Best side characters from Stranger Things (may they rest in peace)

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington and Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington and Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

With its fourth season now complete, Stranger Things has deservedly been a huge hit for Netflix. If we break down the reasons for its immense popularity, it comes down to this: the series relies on nostalgia, an engrossing storyline and strong actors playing engaging characters.

Of course, we mostly love our core group, the gang that has been together since we first met them in Hawkins during the first season. Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), sons Jonathan and Will (Charlie Heaton and Noah Schnapp), Mike and Nancy Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard and Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Hopper (David Harbour) and of course the mysterious Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).

But each season of Stranger Things brought us new characters to love, and they were often just side characters. Some of these more minor characters developed into main players, others were (literally) short-lived, but each of them was unique in their own way.

***WARNING: Ahead lie spoilers! If you have not watched every episode of every season of Stranger Things, and you don’t want to know who lives or dies, stop reading now. For the rest of you, let’s get a little nostalgic about the best side characters on the show.

Season one:

Let’s just jump right into the first character everyone wanted to know more about: Nancy’s friend Barb (Shannon Purser). Poor Barb; she was a good friend to Nancy, but usually was pushed to the wayside by the more popular girl. Barb went to a party with Nancy and her boyfriend Steve, then was left sitting forlornly by the pool when the two decided to get busy upstairs. The Demogorgon snatched Barb away to the Upside Down, and she was killed.

Stranger Things
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 27: Shannon Purser aka Barb, is interviewed in the window for Good Morning Britain, at the Stranger Binge event at TopShop Topman, to mark the launch of Stranger Things 2 on Netflix on October 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for TOPSHOP) /

Although the character of Barb was only in the first few episodes of Stranger Things, actress Shannon Purser was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series. The love viewers had for Barb resulted in a “Justice for Barb” movement, and the character showed up very briefly in season four when Nancy saw her decaying body in the Upside Down.

Season two:

Even though fans were probably already clamoring for a Joyce-Hopper romance, Joyce instead dated the affable Bob (Sean Astin) for most of the season. He was a mild-mannered sort of goofy guy with a heart of gold.

Poor Bob was another character who died without making it through an entire season, but he certainly went out a hero. Bob volunteered to reset the breakers when Joyce, Hopper, Owens, Mike and Will were trapped in the lab, and was subsequently attacked and partially eaten by Demodogs right in front of the horrified Joyce.

Season three:

We were introduced to several characters who went viral with fans during the third season of Stranger Things, and two of them (Erica and Suzie) actually lived! But, since we have only paid homage so far to the people who now reside in the Hawkins cemetery, let’s stay on that roll.

Let’s face it, Billy (Dacre Montgomery) was NOT a good guy. He was a vicious bully who was mean to everyone, including his stepsister Max, and he just wasn’t the kind of guy you pictured yourself feeling sorry for. He and Max were introduced in season two, but his main story arc took place thanks to his encounter with the Mind Flayer. Tormented by visions, Billy was forced into providing humans for the Mind Flayer to feed from.

Honestly, in the hands of a lesser actor, Billy may never have become beloved, but Montgomery gave a fierce performance, much of it with tears in his eyes or rolling down his face, and darn it, I actually felt sorry for him! In the end, Billy sacrificed himself to save Eleven (and ultimately, all of them), even apologizing to Max for being so crappy to her.

Stranger Things introduced us to Eddie Munson in season four

Season four:

Do we really even need to discuss who the most beloved character of season four was? It’s Eddie Munson…of course it’s Eddie Munson. Portrayed by British actor Joseph Quinn, Eddie was basically a weirdo, a heavy metal fan who presided over the Dungeons and Dragons club. But he had something special, he had a great big heart. He tried to help poor Chrissy, and was ashamed of himself for running after witnessing her horrific bone-breaking death.

He provided a lot of comic relief and some pathos, but he also provided an epic performance, playing guitar to Metallica’s Master of Puppets in order to distract those vicious demobats. Unfortunately, the bats did Eddie in, but not before he again distracted them, letting them chase him while he frantically rode a bicycle and bravely fought with his makeshift sword and trash can lid. He died a hero’s death, and didn’t run away.

Who knows what new characters may be introduced in season five of Stranger Things, but one thing is for sure: there is bound to be at least one new loveable loser. And please, don’t kill any more of them off!

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Who were your favorite side characters in Stranger Things? Tell us about it in the comments section.