When Mike's 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. 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 assisted Will with a new supernatural issue and eventually reunited with Eleven. He, along with his friends (including newcomer Max), then worked on burning the external core of another inter-dimensional threat, using it as a distraction for Eleven to close the Gate for good.
Mike is a member of the Wheeler family, living in Hawkins, Indiana with his mother Karen, his father Ted, and his two sisters Nancy and Holly. Nancy suspected their parents never truly loved one another and that they married solely to have a "perfect nuclear family."
While in kindergarten, Mike met and befriended Will Byers. Later, they became friends with Lucas Sinclair. In the fourth grade, Dustin Henderson arrived at their school and joined their friend group. The four boys would often gather at Mike's house to play Dungeons & Dragons; this hobby was developed as early as 1979. They had a great relationship with their science teacher Mr. Clarke, and they were members of the AV Club he ran. They would take part in the annual science fair, winning almost every year.
On the evening of November 6th, 1983, Lucas, Dustin, Mike, and Will played Dungeons & Dragons in Mike's basement. Mike, acting as Dungeon Master, summoned a Demogorgon, which ultimately defeated Will's character, although Will did not reveal this to Mike until afterward. While they looked for a missing die, Karen insisted it was time for his friends to leave; shortly after this, Dustin, Lucas, and Will cycled home.The next day, Will did not show up to school, which perplexed Mike, Lucas, and Dustin. As they played with Mr Clarke's newly delivered Heathkit, they were summoned by Principal Coleman to talk with Chief Hopper who confirmed to the boys that Will was missing. He asked the boys about Will's way home the previous night, and they told him Will had took the road where Cornwallis and Kerley met. The boys casually referred to this road and the surrounding forestry as Mirkwood.
The boys investigated their friend's disappearance that evening, searching through Mirkwood; This is where they accidentally encountered an escaped Eleven. After some argument among themselves, the boys allowed her to stay in Mike's basement, making a pillow fort for her to sleep in.
Mike skipped school the next day to accommodate El. She recognized Will from a photograph and suggested to Mike that bad people were looking for her. After school, Dustin and Lucas came to Mike's house; They discussed Eleven and what could have happened to Will. Lucas said that they should tell Karen about Eleven, but El used her telekinesis to prevent him from opening the door to leave. Later that evening, El attempted to explain Will's situation; she flipped their Dungeons & Dragons board upside down and then placed Will's player piece on top followed by the Demogorgon piece. This gave Mike, Lucas, and Dustin a vital clue as they continued to theorize about what happened to Will.Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and El commenced "Operation Mirkwood" where El led them through the woods to find evidence relating to Will. They eventually arrived outside the Byers house, where El said Will was hiding. This statement confused the three boys because, logically, Will could not be there. After seeing police cars race by, they followed in pursuit on their bikes. They saw what appeared to be Will's corpse being dragged out of the local quarry; this lead the boys to feel distraught and angry with Eleven, who they believed was lying.Back at his house, Mike grieved the loss of his friend. El tampered with his radio to project the sound of Will quietly singing, showing Mike that he was still alive. The next day, Mike showed this to Dustin and Lucas, who wondered if Will had become a ghost. After further discussion the boys decided to bring El to their school so she could use the Heathkit to communicate with Will, which was much more powerful than the boy's portable radios.
After dressing Eleven in a pink dress and blonde wig to help her blend in, the boys brought her to Hawkins Middle School. Mr. Clarke told the group that they had to attend an assembly for Will's death before they could use the radio. During the assembly, the bully Troy made crude jokes about Will, which angered Mike and lead him to confront him after the assembly. Troy attempted to hit Mike, but Eleven froze him in place and made him urinate on himself using biokinesis, much to the amusement of the boys and their classmates. They continued to the Heathkit. With El tapping into the device, they overheard Will talking to his mother through a temporary portal to the Upside Down; however, the radio overheated and caught on fire before anything else could be heard. After returning to Mike's basement, the boys theorized that Will was stuck in the Vale of Shadows, a "dark echo" dimension of death and decay, which El labeled the Upside Down.
