The youngest of the Stranger Things gang was only 11 years old when the series started, but all six of them have done some major growing up in the past three years.
Fans have watched the young stars experience first kisses, battle monsters and voice cracks, suffer through embarrassing hair cuts, and all the other joys of adolescence. At the start of season three, the teens are in the peak of their awkward years. Instead of attempting to dress them up or make them appear more put-together, the series has allowed the kids to grow up earnestly in front of our very eyes.
Some of the kids have truly glowed up (I'm looking at you, Millie) while others are still battling some pre-pubescent phases (sorry, Noah). Either way they all have gone through some major changes in just three short years.
Finn Wolfhard/Mike Wheeler
When we first met baby Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) in 2016, he had a short cropped head of black hair and easily grew red in the face when asked about his kiss with costar Millie Bobby Brown a.k.a. Eleven.
Now he's grown unbelievably cool and is the frontman of his own band, Calpurnia, that tours all over the country and even performs at festivals. The now-16-year-old's face has clearly elongated and he's sprouted about a foot taller than he was in season one.
Gaten Matarazzo/Dustin Henderson
Matarazzo was no newbie to the acting world when he started with the Netflix show in 2016 when he was 13. He got his start at 11 years old on Broadway as Gavroche in Les Misérables. Now at 16, the theatre kid has a girlfriend and is a relatively normal high schooler who even went to prom IRL. His character, Dustin, is one of the original four best friends but has found a new buddy in the high schooler Steve Harrington (Joe Keery).
Sadie Sink/Maxine "Max" Mayfield
Sink showed up later in the Stranger Things saga, but the connections she made with the cast were instant. She appeared in season two in 2018 and has already grown up before our eyes. At 17, Sink is one of the oldest cast mates, but that doesn't stop her from hanging out with her new bestie, Millie Bobby Brown, who is still only 15.
Caleb McLaughlin/Lucas Sinclair
Caleb McLaughlin has made one of the most obvious physical transformations out of the crew. His character Lucas is meant to be around 14 years old, and it will quickly become more difficult for the show to hide his true age.
On McLaughlin's 17th birthday many fans took to social media shocked at the news that he's so much older than his character. He was the oldest of the original crew but still had a great time with the cast despite being a good year or three older than his costars.
Noah Schnapp/Will Byers
Schnapp has also gone through some major changes since season one, when he was only 11 years old. The youngest of the group, the actor, now 14, has only recently experienced a growth spurt and voice changes. Schnapp and Brown are two of the closest actors on the set and often joke around during interviews. They became such fast friends in part because they were the closest in age at the start of the show.
Millie Bobby Brown/Eleven
Brown skyrocketed to fame after impressing important industry figures with her acting abilities as the expressive yet quiet Eleven. The young star started on Stranger Things at 12 years old, when she willingly shaved her head and since then has become something of a style icon.
The now-15-year-old has quite a few accolades for someone so young, plus she is UNICEF's youngest Goodwill Ambassador ever. Recently she starred in the latest Godzilla installment, and upcoming she will play Sherlock Holme's younger sister in Enola Holmes alongside Henry Cavill.
The Stranger Things kids gathered for the first time in 2016 on Jimmy Fallon's late night show.
This interview with four of the original group was iconic at the time, because of how awkward Wolfhard and Brown were about their first kiss. Now the kids' romance has blossomed on screen, but they have grown more comfortable with the prospect after experiencing separate real-life relationships. The 15-year-old briefly dated social media star Jacob Sartorious in 2018. Whereas Wolfhard has focused on his music career and kept his relationships private.
Plus the other cast-members were just as delightfully cringe-y in the interview making fun of the awkward moment between the two young stars. The late night host didn't make anything easier by bringing it up, as well.
And in 2019, they sat down to talk with Fallon again. But this time they looked wildly different.
After three years of media training and growing more comfortable on press tours, it's clear that the six Stranger Things kids are much more natural now when it comes to interviews. They reveal some fun moments on set like riding down escalator bannisters in the rundown mall and singing made-up songs together.
While their looks have altered drastically from the first 2016 show, their personalities have hilariously stayed somewhat the same. McLaughlin is still the class clown, Schnapp, and Brown are still the best of friends, and Wolfhard continues to make sarcastic jokes.
As fans have watched the characters grow up on screen year to year, they've also had the opportunity to watch the young actors become young adults as well. See an entirely new side of the characters when season three releases to Netflix on July 4.
Add this graphic to your Pinterest boards to see how the 'Stranger Things' Kids grow up in Season 1 Vs now!