|“||El, are you there? El? It's me, it's Mike. It's day 352, 7:40 pm, I am still here. If you're out there, say something... or give me a sign, I won't, I won't even say anything, I just... I want to know if you're okay.||”|
–Mike Wheeler, October 30, 1984
When Mike's best friend, Will Byers, mysteriously went missing, he and his other friends, Lucas and Dustin, made it their mission to find him. However, while searching for Will, they stumbled upon an escaped girl named Eleven instead. Mike soon discovered that she knew something about Will's disappearance and enlisted her help in finding him. During their time together, Mike and Eleven formed a strong bond and quickly grew to like each other. Once Will was found, Mike was happy that he had returned home safely; however, he was greatly devastated by Eleven's sacrifice to defeat the Demogorgon.
Still devastated by Eleven's disappearance one year later, Mike called for her every night while also assisting Will with a new supernatural issue. Eventually, he reunited with Eleven. He, along with his friends and Steve, then worked on burning the sprawling network of another inter-dimensional threat, using it as a distraction for Eleven to close the Gate for good. Mike later attended the Snow Ball dance with Eleven, which he previously promised her.
During the summer of 1985, Mike's romantic relationship with Eleven continued to blossom. After Hopper complicated it, Mike does his best to amend their relationship, taking counsel from Lucas. Upon learning that the Mind Flayer was still alive and began flaying to get revenge on Mike, Eleven, and their friends, he joined his friends to defeat it. Three months after Hopper's apparent death, Mike and his friends had to bid farewell to Eleven, and the Byers who were moving out of Hawkins. Before leaving, Mike and Eleven made plans to visit each other at Thanksgiving while they also professed their love for one another.
- Main article: Mike Wheeler/History
Personality and Traits
Mike is shown to be optimistic, morally compassionate, and highly committed to his friends, usually going to great lengths to help them. His D&D role as Dungeon Master suggests that he, like Will, is a creative thinker. Out of the four boys, he is the most emotionally open and rather gullible, being willing to accept fantastical explanations behind complex situations. After Will disappeared, he quickly drew a parallel to Will’s defeat at the hands of the Demogorgon. After witnessing Eleven's psychic powers, Mike became faithful to the idea that she could help find Will. While his friends were initially skeptical about Eleven, Mike wholeheartedly trusted her to guide them and even developed a close relationship with her. Mike's slightly unorthodox approach led him to connect some of the dots explaining the mysterious Upside Down.
Mike's sheer resolve to helping his friends was so great that at one point, he jumped off the cliff to protect Dustin before Eleven came to rescue him. Additionally, Mike displayed strong morale and courage when he confronted Troy about his joke of Will's presumed death, showing just how much he cares for his friends. Even after Will was saved, Mike perceived that Will was struggling due to his connection with the Upside Down and tried to help him. Mike was also the only one out of his friends to stay with Will in the lab when he was suffering from memory loss and was manipulated by the Mind Flayer, proving that he was always ready to put himself in harm's way to protect his friends.
Moreover, when Eleven disintegrated the Demogorgon and vanished, Mike was severely traumatized by her disappearance and struggled. Yet he still believed that she was alive and continued to try contacting her for 353 consecutive days, until his determination was rewarded when he finally reunited with Eleven after almost a year. His undying love and concern for her were also explicit when he endeavored to convince the group to distract the Demodogs from Eleven, defying Steve's orders, as well as keeping his promise to her by attending the Snow Ball.
As he started dating Eleven, Mike showed a more romantic side to his personality. He was protective of Eleven as he feared losing her again, but he eventually shed his overprotectiveness of Eleven after reconciling with her. Mike was also shown to be more mature as he admitted that he was being too overprotective of Eleven and apologized to her for it.
Mike and Nancy were hinted to have been closer when they were younger; Nancy would dress up for some of Mike's early D&D campaigns. However, the two drifted apart, likely due to the large age gap between them and the fact that they attended different schools. Nancy was often dismissive of her brother, calling him "gross" and a "douchebag", and in turn Mike was dismissive of her relationship with Steve Harrington. However, when Mike briefly went missing, Nancy was genuinely worried about him. After he was found, he and his sister agreed to stop lying to each other and to always tell the truth. However, this was short-lived, as both siblings immediately started lying to each other again. Despite this, however, Mike and Nancy are still shown to care for each other, despite getting on each other's nerves. Mike even refused to give Keith a date with Nancy, not wanting to prostitute his sister in exchange for discovering the identity of "MADMAX". However, he is not above stealing from her piggy bank that consequently forces him to give away a box of his toys.
