Sometimes, people don't really say what they're really thinking. When you capture the right moment, it says more.
~ Jonathan in season one.

Jonathan Byers is one of the major characters in the first, second, and third seasons of Netflix's Stranger Things.

Jonathan is the son of Joyce Byers, and the brother of Will, who goes missing in Hawkins, Indiana. Jonathan succeeds in finding his brother with the help of his mother, Nancy Wheeler, Will's friends, Jim Hopper, Eleven. In the second season, Jonathan helps Nancy expose Hawkins National Laboratory, and helps his family and friends free Will from the Mind Flayer's influence

He is portrayed by Charlie Heaton, who will play Cannonball in The New Mutants.


Early Life

Jonathan was born in 1967 to Lonnie and Joyce Byers, and is the older brother to Will Byers. In his youth, Jonathan would go hunting with his father, but when he was forced to kill a rabbit, he cried for a whole week. Jonathan states that his parents loved each other once, but he wasn't around for it (hinting that their marriage had fallen apart around the time of his birth).

Eventually, Lonnie left the family, leading to Jonathan to become a role model for his younger brother. Jonathan states that when Lonnie left, he and Will stayed up the whole night building Castle Byers, and created it the way Will drew it. When it started to rain, the brothers continued, and the two got sick because of it.

Jonathan appears to have a strong dislike for his father, who would often bully Will and used profanity to describe him. In addition, there is a possibility that Lonnie despites Jonathan, and sees him as weak when he cried upon killing a rabbit. Lonnie also knows that his family hates him, and retaliates by spiting them, and not maintaining a relationship with them.

According to his mother, Jonathan wanted to go to New York University since he was six years old. In addition, Jonathan had a love for photography and music, and created a mixtape for Will, with a Clash Single being one of his favorites. He also appears to be a fan of horror films, as he as a poster of The Evil Dead, and presumably a fan of David Bowie and the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud (as he had poster of the two together).

Around 1983, Jonathan was working to help his mother get more cash in for the family. He also attended Hawkins High School, and was often bullied by Steve Harrington, and his friends, Tommy H. and Carol. It's assumed they did so due to the Byers' family being known in the town, and because they considered Jonathan an outcast at the school.

Stranger Things


On November 6, Jonathan decided to cover Eric's shift so that he and family could get the extra cash. That night, Will mysteriously disappeared, and Jonathan blamed himself, as he believed that he could stayed at home with him. Jonathan created missing posters for Will, and made photocopies that he placed all over town. His desperation to find his brother led him to leave Indiana to his father's home, where Will was nowhere to be found.

Jonathan spent a entire day in the woodlands, taking pictures in an attempt to capture evidence relating to Will's disappearance. He eventually got distracted, and started taking picture of Steve's party, and took photos of Nancy Wheeler in her undergarments. In addition, Jonathan unknowingly took a picture of Barbara Holland at Steve's pool, with a creature behind her. She was taken by the creature, but Jonathan didn't notice since he was adjusting his camera.

The next day, Jonathan developed the phots in the Hawkins High darkroom, but the photos were caught by Nicole. Jonathan ran away with them, but was confronted by Steve and his friends, who were informed by Nicole of what the pictures held. Tommy and Carol noted the nude pictures of Nancy, and called Jonathan a stalker before Steve ripped them apart, and broke his camera. While picking up parts of his camera, Nancy collected the ripped photos of Barbara before she returned to the group.

When hearing a discovery at a local quarry, he learned that they had found the body of Will. Driving there, he found his mother in the middle of road, and the two embraced each other, heartbroken over the loss of Will. While Chief Jim Hopper consoled Joyce, she went on a rant on how Will was in the walls, and that she saw an animal with no face, causing both him and Jonathan to believe that she was hysterical. The next day, the family went to the coroner's to see the body, but Joyce refused to believe that Will was dead, and stated that a causing Jonathan to accuse her of losing her mind.

Jonathan went to a coffee shop, where Nancy found him, and told him that she saw something in the photo of Barb. Jonathan believe that it could have been a perspective distortion, but Nancy revealed that saw something with no face. Jonathan realized that his mother said she saw the same thing, and decided to help Nancy uncover what was going on. At Will's funeral, Jonathan and Nancy agreed to meet up later in the woods to find the creature. In the woods, Jonathan took his father's gun, and the two practiced shooting. While there, Jonathan and Nancy talked about the photos, and eventually had an argument.

After dark, the two decided to mercifully put down a wounded deer, but it was captured by an unseen creature. Nancy entered the Upside Down after following a blood trail, and saw the creature before escaping by the help of Jonathan. Traumatized by the experience, Nancy had Jonathan sleep over, and the two discussed the monster's nature and animals the next day.

