There's no denying that Stranger Things is one of the biggest cultural phenomenons of the current decade. Netflix's '80s-loving sci-fi coming-of-age horror series has become an underdog sensation. Everyone wants to be the next Stranger Things. Even IT and IT: Chapter Two, two movies based on the Stephen King novel that was critical to Stranger Things' success, have now geared themselves towards the same crowd that flocked in droves to watch the hit Netflix series. As Stranger Things continues to draw more attention and acclaim after the premiere of season three, actors like Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard and the rest of the cast continue to rise.
While Stranger Things is still going strong, with plans for a fourth season currently underway, the cast is exceptionally more busy now than they were during the show's initial premiere. In between their time on the show, they've been working on a number of different projects, which continue to keep them preoccupied before it's time to return to set on the streaming series. It's clear that this series is making big waves in Hollywood, and there's no shortage of projects which have become available to them since the show's early success.
So we're taking a look at what these actors have done professionally outside of Stranger Things, and how they've been incorporated into a number of intriguing (if not always successful) projects which have opened up for them in the years since Stranger Things' premiere. Now that Season 3 has garnered a warm response, these actors are once again keeping themselves busy, and we're here to see what exciting projects they've found themselves — both big and small scale — in during the interim between Season 3 and 4, the latter of which is expected to premiere in mid-to-late 2021 (though that's not confirmed yet). Let's take a look at what exciting projects are in-the-works for these talented stars.
Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven)
While everyone in the ensemble for Stranger Things have received major profile boost through their involvement on the show, it might be Millie Bobby Brown who garnered the most attention and acclaim for her work on the show. In the mysterious role of Eleven, a wayward teen with psychokinetic abilities, a murky backstory and a little understanding of the world around her, the actress has earned two Emmy nominations and been propelled to stardom. Most notably, the actress was seen in Godzilla: King of the Monsters earlier this summer, and Brown recently returned to reprise her role as Madison Russell in the big monster movie event, Godzilla Vs. Kong, which is slated to come out on March 13, 2020.
Furthermore, Millie Bobby Brown is currently filming the title role in the new mystery drama Enola Holmes, which is centered around the child sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. The upcoming film, which is directed by Fleabag helmer Harry Bradbeer, is also slated to come out sometime next year. Outside of these two forthcoming films, Millie Bobby Brown had been rumored to appear in Marvel's The Eternals, which is a claim that she has since shut down. It was also recently announced that Netflix will be distributing a new film produced and likely starring the actress titled A Time Lost. It's based on a story that was written by Millie Bobby Brown and her sister, Paige Brown. It's likely come out within a year.
Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler)
In addition to Stranger Things helping to turn Millie Bobby Brown into a potential future A-list star, Finn Wolfhard has similarly found himself as a performer on the rise thanks to his role in the show. He plays Mike Wheeler, an intelligent, good-natured young man who has a very close bond with his friends who finds his world shaken by the arrival of Eleven, whom he develops romantic feelings towards throughout the course of the series. The actor has notably been seen in IT and IT: Chapter Two in recent years, as well as Dog Days and this past weekend's The Goldfinch. He also lends his voice to the Netflix series, Carmen Sandiego, and he'll once again be seen (or, at least, heard) at the movies with the release of The Addams Family.
Outside of these films, Finn Wolfhard will also be seen in the dramatic horror film The Turning, which also stars Mackenzie Davis and The Florida Project's Brooklynn Prince, and that movie is set to come out on January 24th, 2020. Currently, though, the actor is filming one of his biggest roles to date in the new film, Ghostbusters 2020, which also stars Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon and several more familiar faces. No doubt production on that movie will likely be taking up his time until production on Stranger Things Season 4 gets underway, and reports suggest that might be as early as this fall.
Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson)
Much like his fellow stars, Gaten Matarazzo has endeared himself to a lot of people through his work on Stranger Things. Playing the role of Dustin Henderson, a young boy with a lisp and cleidocranial dysplasia, the actor is often a scene stealer during his scenes, and it's clear that his profile has been on the rise since he first appeared on the show. Outside of his work on Stranger Things, he's likely best known for his commercials for Verizon.
Beyond that, however, Gaten Matarazzo spends his time in the rock band Work in Progress, and he also has different acting jobs that keep him busy. He recently provided his voice to the animated sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, and he is also slated to provide his voice to the animated film, Hump. Additionally, Matarazzo is in the early stages of hosting and producing the hidden camera series, Prank Encounters, which earned some considerable backlash when the premise was first announced online. Netflix has defended its decision to go with the series, and it's expected to premiere next year.
Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair)
While Caleb McLaughlin hasn't earned as much of a career boost from Stranger Things as some of his fellow cast members, he has definitely made a great impression. In the role of Lucas Sinclair, he doesn't always get the most screen-time, but he always makes a good impression, proving himself to have a great chemistry with the other characters. Sure enough, there are filmmakers who have taken notice and casted the actor for some great parts.
