Here Are the Real Ages of the Actors and Their Characters on ”Stranger Things”

The Stranger Things crew may have answered a lot of our questions when they exposed Russian conspiracies, as we saw when we last left them in season 3 of the Netflix series. But there is still one big secret that needs to be uncovered — do the kids in the sci-fi show just look super young, or are they actually close to the age they’re playing?

The hunt for talent who could mature in their roles first began for casting director Carmen Cuba way back in April 2015.

“We needed every single actor to have a subtlety and an inner life that didn’t necessarily need words to define them, and we held the kids and teens to the same standard,” Cuba told Backstage in a 2019 interview. “We weren’t thinking of them as kid or teen actors in the process — the Duffer Brothers were really expecting them to be able to deliver a very rich human experience despite what age body they were in.”

When we first headed to Hawkins, Indiana for Stranger Things Season 1, we were in November 1983. The highly anticipated sequel season Stranger Things 2 transported us into the fall of 1984, placing the story at the end of October and early November. The Duffer brothers then set the third season in July 1985. Finally, the current addition, Stranger Things season 4, is set in the spring of 1986.

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven

brooklyn, new york   may 14 millie bobby brown attends netflixs stranger things season 4 new york premiere at netflix brooklyn on may 14, 2022 in brooklyn, new york photo by theo wargogetty images

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Actress age: 18, Born February 19, 2004

Character age: Born in 1971, Eleven was 12 in Season 1, 13 in Season 2, 13 or 14 in Season 3, and will be 14 or 15 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen her: Other than Stranger Things, Brown is best known for playing the titular role in another Netflix original, the movie Enola Holmes, in which she portrayed Sherlock Holmes’s younger (but no less inquisitive) sister. Enola Holmes is due to have a sequel debuting this year. But this isn’t the only two-part series she’s appeared in. We also have seen her in Godzilla: King of Monsters and the 2021 sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong. She’s been keeping booked and busy, as she’s expected to star in and produce the upcoming The Girls I’ve Been and Damsel. Millie also serves as a youth ambassador for UNICEF and owns the cosmetic line florence by mills.

Where else you’ve seen him: If you’re a horror movie fan, you probably saw him as Richie in the adaptation of Stephen King’s It as well as It Chapter Two. We also saw him recently in the Ghostbusters reboot, Ghostbusters: Afterlife as new-kid-in-town Trevor. Coming up, we’ll get to hear his voice acting debut in the animated musical, Pinocchio. Finn is also making his mark on the music scene, as a vocalist and guitarist in the indie rock band The Aubreys. He was previously a member of the group Calpurnia, until it dissolved in 2019 according to the band’s Instagram page.

Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson

brooklyn, new york   may 14 gaten matarazzo attends netflixs stranger things season 4 new york premiere at netflix brooklyn on may 14, 2022 in brooklyn, new york photo by theo wargogetty images

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Actor age: 19, Born September 8, 2002

Character age: Born in 1971, Dustin was 12 in Season 1, 13 in Season 2, 13 or 14 in Season 3, and will be 14 or 15 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen him: While he was the face of the Netflix hidden camera prank show, Prank Encounters, in 2019, he’s been up to more voice acting lately, voicing a camel in the upcoming animated movie Hump and adding his sound to the film My Father’s Dragon. Gaten has also begun production for his co-starring role in the live-action comedy Honor Society according to Deadline. It was also announced on May 25 that the actor would be returning to his Broadway roots. Having last appeared on Broadway for the 2014 production of Les Misérables, Gaten is set to portray the role of Jared Kleinman in the Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen beginning July 19, 2022.

Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair

los angeles, california   march 23 l r jabari banks, jordan l jones, and caleb mclaughlin attend as teen vogue celebrates new hollywood at grandmaster recorders on march 23, 2022 in los angeles, california photo by vivien killileagetty images for teen vogue

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Actor age: 20, Born October 13, 2001

Character age: Born in 1971, Dustin was 12 in Season 1, 13 in Season 2, 13 or 14 in Season 3, and will be 14 or 15 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen him: Just like co-star Gaten, Caleb also got his start on Broadway, starring as young Simba in The Lion King, but he’s since strictly shown his talents on-screen. In 2017, he appeared in The New Edition Story miniseries before playing Darius in Steven Soderbergh’s Netflix movie High Flying Bird. Most recently, he was seen playing opposite Iris Elba in the feature film Concrete Cowboy, which is based on the novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri.

Where else you’ve seen him: While he was the face of the Netflix hidden camera prank show, Prank Encounters, in 2019, he’s been up to more voice acting lately, voicing a camel in the upcoming animated movie Hump and adding his sound to the film My Father’s Dragon. Gaten has also begun production for his co-starring role in the live-action comedy Honor Society according to Deadline. It was also announced on May 25 that the actor would be returning to his Broadway roots. Having last appeared on Broadway for the 2014 production of Les Misérables, Gaten is set to portray the role of Jared Kleinman in the Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen beginning July 19, 2022.

