Mike Wheeler (Stranger Things)
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Michael "Mike" Wheeler is a fictional character from the Netflix science fiction horror series Stranger Things. He is one of the central characters in the series, acting as the de facto leader of the main group of kids and is also the boyfriend of Eleven. Mike is portrayed by Finn Wolfhard.
|Stranger Things character|
|First appearance||"The Vanishing of Will Byers" (2016)|
|Created by||The Duffer Brothers|
|Portrayed by||Finn Wolfhard|
|Full name||Michael Wheeler|
|Significant other||Eleven / Jane Hopper|
|Home||Hawkins, Indiana, United States|
Fictional character biographyEdit
At the beginning of the series, Mike is playing Dungeons & Dragons with his best friends, Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), and Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), on November 7, 1983. Mike's mom, Karen (Cara Buono), forces them to end the campaign early, and Mike's friends go home. That night, Will mysteriously disappears.
The next day, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, worried about Will, go to the woods where Will's bike was found, where they find a girl with a shaved head named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). They take Eleven back to Mike's house and hide her in his basement, to keep the “bad men” (the scientists at Hawkins Laboratory, where she was held captive) from finding her. After learning her name, Mike nicknames her “El”.
Mike asks Eleven to lead him and his friends to where Will is. She leads them to the quarry, where Will's corpse is apparently found. Mike gets angry at her for telling him that Will is alive, but she manages to channel Will's voice through a walkie-talkie and convince the three of them otherwise. The boys think that Eleven can locate Will using a ham radio at their school. The four of them go to the school, where there's an assembly commemorating Will that's being held in the gym. During the assembly, a pair of bullies named Troy and James start laughing joking about Will's supposed death. Mike confronts Troy after the assembly and pushes him. Before Troy can strike back, Eleven causes Troy to pee his pants. When the four of them get to the ham radio, Eleven manages to channel Will's voice.
They go back to Mike's basement, and theorize that Will is stuck in another dimension, dubbed the “Upside Down”, and he was taken by a monster, known as the “Demogorgon”.
After Will's funeral, the boys ask their teacher, Mr. Clarke, about alternate dimensions, and determine that a gate to another dimension would have a strong electromagnetic field, and they can use a compass to find it. They eventually find out that Eleven was tampering with the compass to keep them from going to the lab. An argument breaks out between Mike and Lucas, which eventually becomes a fight, causing Eleven to hurt Lucas to protect Mike. Eleven flees, and Lucas leaves due to anger, leaving Mike and Dustin alone.
While walking, Mike and Dustin are cut off by Troy and James, who threaten to hurt Dustin unless Mike jumps off a high cliff. Mike jumps, and is caught by Eleven using her powers. Eleven then breaks Troy's arm and scares the two away. Mike, Eleven, and Dustin then embrace each other.
The three go back to Mike's house, where Lucas, over the walkie-talkie, tells them the "bad men" are coming. The three are pursued by numerous Hawkins Lab agents, led by Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine). They manage to escape, and they rendezvous with Lucas at a junkyard, and Mike and Lucas reconcile.
Mike's older sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) use Will's walkie-talkie to contact Mike, who tells them their location. After Hopper rescues them, the group eventually builds a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Hawkins Middle School to allow Eleven to amplify her powers to find Will. While Hopper and Will's mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder) head to Hawkins Lab to attempt to find Will, Mike, Eleven, Dustin and Lucas stay behind at the school. While at the school, Mike asks Eleven to The Snow Ball and the two share their first kiss. Eventually they are tracked down by Dr. Brenner and his men, Eleven kills Dr. Brenner's men, which attracts the Demogorgon. Eleven and The Demogorgon face off in Mr. Clarke's class, when Eleven and The Demogorgon disappear, leaving Mike confused and devastated.
At the start of the season, Mike is seen still attempting to reach Eleven through the walkie-talkies. He eventually accompanies Dustin, Lucas and Will to the arcade, where Will has a vision of the Upside-Down. The next day Dustin and Lucas become infatuated with new student, Maxine "Max" Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and attempt to get her to join their group, to which Mike disagreed, leading to Mike abandoning Dustin, Lucas and Max on Halloween Night after Will has another episode to escort him home. The next day at school, Dustin reveals the new creature he discovered which he calls D'Artagnan. After seeing the creature, Will confides in Mike that the creature is from the Upside Down, leading Mike to attack the creature, causing it to run away. While searching for D'Artagnan, Mike is cornered by Max, who tried to convince him to let her join the party. At the same time, Eleven had entered the school and witnessed this, causing her to telekinetically knock Max off of her skateboard in a fit of jealousy. Mike suspected Eleven to be behind this, but by the time he went looking for her, she was gone. At the same time, Will was undergoing another episode where he attempted to confront the "Shadow Monster" he was seeing in his visions, which led him to become possessed by "the Mind Flayer".
