Stranger Things season 3: Meet the cast and characters

Catch up on the Stranger Things story with this handy character-by-character reminder of the story so far.

We're heading back to Hawkins for another terrifying and thrilling adventure – but which characters will be returning and who are the important new arrivals in town.

Stranger Things is about to explode back on Netflix for a third season of Demogorgons, 80s nostalgia and AV Club adventures.

We’re heading into 1985 – the year of New Coke and Back to the Future – for a summer that will change everything for our favourite gang of Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts.

[Stranger Things: How to watch the Netflix series]

[Stranger Things: What time is it released in the UK?]

Eleven may have closed the gate to the Upside Down at the end of season two, but its looks like her actions have only left a dark new threat locked in with them in Hawkins.

Get yourself up to speed with our quick-fire guide to the Stranger Things cast, including the new arrivals for season 3.

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Joyce Byers – Played by Winona Ryder

Stranger Things season 3 - Winona Ryder

(Stranger Things season 3 / Netflix)

Long-suffering Joyce has been tormented with the disappearance of her son Will in season 1, before watching him get possessed by the Upside Down’s Mind-Flayer in season 2.

She managed to rescue Will for a second time thanks to a red-hot exorcism, but she also lost her boyfriend, RadioShack’s Bob Newby (Sean Astin) in the battle with the Demodogs. Bob – we’ll never forget you.

Will she have a quieter time in season 3 with her children facing no danger and a blossoming romance with Hopper? Somehow, we doubt it.

Jim Hopper – Played by David Harbour

Jim Harbour - Stranger Things season 3

(Stranger Things season 3 / Netflix)

The Hawkins Police Department chief is everyone’s favourite father figure in town, adopting Eleven, supporting Joyce and being an all-round bad-ass when battling the Upside Down and the secretive Hawkins Lab team.

His relationship with Eleven, bond with Joyce and vital role in saving Hawkins (and possibly the world) has helped rekindle some fire inside Hopper. The death of his daughter from cancer sent him tumbling into booze and cost him his marriage.

Will we see more heroics from Hopper in season 3? And more importantly, will he bust out some of those famous dance moves to win Joyce’s heart?

Will Byers – Player by Noah Schnapp

It’s not been the greatest two years for young Will ‘zombie boy’ Byers. He got trapped in the Upside Down in season 1 and possessed by the monster in season two, but somehow he survived both experiences.

Hopefully, he’ll be able to join in with the rest of the gang in saving Hawkins and chasing teen romance in season 3. Maybe, this year, Will might the hero rather than the victim.

Jonathan Byers – Played by Charlie Heaton

Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers in Stranger Things season 3

Will’s older brother started season 1 all dark and mysterious, focussing his time on his passion for film and photography – still struggling to deal with the loss of his father.

However, across the two seasons, Jonathan evolved into a brave fighter, a romance with Nancy Wheeler blossomed with a night of passion in season 2 and his tender relationship with Will is one of the most beautifully-drawn across the entire show.

Mike Wheeler – Played by Finn Wolfhard

Will’s best friend took charge of the rescue mission for his young buddy in both season 1 and 2, but it’s his romantic relationship which has become a huge focus for Stranger Things fans.

The romance between Will and the supernatural-powered Eleven has been at the centre of the story so far – even when Eleven was put into hiding by Hopper. The emotional pay-off came at the Snow Ball in the season 2 finale. Their slowdance still gives us goosebumps.

Will Mike’s relationship with Eleven run into any problems in season 3?

Nancy Wheeler – Played by Natalia Dyer

Mike’s older sister found herself caught up with her sibling’s battle against the Upside Down thanks to her simmering relationship with Jonathan and the death of her best friend Barb at the hands of the Demogorgon.

When she’s not busy kicking Upside Down butt, Nancy is in the middle of the show’s most talked out about love triangle. Are you Team Jonathan or Team Steve?

Karen Wheeler – Played by Cara Buono

Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler in Stranger Things

Nancy and Mike’s mother is completely oblivious to the apocalyptic drama that her kids have been caught up in – typically she’s not even sure where her kids are whenever anyone comes knocking at the Wheeler front door.