In 1985, Mike's relationship with his sister seemed to have improved greatly after all they have been through in the past two years. When Nancy urged Mike to open the door, Mike did so as he could tell by her voice that something was wrong. The two worked together with their friends in investigating the Flayed and the Mind Flayer's plot. Mike even came to Nancy's aid when she was being attacked by a monster at the Hawkins Memorial Hospital. As they waited for Eleven to find the Flayed, Nancy was shocked to hear that Eleven broke up with Mike and criticized him for controlling Eleven, stating that Eleven is her own person capable of making her own choices. However, when Mike admitted that he's afraid of losing Eleven and that he truly loves her, Nancy is surprised to hear this. Later, when the Mind Flayer attacks Hopper's cabin, Nancy does everything to protect her brother and his friends. Nancy continues to help and protect Mike before the Mind Flayer is killed at Starcourt Mall. Three months later, Nancy and Mike share their grief together as they watch the Byers family and Eleven leave Hawkins.
Mike had a healthy but somewhat strained relationship with his mother. He knew that Karen was always there to comfort and protect him. However, he disobeyed her orders to not go looking for Will and frequently lied to her. He also did not trust her to handle the situation surrounding Eleven. Karen appeared frustrated that both Mike and Nancy seemed unwilling to be honest and open with her. However, Mike went home to his mother and cried in her arms when he thought that Will was dead. After being unable to accept Eleven's presumed disappearance, Mike started behaving peculiarly which caused Karen, unaware of the cause, to compel him to pack a major portion of his toys, frustrating Mike even more. Mike also gets annoyed when his mom takes so many pictures of him in his Ghostbusters costume and his outfit for the Snow Ball. However, in October 1985, after saying goodbye to Will and Eleven, Mike sought comfort from his mom in the form of a hug, showing that he truly loves her.
Mike and Ted did not appear to have the strongest relationship. Ted was often at work and so had less time to spend with his son. Ted's tactless nature could sometimes annoy his family, Mike included. Mike also kept Eleven's existence a secret from Ted. When Mike was urged by his mother to sell a big portion of his toys, Ted said that Mike's toys were "chunks of plastic."
Mike and Eleven developed a special relationship in the six days they knew each other. He allowed her to stay at his house, provided meals for her everyday and also built a pillow fort for her in his basement. Mike was the first of his friends to trust El, even falling in love with her. Eleven, in turn, was clearly at her most relaxed while alone in the company of Mike. Unlike Dustin and Lucas, Mike understood right away that despite her powers and strange appearance, she was ultimately just another kid. His respect for her deepened when she aided and defended him and his friends in their search for Will.
While in the cafeteria, Mike invited Eleven to be his date to the Snow Ball, an offer which she happily accepted. He then tried to explain that he liked her as more than a friend, and when she didn't understand what he was trying to say, he kissed her in an attempt to demonstrate his love for her. When they were found by the "bad men", as Eleven calls them, Dr. Brenner hugged and comforted her, but in pain, she called out for Mike, instead. When the Demogorgon attacked, Mike and his friends took the chance to carry Eleven to safety. Eleven then disintegrated the Demogorgon, leaving Mike and his friends in safety, but disappearing in the process. Watching her apparent death devastated Mike, and he mourned her loss.
However, he never gave up on her, calling her on his Supercom for 353 days in a row as well as keeping the pillow fort in perfect condition. Unbeknownst to him, she was actually alive and attempting to communicate back. When they finally reunited after nearly a year apart, they shared a long awaited hug -- only to be separated again as they needed to close the gate in the lab. Mike told Eleven that he couldn't "lose her again” and she promised he won't. At this point, Eleven leaned in to kiss Mike but was interrupted when Hopper called her name. Concerned about her, Mike convinced the group to create a distraction in order to clear the lab of the Demodogs. With their help, Eleven managed to close the Gate. Afterwards, on the night of the annual Snow Ball '84, Eleven showed up late to the dance, keeping her promise to Mike. Mike and Eleven then shared their second known kiss - and first of the season - as they danced to the song “Every Breath You Take”.
