Stranger Things season 4 then vs now: See how the cast has grown up

Finn Wolfhard, Galen Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin in Stranger Things season 1 and season 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

The kids are all right — and all grown up! The younger members of the Stranger Things cast have matured quite a bit since the Netflix series first premiered in July 2016. Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) was just 11 when she filmed season 1 and now she's 18! 

Over the course of six years, the Stranger Things kids have gotten taller and their voices have changed. The most stark differences then and now are seen in the younger set, including Brown, Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Galen Matarazzo (Dustin), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) and Will (Noah Schnapp). The older teens' transformations are a little less remarkable, but still apparent. 

With Stranger Things 4 arriving soon, here's a look back at the Stranger Things cast then and now to see just how much they've changed. 

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)

Eleven begins Stranger Things as a nameless girl with a shaved head wearing a hospital gown. She's called "Eleven" because of a "011" tattoo on her arm. After escaping from some nefarious agents, she runs into Mike, Dustin and Lucas, who take her under their wing. Later, Eleven is quasi-adopted by Chief Hopper (David Harbour) and learns more about her past. In season 3, she's living a normal life as Jane, but cannot entirely escape the Upside Down. Get a more in-depth recap in our Stranger Things season 4 cast and character guide.

Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard)

Mike is a middle child, between older sister Nancy and younger sister Holly. After finding Eleven in the woods, he takes her to his house. They develop a friendship, which blossoms into young romance. However, they are separated at the end of season 3 when she moves with the Byers family out of Hawkins.

Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo)

The wisecracking friend in the group, Dustin has an outsized personality and confidence to spare. In season 1, he joins in the effort to locate Will and help Eleven. In the second season, he takes in a little slug-like creature from the Upside Down that he calls Dart, which he later regrets. His bromance with Steve is a highlight of the entire series.

Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin)

Lucas is the steadiest of the group, though he gets easily irked by younger sister Erica. He is initially wary of Eleven because of her powers, but soon joins her side. In season 2 and 3, he gets involved with Max, the new girl in town.

Will Byers (Noah Schnapp)

A missing Will is the centerpiece of Stranger Things season 1. His mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) is frantic with worry. His friend discover Will's whereabouts when Eleven reveals she had seen him in the Upside Down. Later, Will continues to have a connection to the mysterious realm. 

Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer)

Nancy is Mike's older sister and, at the beginning of the show, Steve's girlfriend. When her friend Barb disappears, she begins a search that connects her to Will's brother, Jonathan. Their investigation leads right to a Demogorgon, the Upside Down and Eleven.

Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton)

A loner, Jonathan keeps to himself but enjoys photography. He develops a bond with Nancy as they search for his brother and Barb. Later, they work together as interns for the local newspaper and start a romantic relationship.

Steve Harrington (Joe Keery)

Nobody on Stranger Things has hair like Steve. The golden boy may rule high school, but he soon realizes that means nothing when facing the monsters of the Upside Down. He's first romantically linked to Nancy and later tries to hook up with (lesbian) ice cream parlor co-worker Robin. But his best bond is with Dustin, and the two could easily star in their own buddy cop comedy.

Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink)

Max moves to Hawkins in season 2 with older brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery). She's immediately pursued by both Dustin and Lucas, and she ends up choosing the latter. Max and Eleven become close friends, going to the mall and giving the boys side-eye. She is devastated when Billy sacrifices himself to save the group in season 3's final showdown with the Mind Flayer.

Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson)

Erica loves nothing more than to needle her older brother Lucas and his friends. She becomes a bigger part of the Upside Down goings-on when she, Dustin, Steve and Robin discover a Russian lab beneath Starcourt mall.

Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke)

Robin is introduced in season 3 as an ice cream parlor employee who works alongside Steve. She is delightfully snarky and also happens to be a lesbian, much to Steve's chagrin. Robin will be back in season 4 as a key member of the Hawkins group.

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.