One person who did make an impression on Karen is the muscular Billy Hargrove – and judging by the trailer for season 3, their flirting has been ramped up a few notches in 1985.

[Read more: Who is Stranger Things star Cara Buono: Everything you need to know about the Karen Wheeler actress]

Lucas Sinclair – Played by Caleb McLaughlin

Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair in Stranger Things season 3

The catapult-firing youngster was the one member of the AV Club who had doubts and resentment for Eleven in the first series, but he quickly learned that he shouldn’t let a girl ruin his relationship with Mike, Dustin and Will.

In season 2, he got his own romantic storyline with new girl in town, Max. Despite repeatedly teasing him, Max concluded the season by smooching with Lucas at the Snow Ball.

Erica Sinclair – Played by Priah Ferguson

Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair in Stranger Things season 3

Lucas’s younger sister had several show-stealing scenes in season two, jibing her brother and his pals for their geeky interests and games.

She’s been promoted to a larger role in season 3 and will apparently get her own important adventure.

Eleven / Jane – Played by Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things season 3

(Stranger Things season 3 / Netflix)

The mysterious alien-like Eleven has psychokinetic abilities and a special connection with the Upside Down. She was brought up and experimented on by the Hawkins Lab team and Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) and we learned in season two that there were other victims – including Eight (Linnea Berthelsen).

After escaping Hawkins Labs, befriending Mike, Dustin and Lucas, she comes to the rescue of Will in season 1 and the whole gang in season 2. She discovered the true identity of her mother, Terry Ives, prompting her to briefly run away from Hopper and Hawkins, but when she could sense the trouble her friends faces, she immediately ran home.

She became the adopted daughter or Hopper at the end of season 2 and began a romantic relationship with Mike. However, we suspect season 3 isn’t going to be a quiet summer holiday for Eleven.

Dustin Henderson – Played by Gaten Matarazzo

The most upbeat and relentlessly cheery member of the Hawkins Middle School AV Club has used his passion for science and Dungeons and Dragons to inspire the rescue missions in season 1 and 2.

Last year, he had to watch his buddy Lucas get the girl, but an unlikely new bond with Steve Harrington has given him a new mentor when it comes to winning hearts and styling his bouffant.

He ended the last season getting a helping hand from Nancy Wheeler, who took sympathy on Dustin and shocked the girls of HMS by dancing with him.

Steve Harrington – Played by Joe Keery

The Farrag Fawcett hairspray-using, spike baseball bat-wielding, bad-ass babysitter is a true fan favourite.

He got his heartbroken by Nancy Wheeler, but Steve proved that there were far more levels to him than your usual school jock, taking on a surrogate father role to Dustin and co.

Has the spark completely died for Steve and Nancy? Or will there be a new girl to catch his eye in season 3?

Maxine 'Max' Mayfield – Played by Sadie Sink

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield in Stranger Things season 3

She skateboarded into Hawkins in season two, leaving the boys picking up their jaws off the floor as she wowed them with her cool attitude and mind-blowing arcade machine skills.

Lucas brought her up to speed with the Upside Down in season two and the pair officially started a romance at the Snow Ball.
Eleven initially resented Max because she mistakenly believed that Mike was dating her – but it looks like the pair have overcome their differences, judging by the season 3 trailer.

Billy Hargrove – Played by Dacre Montgomery

The cocky, swaggering new bad boy in town caused a stir with his unbuttoned shirts and shocking attitude in season two.

He had a brawl with Steve, flirted with Mike and Nancy’s mum and relentlessly bullied his step-sister Max.

However, viewers were left feeling sympathy for Billy after witnessing the abusive behaviour of his brutal father.
New arrivals in Hawkins

Robin – Played by Maya Hawke

Maya Hawke in Stranger Things season 3

(Stranger Things season 3 / Netflix)

The daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke joins the series as a new co-worker for Steve, who is now working at a Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop in the Starcourt Mall.