In 1985, their relationship was blossoming more and more, much to her father's dismay. Hopper even became concerned to the point of threatening Mike into not spending time with Eleven. Fearful, Mike did as he was told and kept his distance from El, lying to her and claiming his nana was sick. With the help of Max, Eleven quickly saw through his lie, and when Mike refused to explain himself, she broke up with him, quoting Max's advice from before: "I dump your ass". Max and Eleven quickly hopped on a bus, leaving Mike heartbroken with Will and Lucas. Eleven was angry at Mike for seemingly wanting to control her and not believing in her, though he later revealed to everyone except Eleven (who wasn't present in the room) that he was only behaving like this because he loved her and he couldn't lose her again. Mike then later revealed that he only avoided Eleven because Hopper had threatened him, and they reconciled in the hospital while waiting for Nancy and Jonathan to return.
Mike saved Eleven's life three times; when her leg was seriously injured, he helped her walk and took care of her. When she was in pain, he was extremely worried about her. When the Mind Flayer's strange growth continued to pulsate from Eleven's left leg, making El scream in severe pain, Mike kept holding onto her, trying to comfort her and help keep her still while Jonathan attempted to get the creature out of her left leg. After the battle, they are seen hugging and then are seen together in the back of an ambulance. Three months later, Eleven was getting ready to move out of Hawkins with Will's family. Although she was still unable to use her powers, Mike was hopeful that they would come back and comforted her by saying, "They'll come back, I know they will.". El then recalled how Mike had expressed his feelings for her at the cabin and kissed him, telling him she loves him too. During their final goodbyes, they shared long, tearful hugs outside of the Byers house. After El left, Mike returned to his home for a tearful hug with his mom.
Mike and Lucas lived next door to each other for most of their childhoods and quickly became best friends. However, this friendship was tested following the disappearance of Will and the arrival of Eleven. Mike was sympathetic towards Eleven and believed she could help find Will while Lucas suspected that she was manipulating them in order to gain food and a bed. Mike and Lucas began to occasionally argue about Will and Eleven due to their differing opinions. This even broke out into a full-fledged fight, though Eleven brought the scuffle to an abrupt end. Mike and Lucas were on bad terms for a time, each refusing to apologize to the other. Dustin suspected that Lucas was jealous that Mike's attention was primarily going towards Eleven. However, after Lucas realized that Eleven had good intentions and saved them from the agents of Hawkins Lab, he apologized and made up with both her and Mike.
In 1984, when playing at the Palace Arcade and trying to figure out the identity of "MADMAX," Lucas tried to urge Mike to give Keith a date with Nancy, which Mike refused. When Mike found out that Lucas, along with Dustin, had invited Max Mayfield (who was "MADMAX") into the Party without informing him, Mike was upset. However, he showed no hostility towards Lucas for it. When Mike worried for Eleven (after she revealed herself to alive) as she went with Hopper to close the Gate, Lucas tried his best to reassure him. When Billy Hargrove attacked Lucas, Mike was greatly concerned for him and once he was rescued by Steve, Mike embraced Lucas. After Max sedates Billy, Mike and Lucas, along with the rest of their friends, work together in burning the tunnels to distract the Demodogs.
In 1985, Mike and Lucas still remained close as both them now had girlfriends. However, after Jim Hopper complicated Mike's relationship with Eleven, Mike sought Lucas's help in fixing his relationship with Eleven. When Mike was dumped by Eleven, he was comforted by Lucas. After discovering the Mind Flayer had returned and possessed Billy, Lucas wanted to burn the Mind Flayer out of Billy, but Mike said that they also needed to stop the Mind Flayer other than Billy. When Mike blurted out his love for Eleven, it caused Lucas to smile at his declaration of love. Both Mike and Lucas continued to work together in battling the Mind Flayer before the Gate was closed once again.
Mike met Dustin in the fourth grade, long after meeting Lucas and Will. Despite their shorter time together, Mike considered Dustin to also be one of his best friends. Dustin was level-headed with Mike, supporting his relationship with Eleven while also being willing to call him out on any questionable behavior. When Dustin was held at knifepoint by Troy Walsh, (who was seeking revenge on them for being publicly humiliated at the school), Mike willingly jumped off Sattler Quarry to save Dustin before Eleven arrived and saved the day.