The two bought weapons to face off the monster again, but came across Steve and his friends in an alley. Nancy saw the obscene words Steve had written on a theater, and she confronted him. Steve revealed that he saw them sleeping together, assuming that they had sex, but she attempted to tell him that he misunderstood. Steve proceeded to mock Jonathan, stating that he was just a little screwup like his father, and stated that wasn't surprised what happened to his brother. This caused a fist fight to spring out between Jonathan and Steve, and ended when the cops arrive, arresting the former and confiscating the weapons.

The Monster pinning Jonathan down

Jonathan pinned down by the monster.

Jonathan and Nancy were asked by Hopper and Joyce to help them find Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and test subject Eleven. They all assembled as the Byers home, and decided to build a makeshift tank for Eleven to locate Will and Barb. The group then broke into Hawkins High School, and collected de-icing salt, and learned that Will was alive, as Barb was dead.

Jonathan and Nancy broke from the group to lure the monster to the Byers' residence, but Steve came to apologize. The trio fought against the monster, and were successful in maiming it until it returned to the Upside Down. The creature was destroyed by Eleven, but sacrificed herself to save the others from it. One month later, Jonathan came to pick up Will from the Wheeler's home, but was given a gift and kiss from Nancy. While in the car, Will opened the gift to learn that it was from Steve, a new camera to make amends for breaking his previous one. At home, Jonathan tested out the camera, taking pictures of his mother.


In 1984, Jonathan was close friends to Nancy and Steve, and was still attending high school when he was handed a flyer by Tina to her Halloween party. Despite Nancy attempts to make him go the party, he refused. The next morning, Jonathan took a picture of Will dressed in his ghostbusters costume, and decided to let Will trick-r-treat by himself, as he went to Tina's party. There, he met and spoke with Samantha before Steve asked Jonathan to take an intoxicated Nancy home (with Steve being upset that Nancy revealed that she didn't have feelings for him).

The next day, Nancy asked Jonathan for what happened at the party, and confided to him that she was tired of pretending nothing happened last year. She also wanted to expose Hawkins for what they did, suffering from guilt for the lost of her friend Barb. Jonathan agreed and the two skipped school to buy Walkman's from a RadioShack. Nancy called Mrs. Holland to tell her she wasn't being honest on what happened to Barb, and asked her to meet her at a park.

While waiting at the park, the two felt like they were being watched, and returned to the car. A couple of agents confronted them, and took them to the lab to be interrogated. The two were introduced to Owens, who gave them a tour, and admitted that their trying to fix the mistakes. After being warned to not say anything, they were allowed to leave, but Nancy revealed that she had everything he said on the Walkman. The duo followed the direction of Bauman's location and stayed in a hotel for the night, looking at each other's previous wound from last year. Nancy asked Jonathan where he was, as she waited for him until she began to date Steve again. Jonathan responded that she waited for a month, and that he was busy watching over Will.


Jonathan and Nancy began their relationship.

The two spoke to Bauman, who stated that they didn't have enough evidence to close down the lab, telling them to make the piece more appealing to the public. The two decided to do so by altering the story that Barb died in a chemical leak from the lab, and sent evidence placed in envelops to the Chicago Times. Jonathan and Nancy finally began their romantic relationship and had sex, as Bauman deduced that the two had sexual tension, and should resolve it to work together.

After leaving Bauman's residence, the two returned to the Byer's residence and find it empty. The two found Will's drawing of the tunnels, and decided to investigate the lab where they met Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max Mayfield. The group gained access to the lab, and met with Hopper, Joyce, and Will during a Demogorgon outbreak, with Bob sacrificing himself for the group to escape. The group managed to aid Eleven, and rid the Mind Flayer's influence over Will's body. On December 15, Jonathan and Nancy went to the Snow Ball together, and Jonathan took dance photos for the school.




Jonathan showed himself to be intelligent, kind, but introverted and somewhat of an outcast (alongside his family in Hawkins). He also shows himself to be brave and independent, as he helped his mother by working to get more money, and aided Nancy in fighting off the Demogorgon. He has a close bond to his family, and very close to his brother Will, having helped him build Castle Byers the night of their parents' divorce. He has a great love of photography, often taking pictures in his spare time of his family and other things.

Jonathan is open-minded and believes that opinions matter, as he told Will that someone shouldn't like something because someone told them so. This even further extends to his friendship with Nancy, as her relationship with Steve deals with being part of the popular crowd. Jonathan shows himself to be dependable, as he always puts everything down to help others, notably helping his mother with money, and helping Nancy expose Hawkins Laboratory for what they did.



  • Jonathan and Steve are somewhat similar, as both their fathers were not likeable people.
  • He appears to have a soft spot for animals, as killing the rabbit as a child left him in sorrow for week.
  • Charlie Heaton is the second actor in the Stranger Things cast to play a superhero, as David Harbour played Hellboy in the titular 2019 film.
  • He appears to have a love for the 1981 film, The Evil Dead, as he has a poster of it in his room.
  • According to Stranger Things Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion, he is a member of the Photography Club, the School Newspaper, and the Yearbook Club.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+