Following Will's unknown possession, Mike ends up staying with Will, being the only one who has any knowledge about The Shadow Monster. He assists Joyce as Will begins drawing tunnels, which Joyce's new boyfriend Bob Newby (Sean Astin) recognizes as a map of Hawkins. Will discovers that Hopper is trapped in the Upside-Down, and the group begin using Will's drawings to find out where Hopper is within the Upside Down. As Joyce and Bob descend into The Upside-Down to retrieve Hopper, Mike and Will witness Hawkins Lab agents arriving, being led by Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser), who begin torching parts of the Upside-Down, causing Will to begin convulsing on the ground complaining of burns. Will is then taken to Hawkins Lab so he can be treated.
Once awake, Will was barely able to recognize Mike, and was simply unable to recognize Dr Owens, Bob or Hopper as a result of the Mind Flayer taking over him. After Dr. Owens runs some experiments, they discover that Will has become host to a virus that connected him to all other infected hosts in a hive-intelligence. Will then informs Mike of a possible way that they could stop The Shadow Monster, using images to direct the soldiers to a specific area. As the soldiers descended into the tunnels, Will reveals his deception to Mike, revealing that the Mind Flayer had set a trap for them, causing the soldiers to be slaughtered and the "Demodogs" to invade the lab, leading to Mike urging for Will's sedation to keep himself, Joyce, Hopper, Bob and Dr. Owens safe from the attack, taking refuge in a surveillance room. Once there, Bob volunteered to go to the basement and reset the breakers, allowing them to safely escape. Once they reached the door, they witnessed Bob being slaughtered by Demodogs as they reunite with Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy, Will's brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy's ex-boyfriend Steve Harrington (Joe Keery).
The group returned to the Byers Residence where they come up with a plan to defeat the Mind Flayer. Dustin speculated that if they killed the Mind Flayer, they would kill everything that it controlled. Mike proposed that to discover the Mind Flayer's weakness, they would have to take Will to someplace he didn't recognize to try to break through to him. The group end up renovating the backyard shed to make it unrecognizable, as Mike, Joyce, Hopper and Jonathan attempted to interrogate Will. Hopper then notices that Will is communicating to them through Morse Code, telling them to close the gate to the Upside-Down. After Will's message was deciphered, the house kitchen phone rang, giving away their location to the Mind Flayer. As they were being surrounded by Demodogs, Eleven arrived and eradicated them. While Mike was relieved that Eleven was alive, he soon found out that Hopper had been hiding her and became hostile towards him, though the two reconciled. The group eventually came up with a plan to exorcise the Mind Flayer from will to successfully close the gate and avoid the Mind Flayer killing Will. This leaves Joyce, Nancy and Jonathan to take Will to Hopper's Cabin to exorcise Will. Hopper and Eleven head to Hawkins Lab to close the gate, leaving Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max and Steve back at the Byers house.
Back at the house, Mike concocted a plan to distract the Demodogs from Hawkins Lab to ensure Eleven and Hopper reach the gate safely. Before this plan could be enacted, Max's abusive older-brother, Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) arrived at the house in search of Max. Steve attempted to intervene, which ended up in Billy beating Steve badly. Max eventually sedates her brother and steals his car, taking them to the pumpkin patch where another entrance into the Upside-Down was located. The group entered the tunnels and doused the hub with gasoline. Steve then sets ablaze to the hub and the group begins their escape. On their way out, Mike became tangled in by the vines. As Steve rescued Mike, Dustin came across D'Artagnan. Dustin distracts D'Artagnan and says his final goodbyes to his pet, allowing the group to successfully escape.
Months after Eleven closed the gate to the Upside-Down, Mike attends the school Snow Ball with Eleven, leading to the two sharing a dance and a kiss, beginning their romantic relationship.