In 1984, when Mike found that Dustin, along with Lucas, invited Max Mayfield to join the Party without his being informed, Mike became upset but showed no hostility towards Dustin. However, after Dustin introduced Mike to D'Artagnan, Mike was disgusted by D'Artagnan, otherwise known as "Dart." Once he realized that Dart was from the Upside Down, Mike didn't hesitate to attack Dart before he was stopped by Dustin. Later, both Mike and Dustin worked together with their friends in burning the tunnels and Mike looked on as Dustin managed to convince Dart to let them pass. At the Snow Ball a month later, Mike remained on good terms with Dustin and playfully teased him about his hairstyle.
In 1985, Mike welcomed Dustin back from Camp Know Where and was surprised to hear that Dustin had found a new girlfriend named Suzie. However, Mike decided to leave early on their journey to the top of Weathertop (a trip made in order to build Cerebro), so that he could spend romantic time with Eleven. His decision left Dustin confused and upset. As Mike focused on repairing his relationship with Eleven, he did not bother to figure out where Dustin was and what he was doing. However, when the Mind Flayer returned to Hawkins, Mike did try to contact Dustin and became worried when he couldn't. When he finally received a transmission from Dustin, Mike was overjoyed to hear his voice before the transmission was cut short. When Mike came to Dustin's rescue at Starcourt Mall, he hugged him and was reconciled with his friend. After the Mind Flayer's defeat and the Byers' move, Dustin allowed Mike to use Cerebro to contact Eleven.
Mike and Will met each other on their first day of kindergarten and became very close friends. Mike approached Will while he was on a swing set and asked to be his friend, which Will agreed to. He later described this as the best thing that he had ever done. When Will vanished, Mike and his friends quickly decided to search for him. Mike became very upset during the brief period he believed Will was dead, morosely looking back through an old collection of his friend's illustrations. However, after Eleven proved Will was still alive, Mike became more determined than ever to find him. Upon eventually reuniting with Will, Mike was overjoyed to have his best friend home safe and sound.
A year later, when Will was having visions and being overwhelmed by the Mind Flayer, Mike became even more committed to helping him. Trying his best to comfort him, Mike was the only one of his best friends to remain with him at Hawkins Lab when he suffered from memory loss.
Their friendship was still mostly strong in 1985, but Will was upset with how much time Mike was spending with Eleven, and would have preferred more time for D&D campaigns. That said, Will still tried to help Mike when he grew dangerously close to getting dumped by Eleven, and aided him and Lucas in looking for an apology gift in the mall. When their effort failed and Eleven dumped Mike, Mike and Lucas were eager to amend the relationship as soon as possible. Will, however, had a different approach to the situation and likely believed it would've been better to wait, using the extra time for D&D and other friend activities. During a D&D campaign, Mike and Lucas' disinterest greatly disheartened Will to the point where he snapped and cut the campaign short. After they realized what they'd done, both of the boys attempted to apologize, but he brushed them off. Will left the house in a rage, and Mike caught up to him. In a heated argument, Mike told Will that they're grown up and left their days of playing games in the basement behind. However, Mike immediately regretted what he had said as he watched Will leave in tears.
When discovering that the Mind Flayer had returned to Hawkins, Will worked with Mike to stop it. Will eventually managed to reconcile with his friend and smiled when Mike confessed how much he loved Eleven. The two later continued to work together in defeating the Mind Flayer. Three months later, Will said goodbye to Mike before he and his family moved away from Hawkins. He assured him that he would never join another party, resulting in a big smile from Mike. Mike suggested to Eleven that she and Will return to Hawkins for Christmas as he thought that it would be fun to open their presents together on Christmas Day.
Mike and his friends had a great relationship with their school science teacher, Mr. Clarke. He was more than willing to help the boys further their interest in science, even purchasing a ham radio for them.
Mike had a great deal of respect for Bob, given his significant contribution to the funding and raising of Hawkins Middle AV Club, along with his close friendship with Will. After Bob's heroism saved their lives, Mike grew inspired by his efforts and urged the group to find a way to avenge him by defeating the shadow monster, reminding them that they couldn't let the man die in vain.