At Will's funeral, the boys discussed the possibility of alternate dimensions with Mr. Clarke. He described scientific ideas and concepts, utilizing the metaphor of the flea and the acrobat. He mentioned that a gate between dimensions would have adverse affects on the electromagnetic field in their dimension. Later that day, Dustin experimented with a compass, noticing that the needle did not point towards true north, and the boys guessed that there must be a gate nearby influencing the electromagnetic field, like Mr. Clarke had said.
The group followed their compasses believing if they went "North" they would be lead to the Gate. However, Eleven was manipulating the compasses for the boys' safety because she considered it too dangerous to enter the Upside Down. When the boys realized that El had been doing this, they argued about her; Mike was more sympathetic and trusted her, while Lucas was critical of her manipulation. The two boys ended up fighting; Eleven used her powers to push Lucas off Mike and into the air, injuring him. This angered Mike and left El upset; she vanished from the scene. A rift grew between Lucas and the two other boys as they continued to argue about Eleven. Mike and Dustin went in search of El, while Lucas attempted to once again find the Gate.
While Mike and Dustin searched for El, they were ambushed by a revenge-seeking Troy and his friend James, who both brandished knives. They were chased to the cliffside overlooking the quarry. Troy threatened Mike by telling him he would cut out Dustin's teeth unless Mike jumped from the cliff. Mike decided to jump, but as he did, Eleven returned and intervened. Using her telekinesis, she levitated Mike back to the cliffside before injuring the bullies who then fled in terror. El, Dustin, and Mike reconciled before returning to Mike's house.
The three had to leave Mike's house quickly when Lucas informed them over radio that the 'bad men' where coming. They reunited with Lucas as they cycled away, evading Dr. Martin Brenner and the agents of the Hawkins National Laboratory. The group hid from agents in an abandoned bus in a deserted field. Chief Hopper found them, taking them to the Byers household to meet with Joyce, Jonathan Byers, and Nancy. Together they broke into the middle school and created a makeshift sensory deprivation tank for El to use to enhance her psychic abilities. They learned that Will was alive but barely surviving in the Upside Down.
While Hopper and Joyce infiltrated the laboratory and Nancy and Jonathan set a trap for the Demogorgon, the four remained at the school. Mike talked to El about their future life together. He invited El to be his date to the Snow Ball school dance. When he explained the Snow Ball, El didn't understand that people go with "someone that you like". In order to help her understand, Mike kissed her, revealing his feelings for her, and El accepted his invitation.
As part of an agreement with Dr. Brenner to gain passage through the Gate, Hopper revealed El and the boys' location to laboratory officials. Agents broke into the school, capturing El and the boys. Eleven killed most of the agents using biokinesis to crush their brains; however, this drained her of energy and strength and caused her to collapse. Without her protection, they were recaptured, but the Demogorgon, attracted by pools of blood spilling from dead bodies, burst through the school wall via a temporary portal. The surviving agents were understandably distracted and were forced to release El and the boys. The four ran in a panic to Mr Clarke's classroom. The Demogorgon broke in and attempted to killthem. El intervened using telekinesis to pin the Demogorgon against a wall while also immobilizing Mike to prevent his intervention. El looked back at her friends and told Mike goodbye before turning to face the Demogorgon. She used the last of her remaining power to disintegrate the Demogorgon, disappearing to the Upside Down in the process. Mike was left in tears as the boys frantically looked for her in the classroom.
When Eleven awoke, she stumbled along the hallways of the Middle School to find Mike. Eventually, she found a portal to the real world. Once she was back in the real world, Eleven found her way to the Wheeler residence. She saw Mike talking with police through a window, catching his attention and making the officers suspect she was nearby. Eleven was forced to remain and hide in the woods.
Mike, Dustin, and Lucas were the first visitors aside from Jonathan and Joyce to see Will in the hospital. They caught up with Will, telling him about the events which transpired in his absence.
