Nancy Wheeler, portrayed by Natalia Dyer, is a main character in Stranger Things. She is the older sister of Mike Wheeler, the former girlfriend of Steve Harrington, and the current girlfriend of Jonathan Byers.
In the fall of 1983, Nancy was a simple teenage girl dealing with choosing between her best friend Barbara Holland and her boyfriend Steve Harrington. Everything changes for Nancy when Barbara vanishes without a trace, and she soon teams up with loner Jonathan Byers, who is also searching for his missing younger brother, Will. Though their unlikely friendship causes friction between Steve, he joins the two in defeating a monster from another dimension and rescuing Will. However, Nancy is horrified to discover Barbara had been killed by the monster.
In the fall of 1984, Nancy's struggle to grieve over Barbara in silence eventually causes a rift between Steve, where she eventually reveals in a drunken state that she doesn't love him. Wanting revenge on the people responsible for unleashing the monster that killed Barbara, she once again teams up with Jonathan and a journalist named Murray Bauman to expose Hawkins Lab. In the process, she and Jonathan begin having attraction for one another, and eventual succumb to their feelings. Returning to Hawkins, Nancy joins Jonathan and his mother in getting a demonic creature possessing Will. A month later, Nancy finally receives closure for her best friend and is now Jonathan's girlfriend.
In the summer of 1985, Nancy works at the Hawkins Post with her photographer boyfriend, Jonathan, where she is treated with disrespect by her older male colleagues. Working late one night at the paper, she answers a call about diseased rats in the town and secretly investigates it with Jonathan. This would eventually cause the couple to be fired and a rift between Nancy and Jonathan. But with some encouragement from her mother, Nancy picks the story back up and discovers that the rats and Mrs. Driscoll's strange habits are linked to the Mind Flayer that possessed Will. Reconciling with Jonathan, the two join their brothers and friends in once again defeating the Mind Flayer. Three months later, Jonathan's family moves out of Hawkins and parts ways tearfully with Jonathan.
In the spring of 1986, Nancy is an editor at the Hawkins High newspaper, The Weekly Streak. She's in a long-distance relationship with Jonathan now that he's moved to California, but despite their deep love for each other, neither of them can get away to meet up for spring break.
- Main article: Nancy Wheeler/History
Nancy is hyper-intelligent and studious, having a high GPA and studying vigorously for tests. However, after entering a relationship with Steve she became more rebellious, lying and participating in activities she most likely wouldn't have done otherwise. While her actions were being influenced by her new “friends”, she still remained kind, sympathetic, and studious. Her genius-level of intellect led to finding the truth behind Barb’s disappearance even though she still felt guilty.
She was also shown to have a tremendous amount of bravery, resolve, and conviction, going to great lengths for those she cared for. When she was looking for the missing Barb, she boldly entered a portal to another dimension in an attempt to save her friend. Later, determined to kill the Monster, she willingly used her and Jonathan's blood to lure it out.
In 1984, after the death of her best friend, Nancy still carried a tremendous amount of guilt and even blamed herself for causing Barb's demise. Nancy barely revealed her sadness and guilt to anyone but Steve and Jonathan. However, after getting intoxicated at a Halloween party, Nancy vented her sadness, anger, and guilt out on Steve which caused her to reveal that she no longer loved him. Although Nancy had no memory of her drunken state the following day, she felt guilty for saying those harsh words to Steve and wondered if she actually meant what she said. After keeping the truth behind Barb's death for a year, Nancy decided to avenge her friend by exposing Hawkins Lab where Barb was finally given a funeral, along with Barb's parents finally getting closure.
When Nancy started working at the Hawkins Post, she strove to work hard and do her best. However, surrounded by misogynistic co-workers, Nancy was belittled and mocked despite her treating her co-workers kindly. Because of the ridicule she received from her co-workers, Nancy was determined to receive the approval and recognition from her co-workers by going through such lengths to be treated equally and respectfully. Nancy's determination to gain her co-workers' respect led her to making decisions without thinking thoroughly; this, in turn, resulted in her and Jonathan getting fired and put a strain on their relationship. After a talk with her mother, Nancy overcame the cruelty she endured from the journalists at the Hawkins Post and reconciled with Jonathan.
- Skilled Detective: Like her namesake, Nancy is a skilled detective. Upon seeing Jonathan's photos of Barb, she quickly deduced he was the last person to see her alive and sought his help in finding her.