Speaking about her character, she told WWD: “I came into it thinking, ‘OK, sarcastic, bored with her life, down to earth, Madonna wannabe, cool girl from school but that no one notices.’ And then throughout the season she became more and more like me.”
Robin has been described as “an alternative girl who is equal parts sharp and playful. Bored with her mundane day job, she just wants a little excitement in her life…and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret in Hawkins.”

[Read more: Who is Stranger Things star Maya Hawke? Everything you need to know]

Bruce – Played by Jake Busey

Jake Busey in Stranger Things season 3

(Stranger Things season 3 / Netflix)

The Starship Troopers and Predator actor will play journalist that works for the Hawkins Post.

"He's got questionable morals and a sick sense of humour and that’s what I’ve been cleared to discuss on that one until further notice," said Busey.

Comparing landing the role to winning the lottery, he added: "Stranger Things was one of those moments in life that you really always hoped for but never got.

"And then suddenly you’re looking at the TV, you’re looking at the paper in your hand and you realise: 'My god, I have the same numbers as those little white balls bouncing in the air tubes and I have won the lottery'."

Mayor Kline – Played by Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes - Stranger Things season 3

(Stranger Things season 3 / Netflix)

The 80s icon and Princess Bride star joins the cast as Hawkins "smarmy" mayor.

He’s responsible for the 4th July celebrations and fun fair at the centre of the season 3 trailer, but it’s not known yet whether he’ll be a central figure in this year’s adventure.

"It's the first time we’re meeting the mayor of Hawkins and it turns out he’s a rather self-centered individual," Elwes told The Wrap.

"And he's one of these politicians that seems to be very full of himself and not always honest, and a little bit demeaning of others."

Heather – Francesca Reale

Francesca Reale as Heather in Stranger Things season 3

A final addition for season 3 is the Haters Back Off and Yes God Yes actress Francesca Reale.

She plays a lifeguard at the Hawkins community pool alongside Billy and the only detail that has been revealed is that she will be at the centre of a "dark mystery".

Dr Alexei - Alex Utgoff

Alex Utgoff plays Dr Alexei in Stranger Things season 3

The Russian scientist has become a fan favourite after season 3, as he appears in an amusing, but crucial sub-plot with Hopper and Joyce Byers.

Dr Alexei's fondness for Looney Tunesns and cherry Slurpee drinks has made him an isntant meme-hit

You may recognise Alex from his appearances in The Wrong Mans with James Corden or the films Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Mortdecai. He will also appear in the BBC's upcoming TV series Dracula.

Writing on Instagram, he thanked Stranger Things fans for their response to his character.

"Thank you everyone for your warm welcome and support," he wrote.

"I was really touched that you enjoyed our arc and resonated with the character I tried answering as many people as I could

"As this is quite simply impossible with my responsibilities at home I’d like to thank you for all your kind energy in all the messages I read and in turn I wish you all the happiness and successes in your family, professional and personal lives."

Mr Clarke - Randy Havens

Randy Havens as Mr Clarke in Stranger Things season 3

The much-loved minor character has appeared in every season so far and has played a crucial role in helping his Middle School students conquering the Upside Down and Mind Flayer – even if he doesn’t know it.

Mr Clarke pops up early in season 3 when Joyce Byers goes to ask him questions about mysterious goings-on with magnets.

Anyone who grew up in the 80s will love the fact that Mr Clarke’s scenes are soundtracked by Weird Al and his comedy cover My Bologna.

Randy Havens can be seen in the film Instant Family, the AMC TV series Halt and Catch Fire and the blockbuster Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Grigori aka The Russian Terminator - Andrey Ivchenko

Stranger Things season 3 Grigori actor Andrey Ivchenko

A character who appears in the opening sequence of Stranger Things season 3, this ominous-looking Russian proves to be a constant thorn in the side of Hopper. The fact he looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger and looks almost unstoppable in a fight has earned him the nickname from fans as 'The Russian Terminator'.

You may have seen the actor before in XXX: Return of Xander Cage, the TV series Counterpart of the film Freezer/

Stranger Things season three will be streaming on Netflix from July 4.

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