One month later on Christmas Eve, the four boys once again played Dungeons & Dragons. Mike summoned the Thessalhydra, but this time his friends' characters triumphed over the enemy. As Will was picked up by his brother Jonathan and Lucas and Dustin play-fought, Mike looked back longingly at Eleven's old pillow fort, which he had kept in perfect condition in her memory.
On the evening of October 29, 1984, Mike was sitting in Eleven's blanket fort when Dustin contacted him asking how much money he had for the arcade. After stealing money from Nancy's piggy bank, he, along with Lucas and Dustin, went to the Palace, with Will joining them soon after. When Dustin lost a game of Dragon's Lair, Lucas gloated about still having the top score. Dustin countered that he still had the top score in Centipede and Dig Dug, but Keith, an arcade employee, informed him that was no longer the case. Checking the scores, the boys discovered that an unknown person using the alias “MADMAX” had beaten Dustin's scores on both. Keith stated he would tell them the identity of MADMAX in exchange for a date with Nancy, though Mike refused these conditions. As they were arguing, Will began having an episode, being in an abandoned version of the arcade in the Upside Down. Mike noticed, and was able to snap Will out of it by calling his name. He then led Will back inside.
In Mr. Clarke's class the next morning, the boys witnessed a new student, named Max, arrive. Because of her name's similarity to the alias used at the arcade, they suspected she was MADMAX. As they were spying on her, they noticed her drop something in a trashcan. After retrieving the note, they discovered it had “Quit spying on me creeps” written on it, indicating she knew they were watching her. That night, Mike tried contacting Eleven for the 352nd day in a row. As he was about to give up, he heard what he believed to be Eleven, however, the voice faded as Dustin began talking. He told Mike that their assumption of Max being MADMAX was correct, but he disregarded the information.
The next day, the boys went to school dressed in their Ghostbusters costumes, only to discover that no one else had dressed up for Halloween. That night, as the boys were trick-or-treating, Max jumped out and scared them with her Michael Myers costume. She then joined them in their trick-or-treating. Mike wasn't happy about this, and reluctantly walked ahead, leaving Will behind as he began having another episode. Mike eventually found him, again snapping him out of the episode and taking him back to his house. Back in the Wheelers' basement, Will told Mike about his vision, detailing how he saw a huge shadow-like creature in the sky. Later, Mike tried contacting Eleven again. Eleven, who was simultaneously visiting him in her mental void, was about to make contact. Before she could do so, Mike left.
Dustin brought a strange creature, which he had named D'Artagnan, to school the following day, showing it to Mike, Lucas, Will, and Max. He explained he had found it in his trashcan and that he believed the creature to be some sort of pollywog. When Dustin concluded that he had discovered a new species, Lucas suggested that he show the creature to Mr. Clarke. However, after noticing it resembled a slug he had thrown up the year before, Will realized Dart originated from the Upside Down. Before Dustin could show Mr. Clarke, Mike took Dart and urged everyone to meet again in the AV club room, excluding Max. When Dart started to emit a screeching sound, the boys opened the proton pack to witness it grow a pair of hind legs. Mike then tried to attack Dart, which caused it to flee and run loose throughout the school.
As Mike was looking for the creature, he encountered Max in the boys' locker room. She followed him to the gym, where she tried to convince him to let her join the party as their “zoomer” by performing some skateboard tricks. While this was happening, Eleven, who was at the school in order to see Mike, witnessed them together. Jealous, she used her powers to pull Max's skateboard out from under her, causing her to fall. As Mike helped her up, Max explained that it felt like a magnet had pulled her board. Suspecting Eleven to be the cause, he quickly ran through the gym's doors, however, Eleven was gone.