Mike and his friends first met Max Mayfield when Mr. Clarke introduced her to the class. While Dustin and Lucas grew curious about her since she had beaten Dustin's high score on Dig Dug, Mike wasn't interested with her and was reluctant to let her join the Party. However, his apparent apathy towards her was because he was still reeling from Eleven's disappearance. After Mike eventually reunited with Eleven, he gave up his hostility towards Max and accepted her as one of the Party.
In 1985, Mike has fully accepted Max into the Party and treated her as an equal like the rest of his friends, being on friendly terms with her. However, after Jim Hopper complicated his relationship with Eleven, causing Eleven to hang out with Max, Mike grew irritated and upset as he did not want Eleven to be with Max, believing Max to be influencing Eleven into conspiring against him. This along with Max, blaming Mike for wanting to control Eleven, put a strain on their relationship and became even more strained after Max and Eleven spied on him and Lucas. However, when Mike admits he's worried for Eleven and that he loves her, this causes Mike and Max to reconcile, as they both care for her, as her boyfriend and best friend. When El asks Mike to trust her, he looks at Max, who nods for him to say yes, which he does. Mike later admits to Eleven that he does enjoy her being friends with Max, and that he was just jealous at first of their friendship. Both Mike and Max continued to care for Eleven after she was injured and help each other out during the battle against the Mind Flayer at Starcourt Mall.
Hopper and Mike did not get off to a good start. While questioning the boys about Will's whereabouts, Hopper ordered Mike and his friends to not go searching for Will, but Mike secretly disobeyed him and went in search of Will anyway. When Hopper contacted Mike through Will's super-com and told him he could protect him and his friends from the government agents, Mike decided to trust the Chief and reveal the Party's location.
In 1984, Mike went with Will, Joyce, and Bob to rescue Hopper in the Upside Down tunnels, demonstrating his willingness to come to Hopper's aid. However, when Mike found out that Hopper had been hiding Eleven for nearly a year, he became furious with Hopper, blaming him for hiding her. Although Hopper initially tried to justify his actions, he stopped when he saw how broken Mike was and comforted the sobbing boy, apologizing to him as he realized how wrong he was to have kept Eleven hidden.
By 1985, Hopper and Mike weren't on good terms again, especially when Hopper became irritated with how much time his adopted daughter, Eleven, was spending with Mike. It eventually boiled over when Mike became too arrogant and disrespected the Chief. Having lost his temper, Hopper forced Mike to distance himself from Eleven, which eventually led to their breakup -- an event that brought Hopper much joy. However, despite their differences, Hopper still wanted Mike to be safe and told him to be careful before the final attack at Starcourt Mall. These words of concern hinted that he did care for Mike and was beginning to support his relationship with Eleven.
|Season One appearances|
|The Vanishing of Will Byers||The Weirdo on Maple Street||Holly, Jolly||The Body|
|The Flea and the Acrobat||The Monster||The Bathtub||The Upside Down|
|Season Two appearances|
|MADMAX||Trick or Treat, Freak||The Pollywog|
|Will the Wise||Dig Dug||The Spy|
|The Lost Sister||The Mind Flayer||The Gate|
|Season Three appearances|
|Suzie, Do You Copy?||The Mall Rats||The Case of the Missing Lifeguard||The Sauna Test|
|The Flayed||E Pluribus Unum||The Bite||The Battle of Starcourt|
|Volume 1 appearances|
|Issue 1*||Issue 2*||Issue 3*||Issue 4|
*Can be seen in flashbacks
|Ted Wheeler||Karen Wheeler|
|Nancy Wheeler||Holly Wheeler|
- "What was your test on again? Human anatomy?"
- "It's a trap!"
- "You want her? You have to kill us first!"
- ”I’m just trying to demonstrate how careless Max is with Eleven’s powers, in fact, how careless all of you are. You’re treating her like some kind of machine when she’s not a machine and I don’t want her to die looking for the Flayed when they’ve obviously vanished off of the face of the Earth, so can we please come up with a different plan because I love her and I can’t lose her again!”
- "Something is coming... something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness. It is almost here..."
- "If anyone asks where I am, I've left the country."
- "We're no use to Will if we're dead."
- "I'm our paladin, Will's our cleric, Dustin's our bard, Lucas is our ranger, and El's our mage."
- "You're a stupid, disgusting lying piece of shit!"
