jane Hopper

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Millie Bobby Brown is phenomenal as Eleven/Elle/Jane Hopper in Stranger Things. Eleven doesn’t have much to say during the first couple of seasons, but action speaks louder than words, especially when it involves flipping cars and creating portals with your mind. Eleven continues to go from strength to strength (literally), and there’s no telling where her powers might stop. Time travel, perhaps?

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Spin-Off Reportedly Gets Title, Synopsis, and More

2. Dustin Henderson

(L to R) Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Who doesn’t love Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo)? He’s adorable, funny, sweet, and compassionate, and though he has some solid (and hilarious) “bromance” with Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), it’s his relationship with fellow Dungeons and Dragons player Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) in Stranger Things Season 4 that tugs at the heartstrings.

Related: David Harbour Jumps to New Franchise After Leaving ‘Stranger Things’ Role

1. Steve Harrington

Maya Hawke as Robin (left), Joe Keery as Steve (middle), and Joseph Quinn as Eddie (right)
Credit: Netflix

Steve Harrington is the most unlikely hero in the show. In Season 1, when girlfriend, Nancy Wheeler, shows a morsel of affection towards a grieving Jonathan Byers, he acts like a total douchebag. But Steve comes through during the eleventh hour and becomes an ally of Nancy and Jonathan as they battle the Demogorgon. Steve only gets more likable as the seasons go by, all the while acting like an overprotective babysitter to the younger characters. But it’s Season 4 where he truly shines, as he fearlessly battles a horde of demon bats in the Upside Down.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Star Oozes Wolverine Vibes In Season 4 Finale, Marvel Bosses Should Take Note

Other Stranger Things characters (Honorable mentions)

Here are some honorable mentions we wouldn’t be forgiven for leaving out!

Bob Newby

Sean Astin as Bob Newby in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

It wouldn’t be a Stranger Things character ranking without Bob Newby (Sean Astin), Joyce’s lovable boyfriend from Season 2. Unfortunately, Bob is taken down by Demogorgon “dogs” in a brutal fashion in the Season 2 finale, “The Mind Flayer,” but his legacy lives on. In fact, he’s returning to the world of Stranger Things later this year.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Creator Responds to Millie Bobby Brown After She Criticizes Season 4

Eddie Munson

Eddie Munson in Stranger Things Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Following Bob Newby is Eddie Munson, the “metal” teen who became an overnight fan-favorite following his Season 4 debut. Sadly, like Newby, Munson also doesn’t make it beyond a single season, as he’s killed by those bat-like creatures in the Upside Down in the Season 4 finale, “The Piggyback.” Luckily, Munson is also making an unexpected return.

Eddie Munson in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Related: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Reboot From the Creators of ‘Stranger Things’? Yes, Please!

As per Netflix, here’s the official synopsis for Stranger Things Season 4:

It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.

Stranger Things artwork poster
Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things Season 4 stars Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Jim Hopper), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven/Jane Hopper), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson), Paul Reiser (Dr. Sam Owens), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Matthew Modine (Papa/Martin Brenner), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), and Jamie Campbell Bower (Vecna/One/Henry Creel).

Stranger Things Seasons 1 — 4 are now streaming on Netflix.

The West End stage show Stranger Things: The First Shadow (2023) is set to premiere in London’s Phoenix Theater on December 14, 2023.

Do you agree with this ranking? Who’s your favorite Stranger Things character? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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