Will eventually found Dart in a bathroom; it screeched, causing Will to run away. Soon after, Dustin arrived to retrieve Dart. When the others arrived, Dustin hid Dart under his hat and lied saying he had not seen it or Will. Mike found Will out in the field as he was having another episode. However, this time he did not snap out of the vision, even as Joyce tried to pull him out of it. While everyone watched on helplessly, Will was being overwhelmed by the shadow monster. After the creature had finished its attack, Will finally woke up.
The following morning, Lucas, Mike, and Max – who had no knowledge of the creature's location-- searched for Dart in a dumpster behind the school. Later, Mike tried calling the Byers' residence in order to check up on Will, but received no response. He then told everyone, sans Max, to meet in the AV room. There, he explained to Dustin and Lucas that, on Halloween night, Will had a vision of a shadow-like creature. He then decided that he would go to Will's house to acquire more knowledge while Dustin and Lucas would look for Dart, since catching him could provide a vital clue on what was going on with Will.
After school, Mike went to the Byers' house where Joyce initially didn't allow him inside. When Mike mentioned the shadow monster, however, she let him in. Will explained his connection with the shadow monster, saying he can see what the monster sees. Mike tried to make the best of the situation, saying that it was a good thing because Will's connection to the shadow monster could lead to them figuring out how to stop him.
Mike was awoken the next morning by Will, who had witnessed Hopper trapped beneath Hawkins through his connection with the shadow monster. While they were able to figure out where Hopper was in Will's drawings, they did not know the actual location. Just then, Bob arrived, and because of his talent in solving puzzles, Joyce enlisted his help. Bob realized that the drawings were a map of Hawkins, and was able to pinpoint Hopper's location. Arriving at the location, Joyce and Bob descended into the tunnels while Mike and Will waited above ground. Eventually, Hopper was found entangled in a mass of vines. After freeing him, soldiers from the lab arrived and urged them to leave shortly before burning the tunnels. Suddenly, Will collapsed and began convulsing on the ground.
Mike went along with Joyce, Bob, and Hopper to Hawkins Lab, where Will was quickly treated. When Will awoke, he could not remember Owens, Bob, or Hopper, and was barely able to remember Mike. In a test involving a severed vine from the Upside Down, Owens asked if Will could feel anything as another scientist used a blowtorch to burn the vine. Through this, they determined that Will had some sort of “virus” that connected him to all other infected hosts in a hive intelligence. Back in the infirmary, Will informed Mike of a way they could possibly stop the shadow monster. Using images that the lab personnel had taken of the map, Will directed the scientists to an area, stating “he doesn't want me to see there.”
As soldiers traversed the tunnels, Will revealed that the shadow monster made him deceive the soldiers. Realizing it was a trap, Mike tried to warn the scientists, but it was too late; the soldiers were ambushed and killed by a pack of Demodogs. Shortly after, Demodogs began invading the lab. To prevent the shadow monster from knowing their location, Mike urged them to sedate Will. Once Will was unconscious, the group took refuge in a surveillance room, where they witnessed the lab being overrun by Demodogs before the power went out. To restore the power and allow them a way out, Bob volunteered to go down to the basement and reset the breakers. Once the power was restored and the doors unlocked, Mike, Joyce, Hopper, and Will made it to safety while Owens stayed behind to guide Bob. Just when it seemed Bob was safe, he was tackled and killed by several Demodogs. Outside, the group met up with Nancy, Jonathan, Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max. Together, they escaped the lab.
At the Byers' house, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Max speculated about the shadow monster's weakness. When they realized that the shadow monster controlled everything in a hive mind, they compared it to the Mind Flayer, a monster from Dungeons & Dragons that similarly controls the minds of its victims. They also speculated that, if they killed the Mind Flayer, they would kill everything it controlled. Mike then proposed that, in order to discover the Mind Flayer's weakness, they'd have to take Will someplace he couldn't recognize and try to get through to him. After making the backyard shed unrecognizable, they attempted to interrogate Will. While the Mind Flayer had taken over a majority of Will's mind and body, a part of Will managed to subconsciously signal to them in Morse code. Deciphering his message, they discovered the way to stop the Mind Flayer: closing the Gate. Soon after, the phone in the Byers' kitchen rang, giving away their location.