- "You're crazy!"
- "First of all, this isn't some stupid sports game. And second of all, we are not even in the game. We're on the bench."
- "Maybe we can call you El, short for Eleven."
- "Friends don't lie."
- "No, El, you're not the monster. You saved me, do you understand? You saved me."
- "I was thinking, maybe we can go to the Snow Ball together."
- "It's day 353. I had a bad day. I don't know, I guess I wish you were here. We all do. If you're out there, just please, give me a sign....Eleven?"
Behind the Scenes
Originally, Mike's character was intended to be more like "a straight man", a typical American boy on the cusp of adolescence who had a fervent desire for escapist adventures. However, after Finn Wolfhard was cast as Mike, the Duffer Brothers sought to readjust Mike by incorporating Wolfhard's charisma and winning optimism into the character.
The Duffers likened how Finn was "less cliché" and more "fidgety" as opposed to how they imagined Mike and adjusted the character, giving him more of a leadership type of role. Ultimately, Mike's character became funnier. In the original plan, Mike also had a birthmark on his cheek, but the Duffers decided to remove it as they thought him being natural was better.
Due to sickness, Wolfhard had to film the entire audition tape for Stranger Things from his bed. The Duffers saw great potential in his performance and invited him for a screen test in mid-2015 with Gaten. Four weeks later, Wolfhard was cast as Mike.
While Wolfhard auditioned for the show around the same time when he auditioned for the 2017 film "It", but as the movie was pushed back, he was able to star in the show.
- When playing Dungeons & Dragons, Mike usually plays as the Dungeon Master. However, his DMPC is a Paladin.
- In the Worlds Turned Upside Down companion book, he is erroneously stated to be a Cleric.
- The clothes he gave Eleven to change into the first night she stayed with him were the same clothes he was wearing the day before.
- The blonde wig that Eleven wore was given a backstory; it originally belonged to Mike's grandmother, who passed away due to cancer.
- In the original pilot script, he had a crush on Jennifer Hayes. Additionally, he had a birthmark on his cheek and was originally intended to be the first character to enter the show's alternate dimension.
- He has a poster of The Dark Crystal on his bedroom wall. Additionally, he has a poster of The Thing on the wall in the basement.
- Mike is the first character to refer to the show's alternate dimension as "the Upside Down".
- His first name is a reference to Michael "Mikey" Walsh from the 1985 film The Goonies, who his character was originally based on.
- Mike possesses toys from the Star Wars film series: a Yoda figure and a model of the Millennium Falcon.
- Mike Wheeler and Jim Hopper are the only characters to appear in all episodes of season 1, season 2, and season 3.
- In early development, Mike was referred to as Elliot.
- At the Hawkins Middle school in the Season 1 finale, Mike asked Eleven if they could go to the Snow Ball dance together. In the Season 2 finale, they got their chance to dance together, at the same place.
- In "E Pluribus Unum", Mike mentions Eleven's mother Terry Ives, before Eleven goes into Billy's mind; hinting that Mike and the rest of the Party now know about Eleven's mother and what happened to her.
- In the comic Stranger Things and Dungeons & Dragons, his birthday is on April, 7th. He was 10 years old in 1981 and thus 12 during the events of Season 1.
- In the Hawkins Middle School Yearbook, he was shown to be voted as the "Friendliest Face". His career goal is also stated to be a Writer. His favorite subject is English. His hobbies are watching movies and being the Dungeon Master for his D&D campaigns. When he's not studying he is listening to the airwaves on his walkie-talkie. The extracurricular activities he did are the AV Club and the Science Fair. He was also one of the editors of the yearbook.
|For this subject's gallery, see Mike Wheeler/Gallery.|
- Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down
- ‘Stranger Things’ Casting Director Carmen Cuba On Finn Wolfhard’s Bizarre First Audition
- "Behind The Scenes Of Stranger Things - Lully Of Truth 293"
- ”Confessions From The Set Of Stranger Things Season 2” Refinery29. December 14, 2016.
- "Interview: The Duffer Brothers & Shawn Levy of "Stranger Things"" Cut Print Film. August 3, 2016.
- "'STRANGER THINGS' Duffer Brothers Have Proof THEY DIDN'T STEAL THE SHOW!!!"TMZ. April 6, 2018