Most recently, Caleb McLaughlin appeared in Steven Soderbergh's Netflix film, High Flying Bird, released earlier this year. And he's next slated to star in the drama Concrete Cowboy, which also stars Idris Elba. That film started filming this summer, and it should hopefully prove to be another standout role for the rising actor.
Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers)
Playing the role of Jonathan Byers, the paranoid outsider older brother of Will Byers, Charlie Heaton plays a quiet, reserved character with a stark look in his eyes that spells out any number of different things. Originally born in Britain, Heaton is both an actor and musician, and he certainly received more notice through his work on the streaming series. But he is the actor who has also found himself in a little bit of controversy outside of the show.
Specifically, Charlie Heaton was unable to attend the premiere of Stranger Things Season 2 when he was refused entry by customs, which found traces of cocaine in his luggage. He was put on a plane back to London, and he withdrew his application to enter America to avoid getting arrested. Besides that, however, Charlie Heaton is also slated to appear in the long-labored new X-Men spinoff movie, The New Mutants, which might come out one of these days. In addition to this role, he also recently filmed a role in the upcoming indie drama, The Souvenir: Part II, earlier this summer.
Joe Keery (Steve Harrington)
Although Joe Keery's role of Steve Harrington wasn't meant to be a main player during the first season, the character grew into a fan favorite as the show continued with its second and third seasons. At first, he's a popular kid who bullies Jonathan Byers, but he later befriends him and becomes a mainstay character throughout the series. Online, the actor has earned a great deal of attention, thanks in no small part to his wavy lush of brown hair.
As an actor, Joe Keery has played minor roles in bigger movies like Molly's Game and a memorable role in the indie horror comedy Slice. But the actor only has one movie lined up presently, Free Guy, with Ryan Reynolds, which reunites the rising actor with his Stranger Things director Shawn Levy. He is also a musician with the psychedelic rock band, Post Animal, and Keery has gotten more than a few people upset thanks to his brand new haircut.
Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler)
Similar to Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery, Natalia Dyer was often a supporting player in the first season of Stranger Things, but her character, Nancy Wheeler, continued to play a bigger part in the future seasons. Notably, in Season 1, she's looking for her missing friend Barbara and eventually finds herself on the other side. Outside of her work on the show, Natalia Dyer has been working on a lot of independent films, including The Nearest Human Being, Yes, God, Yes, and After Darkness. She also played a role in the new Netflix horror-satire, Velvet Buzzsaw, which premiered this year.
Natalia Dyer is next slated to be seen in the drama Tuscaloosa, which doesn't have an official release date yet. She also has been dating her Stranger Things co-star, Charlie Heaton, since 2017. So as their characters have formed a relationship, so too have the actors behind the parts, which is fitting enough.
David Harbour (Jim Hopper)
As the chief of the Hawkins Police Department, Jim Hopper, David Harbour easily became one of the biggest (and most unexpected) breakout stars of the series. His charismatic, well-mustachioed role has grown in prominence throughout Stranger Things, and it earned the veteran character actor a few of his biggest roles to date. Most notably, he attempted to take over the reigns of the Hellboy series earlier this year, though the resulting film, simply titled Hellboy, was both a critical and commercial flop, which makes the likelihood of any future sequels seem highly unlikely. But there's no need to worry right now.
David Harbour recently lent his talents to the quirky, faux autobiographical special, Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein, which found the actor playing many variations of his on-screen family lineage. He also recently filmed a role in the upcoming action-drama Dhaka, which is expected to be released later this year, if not early next year. But most notably, Harbour is currently working on his newest big role, which is an appearance in the next Marvel movie, Black Widow, where he will play Alexei Shostakov, better known as Red Guardian. Certainly, Stranger Things paved the way there.
Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers)
Certainly when Stranger Things first premiered on Netflix, Winona Ryder was easily the biggest name on the show. The actress was given a platform to shine in the role of Joyce Byers, the deeply concerned mother of the missing Will Byers, and her captivating role helped to gain more audiences in the show's first season run. Sure enough, the actress was already a well-established talent, but this success helped to bring her back into the frame.
Since Stranger Things premiered, Winona Ryder was given a chance to reconnect with Keanu Reeves in the underrated anti-rom-com, Destination Wedding. The actress is also currently filming a role in the mini-series, The Plot Against America, which should also hopefully give her time to shine. While the show hasn't bolstered her profile as much as some of her co-stars, it helped to bring her back into the public's graces, and that's very good.
There are other noteworthy actors who have played a big role in Stranger Things, including Noah Schnapp, Matthew Modine, Sean Astin and, most recently, Maya Hawke. But when it comes to the original ensemble, it's clear that the majority of these talented performers have found their careers elevated considerably thanks to the continued success of this popular Netflix series. Let us know which actor you'd like to see more in the comments.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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