|“||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 had promised her the previous year.
- Main article: Mike Wheeler/History
Personality and Traits
Mike is shown to be an optimist, 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 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 to kill them, 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 away, 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.
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 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. After being unable to accept Eleven's presumed disappearance, Mike started behaving peculiarly which caused Karen, unbeknownst to it, to compel him to pack a major portion of his toys, frustrating Mike even more.
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 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 develop trust for 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 the search for Will.
While in the cafeteria, Mike invites Eleven to be his date to the Snow Ball, an offer which she happily accepted. He then explains to Eleven that he liked her more than friends and kisses her to explain his love for her. Eleven then sacrifices herself to the Demogorgon leaving Mike and his friends in safety. Watching her apparent death devastates Mike as he mourns her loss. However, he never gave up hope for her, calling for her on his Supercom for 353 days in a row as well as keeping the pillow fort in perfect condition in regards to her memory, unaware that she was actually alive and was attempting to communicate back. When they finally reunited after nearly a year, they shared a long awaited hug just to be separated again. Mike tells Eleven that he “can’t lose her” and she promises he will not. Eleven leans in to kiss Mike but is interrupted by Hopper calling her name. Concerned about her, Mike convinces the group and goes with them to burn the tunnels to distract the Demodogs from Eleven. With their help, Eleven manages to close the Gate. Afterwards, on the night of the annual Snow Ball' 84, Eleven shows up at the Snow Ball, keeping her promise to Mike. Mike and Eleven then shared their second known kiss as they danced to the song “Every Breath You Take”.
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.
Mike met Dustin in the fourth grade, long after meeting Lucas and Will. Despite this, Mike very much considered Dustin to be his best friend too. Dustin was level-headed with Mike, being supportive of him and Eleven while also willing to call him out on any questionable behavior.
Mike and Will met each other on their first day of kindergarten. Mike approached Will while he was on a swing set and asked to be his friend, which Will agreed to. 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 being eventually reunited with Will, Mike was overjoyed to have his best friend home safe. A year later, when Will was having visions and was overwhelmed by the Mind Flayer, Mike became even more committed to helping him, trying his best to comfort him and was the only one among his best friends to remain with him at his side at Hawkins Lab when he suffered from memory loss.
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 from the grounds up, 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 that they couldn't let him 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 of her since she had beaten Dustin's high score on Dig Dug, Mike wasn't interested on her and was much reluctant to let her join the Party. However, his seeming 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 in the Party.
|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!"
Mike to Dustin, Lucas & Will:
- "Something is coming... something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness. It is almost here..."
Mike to his mother:
- "If anyone asks where I am, I've left the country."
Mike to Lucas:
- "We're no use to Will if we're dead."
Mike to Max:
- "I'm our paladin, Will's our cleric, Dustin's our bard, Lucas is our ranger, and El is our mage."
Mike to Hopper:
- "You're just a stupid lying piece of shit!"
Mike to Steve:
- "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."
Mike to Eleven:
- "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?"
Mike & Eleven:
During Mike and Eleven's reunion-
- Mike: "I never gave up on you. I called you every night. Every night! for-"
- Eleven: "Three hundred and fifty three days.....I heard."
Mike & Will:
Following a discussion about Will's vision-
- Mike: "Well, if we're both going crazy, then we'll go crazy together, right?"
- Will: "Yeah, Crazy Together."
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.
- 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.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 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