Stranger Things Day: Season 1 rewind

Stranger Things season 1 production still. Photo: Curtis Baker/Netflix
Stranger Things season 1 production still. Photo: Curtis Baker/Netflix /
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Stranger Things season 1 production still. Photo: Curtis Baker/Netflix
Stranger Things season 1 production still. Photo: Curtis Baker/Netflix /

How the characters have evolved

Many of these characters have come a long way since season 1.

Here’s how some of them have evolved:


We start off with a broken and lonely Eleven who has been locked up by the government and being controlled for most of her life. She says very few words and is skittish. When we see her in season 3 it’s hard to remember that’s who she was when the boys met her.

She has true friends, a wider vocabulary and finally a true dad for the first time in her life. Based on the end of season 3 it looks like she’ll have another family with Jonathan, Will and Joyce. All we need is for Hopper to get back and they can all be a family together. But that’s for another discussion! The girl who started out with no one is now surrounded by so many who love her.

Will Byers

Will has certainly been through the wringer. In season 1 he’s stuck in the Upside Down all alone. And if that wasn’t enough trauma, the Mind Flayer doesn’t want to let him go in season 2. Then in season 3, he really struggles between trying to recapture some of the childhood he missed and the fact that his friends have grown up.

By the end of the season, it seems like he’s moving in that direction too. This boy has been through enough emotional trauma. Let’s give him a break in season 4 (this is Stranger Things though so who am I kidding?).

Nancy Wheeler

When we first meet Nancy, her studies are important but Steve has all her attention. She mostly cares about being with him and fitting in with his friends. With the loss of her best friend we see her evolve into a much more mature character, looking to do the right thing and fulfill that sense of guilt she holds over losing Barb. In the third season, we really see her become a stronger female character, proving her worth to all the dismissive men at the Hawkins Post.

Steve Harrington

Steve was not my favorite character in season 1. He was cocky and only cared about himself. Though, we see him start to change. Once he realizes his mistake of hurting Nancy with the painted words on the movie theatre sign, he starts to become a fan favorite. Now fans think of him as “Dad Steve” with the way he protects the kids.

Don’t even get me started on the Dustin/Steve relationship! I can gush about those two all day. In season 3 we see him struggle, going from the coolest guy in school to working at Scoops Ahoy. This character has had his ups and downs and it will be fun to see what the writers have in store for him.

Joyce Byers

Joyce is by far one of the best, if not the best, moms in TV history. Honestly, who can argue with that? She wouldn’t give up even when everyone else told her to. When Will went missing she knew in her heart he wasn’t dead and did everything she could to get him back. And things definitely didn’t get easier in the second season.

While being the best mom certainly doesn’t change, in the second and third seasons Joyce opens up her heart again. She’s so happy with Bob, but in typical Stranger Things fashion, she loses him in the most heartbreaking way. It takes her time to grieve, but we eventually get to a place that made Joyce and Hopper shippers cheer. And then, you don’t need me to tell you what happened. I can’t wait for their reunion (which will happen, thank you very much.)!

Jim Hopper

Hopper was broken in season 1, still reeling from the loss of his daughter. He was chief of police but was very relaxed with his work. He took everything easy, but that quickly changed when he realized there was more going on with Will’s disappearance. We see him grow from someone that only has to worry about himself to becoming a father again with Eleven. Their relationship is one of the best on the show. He also opens up his heart again to Joyce and lets himself care about other people. By the end of season 3, he’s a hero and sacrifices himself to save everyone.

Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair and Dustin Henderson

These boys haven’t gone through major changes except for the fact that they’re growing up and now have girlfriends. Though they’re a bit distracted by their girls, especially Lucas and Mike. They had to deal with some troubles with their girlfriends, which was so fun to watch. The friends eventually all come together and are there for each other to fight the supernatural forces in their lives.