Noah Schnapp as Will Byers

paris, france   may 24 actor noah schnapp attends the stranger things festival photocall at cirque bouglione on may 24, 2022 in paris, france photo by laurent viteurgetty images

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Actor age: 17, Born October 3, 2004

Character age: As shown in the Season 2 episode “The Mind Flayer,” Will was born on March 22, 1971, making him 12 in Season 1, 13 in Season 2, 14 in Season 3, and 14 or 15 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen him: Before his stint as missing kid Will Byers, Noah voiced the iconic role of Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie and played the role of Roger Donovan in Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Bridge of Spies. Since then, he’s appeared in a Panic! At the Disco music video, Drake’s “In My Feelings” music video, and the Adam Sandler Netflix movie Hubie HalloweenDeadline reported that Schnapp had also landed a role in The Tutor where he will play a disturbed student with a secret obsession. Apart from acting, Noach launched a sustainability-focused snacking company called To Be Honest in 2021. He also was accepted into The University of Pennsylvania according to a tweet from Netflix.

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield

brooklyn, new york   may 14 sadie sink attends netflixs stranger things season 4 new york premiere at netflix brooklyn on may 14, 2022 in brooklyn, new york photo by theo wargogetty images

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Actress age: 20, Born April 16, 2002

Character age: Max was born in 1971, which makes her 13 when she first appears in Season 2, 13 or 14 in Season 3, and 14 or 15 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen her: Swifties would say that Sadie’s most iconic role aside from Stranger Things was when she starred alongside Dylan O’Brien in Taylor Swift’s short film All Too Well, but non-Swifities may remember her from The Glass Castle, Netflix’s horror movie Eli, or the second installment and third installment of the Netflix’s adaptation R. L. Stine’s horror book series, Fear Street. The actress is also slated to appear in at least two films this year, including The Whale (also starring The Mummy actor, Brendan Fraser) and the drama flick Dear Zoe.

Where else you’ve seen him: Before his stint as missing kid Will Byers, Noah voiced the iconic role of Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie and played the role of Roger Donovan in Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Bridge of Spies. Since then, he’s appeared in a Panic! At the Disco music video, Drake’s “In My Feelings” music video, and the Adam Sandler Netflix movie Hubie HalloweenDeadline reported that Schnapp had also landed a role in The Tutor where he will play a disturbed student with a secret obsession. Apart from acting, Noach launched a sustainability-focused snacking company called To Be Honest in 2021. He also was accepted into The University of Pennsylvania according to a tweet from Netflix.

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington

us actor joe keery attends stranger things season 4 premiere at netflix brooklyn in new york city on may 14, 2022 photo by angela weiss  afp photo by angela weissafp via getty images

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Actor age: 30, Born April 24, 1992

Character age: Steve was born in 1966, making him 17 in Season 1, 18 in Season 2, 18 or 19 in Season 3, and 19 or 20 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen him: Did you know that Keery used to be a musician? It’s true! Pre-Stranger Things fame, the actor was known for being a guitarist in the Chicago-based psych-rock band Post Animal. He’s since used his BFA from DePaul University in a wide range of acting projects, including the Aaron Sorkin movie Molly’s Game and indie film Spree. In 2021, Joe appeared in Free Guy, a video game adventure comedy led by Ryan Reynolds and directed by Stranger Things showrunner, Shawn Levy.

Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler

brooklyn, new york   may 14 natalia dyer attends netflixs stranger things season 4 premiere at netflix brooklyn on may 14, 2022 in brooklyn, new york photo by roy rochlingetty images

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Actress age: 27, Born January 13, 1995

Character age: Nancy was born in 1967, making her 16 in Season 1, 17 in Season 2, 17 or 18 in Season 3, and 18 or 19 in Season 4.

Where else you’ve seen her: If you’re into indie films, you probably recognize Natalia from titles like Velvet Buzzsaw, Tuscaloosa, and Yes, God, Yes. In more recent years, she’s starred alongside Amanda Seyfried in the Netflix horror movie Things Heard and Seen, based on the book All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. It seems like Natalia is a fan of the horror genre as she’s currently filming the thriller All Fun and Games, also starring Asa Butterfield.

Where else you’ve seen him: Did you know that Keery used to be a musician? It’s true! Pre-Stranger Things fame, the actor was known for being a guitarist in the Chicago-based psych-rock band Post Animal. He’s since used his BFA from DePaul University in a wide range of acting projects, including the Aaron Sorkin movie Molly’s Game and indie film Spree. In 2021, Joe appeared in Free Guy, a video game adventure comedy led by Ryan Reynolds and directed by Stranger Things showrunner, Shawn Levy.

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