- Skilled Marksman: Nancy demonstrated proficiency with firearms such as a shotgun and handgun. She landed a few good shots on the Mind Flayer with Hopper's shotgun while protecting the kids from the creature, then later shot at Billy with a stolen Russian handgun, albeit with little success.
Nancy and Mike 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 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 and was in danger, Nancy was genuinely worried about him. After he was found and brought to safety, Nancy rushed over to give him a hug. They then 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, even though they get on each other's nerves.
In 1985, Nancy's relationship with her brother seemed to have improved greatly after all they have been through for the past two years. When Nancy urged Mike to open the door, Mike did so as he could tell in 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 sadness together as they watch the Byers family and Eleven leave Hawkins.
Nancy seemed to have a good but sometimes strained relationship with her mother. Nancy believed her parents never loved each other and only married each other because her mom was young and her dad had a good job. She also disobeyed and lied to her mother, telling Karen that she and Barbara were going to help look for Will Byers, when they were in fact going to a party at Steve Harrington's house. When Barbara was found missing and Nancy grew concerned for her, Nancy confessed her worries to her mother. She later admitted to having slept with Steve after being questioned by the police. Seeing their house being searched by government agents, Nancy became concerned for her mom and dad.
A year later, Nancy's relationship with her mom seemed to have improved a little; but Nancy still lied to her when she told her mom that she was going to sleep over at a friend's house, and was really planning to expose Hawkins Lab with Jonathan Byers.
After getting fired from The Hawkins Post in 1985, Nancy was comforted by her mother. Karen agreed with her daughter that her co-workers were jerks, but assured her that it didn't matter as Nancy was and would always be a fighter. When her mother lamented not knowing where her daughter got her fighting spirit, Nancy in turn assured her that she got her spirit. Touched, Karen encouraged Nancy to finish her story if she still believed in it, and Nancy, feeling emotional at her mother's support, gave her mother a hug.
Nancy and her father did not appear to have a strong relationship. Nancy believed her parents never loved each other as her mom was young and her dad had a good job. However, when her house was being searched by government agents, Nancy was concerned for her mom and dad.
Barbara "Barb" Holland was Nancy's best friend. They did everything together, going clothes shopping when Nancy started dating Steve Harrington. However, when Nancy started dating him, Barb became concerned for Nancy as Steve and his friends started to influence her. When Barb told Nancy she wasn't being herself, Nancy told Barb to go home, inadvertently hurting Barb's feelings. Later, when Nancy realized Barb was missing, she became concerned, teaming up with Jonathan Byers to look for her, while distancing herself from Steve. When Eleven used her powers to look for Barb and Will, she found Barb's corpse and sadly told Nancy that Barb was dead, devastating Nancy.
A year later, Nancy was still shown to carry guilt and deep remorse for Barb while eating dinner with Barb's parents. Eventually, Nancy decided to avenge Barb's death by exposing Hawkins Lab. With Jonathan's help, she delivered a recording of Dr. Owens's confession to Murray Bauman and offered an explanation for Barb's death -- chemical exposure -- as a way to keep the truth of the Upside Down a secret. With part of the truth exposed, Hawkins Lab shut down and Barb was finally given a funeral which Nancy attended with Barb's parents.
Steve and Nancy first began seeing each other shortly sometime around 1984. While Nancy initially believed that Steve wasn’t serious about their relationship, this turned out to not be the case. In truth, Steve really loved Nancy, claiming she was “not like other girls”. After having sex at the party held at Steve’s house, they officially entered a relationship. However, when Nancy became distant due to the disappearance of her friend Barb, Steve grew worried. When he visited her house to check on her, he witnessed Nancy and Jonathan together in her room, making him believe she was cheating. When Nancy confronted him, Steve gave her a chance to explain herself, though, due to the extraordinary nature of the events, she was unable to. After realizing his mistakes, he went to the Byers’ house in order to apologize. There, he unexpectedly helped Nancy and Jonathan fight the Demogorgon. A month after these events, Steve and Nancy had gotten back together.