Mike and Eleven have started dating, and have been passionately making out every night. This attracts negative attention from Hopper, Eleven's new guardian. When Hopper attempts to give Mike and Eleven a heart-to-heart speech at Joyce's suggestion, Mike's smugness causes Hopper to privately threaten Mike. Afraid that Hopper would make sure he would not be able to see Eleven again, he tells Eleven that his grandmother is dying and that he can't come over for a while. However, Mike feels guilty about lying, and under Lucas's suggestion, shops at the new Starcourt Mall for an apology gift. However, all of the items are too expensive. Even worse, Eleven and Max are also shopping for their own entertainment, and upon running into Mike and Lucas, break up with them.
Mike and Lucas, frustrated with Eleven and Max breaking up with them, discuss how they can figure out “the female species”. This frustrates Will, who is uninterested in romance, causing him to force Mike and Lucas into playing Dungeons and Dragons. Mike cuts the game short to continue finding a gift, causing Will to snap and fall out with his friends. Feeling guilty, Mike and Lucas reconcile with Will, who then reveals to them that he has been sensing the Mind Flayer's presence twice during the summer. Mike calls over Eleven and Max, who noticed suspicious behavior from Max's stepbrother Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). They theorize that Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer just like Will was a year ago, and resolve to trap it in the local pool's sauna to prove it.
After successfully trapping Billy in the sauna, he confirms their suspicions before the Mind Flayer takes over, breaks out of the sauna, and nearly strangles Mike until Eleven defeats him.
While the group attempts to figure out how to get rid of the Mind Flayer for good, Nancy and Jonathan arrive and reveal that Doris Driscoll, an elderly woman found eating fertilizer, has also been acting possessed. Eleven, Max, Nancy, and Jonathan eventually figure out that Billy's coworker Heather and her father Tom are also likely possessed. Realizing that Driscoll wanted to go back to the Mind Flayer, the group goes over to the hospital to let her go and find the Mind Flayer. However, Tom and another of the Flayed have already let Driscoll go, and attack Nancy and Jonathan before promptly being killed. Their corpses merge into a single monster, who attacks the entire group before Eleven throws it out of the window and it escapes.
The group travels to Eleven and Hopper's house, where Eleven spies on the Flayed to reveal the location of the Mind Flayer. While she is using her powers, Mike and Max argue on whether this is safe for her, causing Mike to blurt out that he loves her and can't lose her again. Eleven finds the Mind Flayer by spying on Billy's memories, but Billy finds out their location, and all of the Flayed sans him merge into an even larger monster. The Mind Flayer attacks Eleven until Nancy shoots its mouth, leaving Eleven with a gigantic wound. The group raids a pharmacy to fix the wound. While there, Dustin calls Mike on his Walkie-Talkie that he is in danger, but is unable to give his location before the batteries run out. Eleven finds him and his group at the Starcourt Mall using her powers, and stops a group of Russian assassins from shooting Dustin's group.
Mike, Lucas, and Will reconcile with Dustin before he tasks their group with taking Eleven to safety. However, Billy has taken Jonathan's car's engine, and threatens to run them over. They run back into the mall to get an engine from a display car, but the Mind Flayer attacks just after they are able to retrieve it. Mike, Eleven, and Max are separated from everybody else, and manage to hide before Lucas, Will, Nancy, and Jonathan distract the Mind Flayer to come after them. Billy, who failed to crash into Jonathan's car after Steve crashed into his, finds Mike, Eleven, and Max on his own. He knocks Mike and Max unconscious, and brings Eleven to the center of the mall, where the Mind Flayer has returned. Mike and Max regain consciousness just in time to see the Mind Flayer about to kill Eleven, but the remainder of their group, along with Steve and Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), distract the monster by attacking it with firecrackers Lucas stole from the pharmacy. Joyce and Hopper, who were tasked by Dustin to close the gate, succeed at the cost of Hopper's life. Three months later, a now powerless Eleven, now living with the Byers, prepares to move out of Hawkins with them. Mike comforts her, saying that her powers will be back, and they share one final kiss before promising that she will come over for the holidays.
While ranking the characters in the show, Evan Romano of Men's Health said that Mike is "a really great character and is a blast to watch on the screen." In an article for Meaww, Barnana Sarkar praised Mike's loyalty as well as his maturity and determination.
- "What was the deal with Mike Wheeler in 'Stranger Things 2'?". Mashable. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2019-09-21.
- Romano, Evan (July 11, 2019). "The Definitive Power Ranking of Every Stranger Things Character After Season 3". Men’s Health. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- Sarkar, Barnana (March 15, 2019). "'Stranger Things': Mike Wheeler might just grow up to the boyfriend we all want. Here's why". Meaww. Retrieved August 8, 2019.