As the house was being surrounded by a pack of Demodogs, the group armed themselves. Before the pack could attack, however, Eleven arrived and eradicated them. Together, the group came up with a plan: Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy would exorcise the Mind Flayer from Will's body while Eleven and Hopper would go to the lab and close the gate.
While waiting at the house, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Max decided they'd distract the Demodogs by burning the tunnels so Eleven and Hopper could safely reach the Gate. Before they could begin their plan, Billy arrived looking for Max. Steve tried to intervene, but the two ended up in a fist fight. With one of the syringes used to sedate Will, Max was able to puncture Billy's neck, making him lose consciousness. Using Billy's car, Max drove the group to the pumpkin patch where the entrance to the tunnels was located. Making their way to the hub, they doused the entire area in gasoline and set it ablaze. On their way out of the tunnels, the group encountered Dart. Recognizing Dustin, Dart did not attack and was easily distracted by Dustin giving it another Three Musketeers bar, allowing the group to escape.
On December 15, Mike attended the Snow Ball with Eleven. As he and Eleven danced, they shared a kiss.
Personality and Traits
Mike was shown to be an optimist. His D&D role as Dungeon Master suggests that he, like Will, is a creative thinker. Out of the four boys, he was 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. Mike's slightly unorthodox approach led him to connect some of the dots explaining the mysterious Upside Down.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Lucas lived next door to each other for their entire 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, 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 Eleven developed a special relationship in the six days they knew each other. He allowed her to stay at his house and 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 explains to Eleven that he liked her more than friends and kisses her unexpectedly. Eleven then sacrifices herself to the Demogorgon leaving Mike and his friends in safety. But when she disappeared for nearly a year, Mike became devastated and called her on his Supercom for 353 days. When they finally reunited they shared a long awaited hug just to be seperated 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. Afterwards, Mike even invited her to be his date to the Snow Ball, an offer which she happily accepted. They then shared their 2nd known kiss to the song “every breath you take”.
- 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.
- 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.
|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|
|Ted Wheeler||Karen Wheeler|
|Nancy Wheeler||Holly Wheeler|
- "Something is coming... something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness. It is almost here..."
- "What was your test on again? Human anatomy?"
- "Friends don't lie."
- "If anyone asks where I am, I've left the country."
- "We're no use to Will if we're dead."
- "You want her? You have to kill us first!"
- "I'm our paladin, Will's our cleric, Dustin's our Bard, Lucas is our ranger, and El is our mage."
- When playing Dungeons & Dragons, Mike plays as the Dungeon Master.
- 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 Mike let Eleven wear belonged to his 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.
- Mike is the first character to refer to the 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 Wheeler and Jim Hopper are the only characters to appear in all episodes of Season 1 and Season 2.
- ↑ "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.
|Characters in Stranger Things|
Murray Bauman • Lonnie Byers • Phil Callahan • Carol • Scott Clarke • Florence • Connie Frazier • Tommy H. • Benny Hammond • Neil Hargrove • Susan Hargrove • Claudia Henderson • Barbara Holland • Becky Ives • Terry Ives • James • Calvin Powell • Kali Prasad • Erica Sinclair • Troy • Holly Wheeler • Ted Wheeler
Minor Characters • Minor Characters/Season 1 • Minor Characters/Season 2 • Axel • Lead Agent • Russian Agent • Ray Carroll • Russell Coleman • Cynthia • Diane • Dottie • Earl • Funshine • Gary • Marsha Holland • Mr. Holland • Sara Hopper • Keith • Marissa • Donald Melvald • Mick • Nerdy Tech • Nicole • David O'Bannon • Agent Repairman • Elevator Scientist • Lead Scientist • Hawkins Head of Security • Shepard • Mr. Sinclair • Mrs. Sinclair • Tina • Troy's mother • Brenda Wood
|Creatures & Entities|
|Articles may contain spoilers.|