The two had dated for nearly a year when their relationship was once again put in jeopardy; no longer being able to bear the guilt of Barb’s death, Nancy told Steve they should tell the Hollands the truth. Steve rejected this idea, reminding her that doing so would put them and their families in danger. At a Halloween party, Nancy became intoxicated, leading her to reveal that she did not have feelings for him, which emotionally crushes Steve. When Nancy confronts Steve the following day, she has no memory of her drunken state and tries to reassure Steve what she said wasn't true. Steve tries to get Nancy to prove by telling him she truly loves him, but Nancy couldn't find the words to say it, leading the two to break up. When Nancy recounts her drunken state with Jonathan, she feels guilty for hurting Steve's feelings and wonders if she really meant what she said to him. When Nancy meets with Steve again, she thanks him for watching over the kids and Steve tells her that she should be with Jonathan, having come to accept her love towards Jonathan. Nancy tried to apologize to Steve for hurting his feelings, but Steve just calmly brushed it off.
A year later after their breakup, Steve reveals to Robin that he no longer has feelings for Nancy as they consider each other as friends.
Nancy and Jonathan spoke to each other when Will went missing, with Nancy reassuring him that Will's going to be fine. When she finds out that Jonathan took pictures of Nancy and her friends at Steve's party, she did not show resentment towards him and later asks for his help when her friend, Barb goes missing which he accepted. They form a bond over their mutual goal of finding their brother and friend respectively and become close. After discovering Barbara had been killed, Nancy was comforted by Jonathan and the two worked together in trying to kill the Demogorgon. A month later, after Will's rescue, Nancy gave Jonathan a Christmas present and reassured him it didn't matter that he got her anything for Christmas before she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
In 1984, Nancy continues to have a bond with Jonathan as she invited him to Tina's Halloween Party. After Nancy got drunk and hurt Steve's feelings, Jonathan took Nancy home and Nancy, in a drunken state, reached out to Jonathan before passing out. When Nancy found out Jonathan took her home after the party, Nancy spoke to Jonathan about this. When Nancy decided to expose Hawkins Lab, she was helped by Jonathan in presenting the evidence to investigator Murray Bauman and the two give into the sexual tension after being pressured by Murray and ultimately kiss (and are hinted at doing more). They later work together in burning the Mind Flayer out of Will. While at the Snow Ball a month later, Nancy and Jonathan have started a relationship.
In 1985, Nancy and Jonathan are shown to have become an official couple, sleeping together at Jonathan's house one day. The two also work together at the Hawkins Post. Whenever Nancy was abused and humiliated by the male employees, she was always comforted by Jonathan. When Nancy picked up a story from Doris Driscoll, she grabbed Jonathan along to investigate and present the story to the Post. However, after the story was rejected which left Nancy cruelly insulted, she ignored Jonathan's attempts to comfort her. Nancy eventually decided to get more evidence of the story and convinced a reluctant Jonathan to come with her where they discovered Mrs. Driscoll consuming fertilizer. This lead to them getting fired from the Post and straining their relationship, with Jonathan angry over losing his means to support his family and Nancy accusing Jonathan of being like her abusers. Nevertheless, Nancy later revealed to her mom that she felt guilty for causing Jonathan to lose his job as she wasn't thinking about him, but only herself. When Nancy discovered that the Mind Flayer returned due to possessing Mrs. Driscoll, Nancy immediately called Jonathan, informed him of the predicament, and rushed to work with the kids on stopping the Mind Flayer. Later, while going to get Mrs. Driscoll at the Hawkins Memorial Hospital so she can lead them to the Mind Flayer's hideout, Nancy reconciled with Jonathan. When they were attacked by a Flayed Tom and Bruce, Nancy and Jonathan did their best to protect each other. After Nancy was saved from the hospital monster, Nancy was checked upon by a relieved Jonathan. Once the Mind Flayer's plot was unraveled, Nancy and Jonathan worked together in protecting the children from the Mind Flayer's avatar until its defeat. Three months later, Nancy sadly said goodbye to Jonathan, sharing a kiss and embrace with him before he left Hawkins with his family.
In the companion novel "Rebel Robin" (set in 1983 during Will and Barb's disappearances), Nancy and Robin interact briefly at the movie theater. Robin sees Nancy and Steve on a date in the theater, but is only able to make out Steve due to the darkness. She sees Nancy rush out of the theater in tears and follows, thinking that she might be Tammy Thompson. Instead, she finds Nancy in the bathroom, weeping. Despite not knowing her well, Robin feels the need to defend her, stating: "And even though I barely know her, I have to do something. Is this my job now? To defend the girls in this town from undeserving boys? Nobody else seems to be doing it." Thinking that Steve did something to cause her to cry, Robin offers to kick Steve out of the theater. Nancy explains that it is not Steve's fault and that she is actually upset about Barb's disappearance.
