All grown up! Stranger Things has become a cultural phenomenon since making its Netflix debut in 2016, but the series’ young stars have also stolen the world’s hearts.
Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo shot to fame along with their slightly older costars Joe Keery and real-life couple Charlie Heaton and Natalia Dyer when the show’s freshman season dropped. Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery also won hearts when they joined the streaming series for season 2. Priah Ferguson, who plays McLaughlin’s younger sister, was promoted to series regular for season 3 and Maya Hawke was cast on the most recent season as well.
Sink, 17, opened up to The New York Times in June 2019 about how she’s changed since being cast on Stranger Things. “I’ve definitely grown up, but I’m the same Sadie now that I would have been, even if I wasn’t on Stranger Things,” she said. “I’ve always been laid-back, go with the flow. There’s that whole thing about how child actors all end up being crazy, but I don’t think that’s the case for any of us.”
She continued, “We’re all just good kids, especially when you surround yourself with supportive, loving people.”
In addition to their new-found stardom, being on Stranger Things has allowed the show’s youngest cast members to forge strong friendships. Brown, 15, told Teen Vogue in October 2016 that the Stranger Things kids created a group text shortly after they were cast to “talk to each other when we need each other,” but Schnapp, also 15, noted that the group chat isn’t what led them to grow so close.
“I think we just became friends, and then we created a group chat together. It really did help,” he told the magazine at the time. “When they were trying to cast us, they looked for people who had the best chemistry together. It really makes sense because if we didn’t like each other, the show wouldn’t be what it would be.”
Schnapp revealed that they “just all became friends, literally on the first day,” adding: “We went to school, we all sat together, and we just started laughing. Then, later we started hanging out, having sleepovers. Me and Millie would make these diary things on our phones, called Stranger Things Video Diaries, and we became really close.”
Brown received her first SAG nomination in 2017 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. That same year, she was also nominated alongside her cast members for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, which they won. The Strangers Things cast were nominated for the same award twice more in 2018 and 2020.
In honor of the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 19, scroll down to see how the Stranger Things kids have transformed since attending their first SAG ceremony to now.