Nancy Wheeler, portrayed by starring cast member Natalia Dyer, is a major character in the first, second, and third seasons of Stranger Things. At first, concerned with simple teenage high school issues, her world is turned upside down when her best friend Barbara Holland vanishes, encouraging her to seek out the truth.
Still grieving for the death of her best friend, Nancy's relationship with Steve Harrington fell apart, eventually causing the two to break up. Later, Nancy and Jonathan decided to take on a journey on themselves to expose Hawkins National Laboratory as a threat. Eventually, she helps Jonathan and his mother in removing Will Byers from the Mind Flayer. A month later, Nancy officially started a romantic relationship with Jonathan.
In the summer of 1985, Nancy and Jonathan were still a couple where the two started working together at the Hawkins Post. However, Nancy was belittled and mocked by her male co-workers for being the only female journalist at the Post. Desperate to prove herself, Nancy stumbled upon a story on "diseased rats" from Doris Driscoll and when looking for evidence, her action would cause her and Jonathan to be fired and nearly damage their relationship. However, when Nancy decided to keep working on the story, she discovered that the rats and Mrs. Driscoll's strange behavior was linked to Will's possession from last year. Nancy, Jonathan, her brother Mike, and his friends would discover the Mind Flayer had returned to Hawkins and possessed various people. As they worked together in investigating, Nancy and Jonathan would manage to reconcile. Once they've discovered the Mind Flayer's plan, Nancy and Jonathan would protect their younger brothers and their friends from the Mind Flayer. And after the Mind Flayer's defeat, three months later, Nancy helped Jonathan and the rest of the Byers family move out of Hawkins, with Nancy and Jonathan promising to stay in touch with each other as they shared a kiss.
- 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 has 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 tremendous amount of guilt and even blamed herself for causing Barb's demise. Nancy barely let out her sadness and guilt to anyone except for Steve and Jonathan. However, after getting intoxicated at a Halloween party, Nancy vented out 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.
Skills and Abilities
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.
Gunmanship: 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 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 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 as her mom was young and her dad had a good job. She also disobeyed and lied to her mother, saying she and her friend Barbara were going to conference to help look for Will Byers, but really was going to a party at Steve Harrington's house. When Barbara was missing and Nancy became concerned, she confessed her worries to her mother. Nancy later confessed to having slept with Steve to her mom after being questioned by the police. When her house was being searched by government agents, Nancy was concerned for her mom and dad.
A year later, Nancy's relationship with her mom seemed to have improved a little bit, but Nancy still lied to her when she told her that she was going to sleepover at a friend's house, but was really planning to expose Hawkins Lab with Jonathan Byers.
In 1985, after getting fired from The Hawkins Post, Nancy was comforted by her mother. Karen agreed with her daughter that the employees at Hawkins were jerks, but it didn't matter by telling Nancy that she is and always will be a fighter. When her mother laments she doesn't know where she got her fighting spirit, Nancy assures her that she got her spirit. Nancy gets encouraged by her mother to finish her story if she still believes in it and Nancy, feeling emotional at her mother's support, gives her 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 especially 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 have an influence on 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, making Nancy devastated.
A year later, Nancy was still shown to carry guilt and remorse for Barb's death while she was 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 have her death be explained as being caused by a chemical exposure, as a way to keep the truth of the Upside Down a secret. With the truth exposed, Hawkins Lab was shut down and Barb was finally given a funeral where Nancy attended with Barb's parents.
Steve and Nancy first began seeing each other shortly before the events of the first season. 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’s “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.
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|
|Volume 1 appearances|
| ||Issue 3|| |
|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 Steves relationship.
- Nancy's name might be inspired by "Nancy Wheeler", a secondary character in the 1970 book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret written by Judy Blume.
- Nancy's old dress was worn by Eleven in the first season.
- Nancy used to dress up for Mike's old D&D campaigns.
- Her character might be inspired by Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare on Elm Street. For example, both girls become determined to destroy a supernatural being that has killed their best friend.
- In Season 3, Nancy's nickname "Nancy Drew," is the name of a girl detective in a series of books of the same name written by Carolyn Keene.
- Throughout the seasons, Nancy wore and did her hair in different styles.
- Nancy will appear as a playable character alongside Steve Harrington in a new chapter for Dead by Daylight, which is set to be released in September 2019.
- In Season 3, Nancy started driving a car, meaning she managed to get a drivers' license and that she was given her own car.
- In the Hawkins Middle School Yearbook/Hawkins High School Yearbook, her Career Goal is Journalist.
- In the original pilot script, she was supposed to say the word 'fuck'.
|For this subject's gallery, see Nancy Wheeler/Gallery.|
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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|The Upside Down|
|Locations||The Upside Down • The Gate • Hawkins • Hawkins National Laboratory • Public Library • Portals • Hawkins Middle School • Hawkins Tunnel System|
|Entities||D'Artagnan • The Demogorgon • Demogorgon (species) • The Flayed • Hospital Monster • The Mind Flayer • Russian Demogorgon • The Spider Monster • Hawkins Tunnel System • Vines|
|The Flayed||Billy Hargrove • Heather Holloway • Bruce Lowe • Tom Holloway • Janet Holloway • Doris Driscoll|
|Visitors||Joyce Byers • Will Byers • Eleven • Steve Harrington • Dustin Henderson • Barbara Holland • Jim Hopper • Max Mayfield • Bob Newby • Shepard • Lucas Sinclair • Mike Wheeler • Nancy Wheeler|
|Miscellaneous||Upside Down Egg • Dungeons & Dragons • The Void • The Keys|
|Articles may contain spoilers.|