In the podcast "Rebel Robin: Surviving Hawkins", Robin describes her once close relationship to Barbara Holland and states that she was eventually replaced by Nancy as Barb's best friend. In episode 2, while Robin is talking to Mr. Hauser, Nancy knocks on the door and enters the room. At first, Robin seems annoyed by this, muttering "Of course." under her breath. However, Nancy thanks her as she excuses herself, calling her by her name. Robin seems pleasantly surprised by the fact that Nancy knows her name. After listening to part of Nancy and Mr. Hauser's conversation through the door, Robin runs into Steve Harrington, who asks if she's seen Nancy. Robin reluctantly tells him that she's talking to Mr. Hauser. When he asks her why, she responds with "Is that any of your business, obnoxious junior?"
In July of 1985, Robin and Steve discuss if they've ever been in love, Robin scoffs when Steve mentions Nancy's name, labeling her a "priss". After Steve admits that he likes Robin, she states that she is not like Nancy Wheeler. Later on, when the group is rescued by El and the gang from the Russians, the two groups unite. As Robin attempts to process what is happening, Nancy questions who she is, and Robin introduces herself. When the Mind Flayer invades the Starcourt Mall, Nancy tells Steve and Robin to get into the station wagon after totaling the Todd-Father. The two assist the gang in defeating the Mind Flayer using Lucas' fireworks.
In the spring of 1986, Robin and Nancy reunite when investigating the abandoned Creel House in town.
Nancy only has occasional interactions with Dustin. The first exchange we see them having is when Dustin offers Nancy a slice of pizza while she is on the phone, only for her to slam the door in his face. Dustin claims that Nancy "used to be cool."
On December 15, 1984, at the Snow Ball, after seeing Dustin being rejected and ridiculed by girls, Nancy takes pity on him and brings him to dance with her, attracting the attention of the girls who rejected him. Nancy tells Dustin that he is her favorite out of all of her brother's friends. She also tells him that girls at his age are 'dumb', but he'll "drive them nuts" in a few years. They share a touching moment together, having a friendly slow dance.
In 1984, a year after Barbara's death, Nancy decided to meet Murray Bauman, who was hired by Barbara's parents to investigate her disappearance, and confess that Hawkins Lab was responsible for the death of her friends. Although Murray believed Nancy everything about the lab and the Upside Down, he told her that her evidence could easily be destroyed or brushed off by the public. So, they worked together in making the evidence sound like that Barbara was killed by a chemical spill caused by the lab. Afterwards, Murray was able to notice Nancy's feelings for Jonathan and encouraged her to embrace them. Nancy thanked Murray for his help and he returned the gesture, telling her not to seek him out again.
However, in 1985, Nancy was shown to still be on good terms with Murray, as he gave her and Jonathan the keys to his house so they and the kids can be safe from the Mind Flayer.
In 1985, Nancy started working for Tom Holloway at the Hawkins Post. However, Tom treated her with disdain as she was a female, wanting to be a journalist, despite her being the same age as his daughter Heather. Nancy treated Tom with respect and tried to earn his approval despite his and the rest of the male employees' constant abuse. When Nancy picked up Mrs. Driscoll's rat story and presented it to Tom, he dismissed it and ordered Nancy to not pursue it. However, Nancy, still wanting to be treated with respect by her co-workers, disobeyed Tom's orders and went to look for evidence, only to find Mrs. Driscoll eat fertilizer after she became possessed by the Mind Flayer. When confronted by Tom in his office, Nancy tried to settle an argument, only for Tom to fire both her and Jonathan. When Nancy learned of Heather's predicament at the hands of Billy Hargrove, Nancy drove Jonathan and the kids to the Holloway house to check on both Tom and Heather and investigate. When confronted by a possessed Tom at the hospital, Nancy tried to reason with Tom, only to fail as Tom wanted to kill her and Jonathan. After Tom's corpse melted and merged with Bruce's, forming a monster, it nearly killed Nancy until Eleven saved her.
Nancy and Bruce Lowe became co-workers after Nancy started working for the Hawkins Post in 1985. However, Bruce made fun of Nancy because of her gender and wanting to be a journalist; thus was her main tormentor at the Post with Bruce mocking and calling Nancy, "Nancy Drew." After Nancy discovered a mystery of "diseased rats," Bruce pranked Nancy with a toy rat, pushing Nancy over the edge to get some evidence so she can be treated with respect. However, after finding Mrs. Driscoll eating fertilizer, Bruce mocked Nancy before she was fired by Tom Holloway. At the Hawkins Memorial Hospital, Nancy and Jonathan were confronted by both a possessed Tom and Bruce who attempted to kill both Nancy and Jonathan. Bruce showed a strong desire to kill Nancy as he pursued and confronted her at the hospital. However, Nancy was able to outsmart Bruce by attacking him with a fire extinguisher. She tells Bruce to "go to hell," revealing her hatred for him, before killing him. After Bruce's corpse melted and merged with Tom's, forming a monster, it nearly killed Nancy until Eleven saved her.
|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 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|
|Season Four appearances|
|The Hellfire Club||Vecna's Curse||The Monster and the Superhero|
|Dear Billy||The Nina Project||The Dive|
|The Massacre at Hawkins Lab|
|Volume 1 appearances|
|Video Game Appearances|
|Stranger Things: The Game|
|Stranger Things 3: The Game|
|Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales|
|Ted Wheeler||Karen Wheeler|
|Mike Wheeler||Holly Wheeler|
- "It's not like that..."/"It wasn't like that..."
- "My mom was young. My dad was older, but he had a cushy job, money, came from a good family. So they bought a nice house at the end of the cul-de-sac and started their nuclear family." — On her parents' marriage.
- "I wanna finish what we started. I want to kill it."
- "Girls this age are dumb."
- "You're pretending like everything's okay, you know, like, like we didn't kill Barb. Like it's great, like we're in love and we're partying, yeah let's party, party, we're partying. This, this bullshit." - On her and Steve's relationship
|For this subject's gallery, see Nancy Wheeler/Gallery.|
- Her character and namesake appears to be derived from Nancy Thompson, the main character in the 1984 film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and its third installment, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). Like Nancy Wheeler, Nancy Thompson is a stereotypical popular girl whose life is changed when her best friend is murdered by a supernatural monster, and is forced to join her fellow teenagers in defeating the demon.
- The original Montauk script had Nancy dealing with a traumatic experience, where she was sexually assaulted by Steve. This was changed due to Joe Keery's charming personality contradicting Steve's original evil nature.
- In the original pilot script for The Vanishing of Will Byers, Nancy was the first character to use the word "Fuck" during the Wheeler dinner argument. This was changed, and the use of "Fuck" was instead given to Will Byers.
- Prior to about 1979, Nancy used to cosplay for Mike's old D&D campaigns.
- The pink dress Eleven wears throughout the first season originally belonged to Nancy.
- In the Hawkins Middle School Yearbook/Hawkins High School Yearbook, her Career Goal is Journalist.
- By the third season, Nancy has obtained her driver's license, with Karen buying a new car for her.
- Nancy's nickname throughout the third season, "Nancy Drew," is the name of a girl detective in a series of books of the same name written by Carolyn Keene.
- Throughout the series, Nancy's hair is shown to get more and more frizzier and "80's-like", particularly in the third and fourth seasons.
- Nancy appears as a playable character alongside Steve Harrington in a chapter for Dead by Daylight, which was released in September 2019.
- In 1986, Nancy has a poster of Tom Cruise in her bedroom, which she claims to be old.
|Locations||The Upside Down • Creel House • Curse gates • Gates • Hawkins • Hawkins National Laboratory • Lover's Lake • Public Library • Hawkins Middle School • Hawkins Tunnel System • Mothergate • Trailer Park|
|Entities||D'Artagnan • Demobat (species) • The Demogorgon • Demogorgon (species) • The Flayed • Hospital Monster • The Mind Flayer • Russian Demogorgon • The Spider Monster • Hawkins Tunnel System • Vecna • Vines|
|The Flayed||Billy Hargrove • Heather Holloway • Bruce Lowe • Tom Holloway • Janet Holloway • Doris Driscoll|
|Visitors||Robin Buckley • Joyce Byers • Will Byers • Eleven • Steve Harrington • Dustin Henderson • Barbara Holland • Jim Hopper • Max Mayfield • Eddie Munson • Bob Newby • Shepard • Lucas Sinclair • Mike Wheeler • Nancy Wheeler|
|Miscellaneous||Upside Down Egg • Dungeons & Dragons • The Void • The Keys • Vecna's curse • Vecna's Mind Lair|
|Articles may contain spoilers.|