|Relationships:||Mike Wheeler (brother), Holly Wheeler (sister), Karen Wheeler (mother), Ted Wheeler (father), Jonathan Byers (boyfriend), Steve Harrington (ex-boyfriend), Barbara Holland (best friend)|
|Other:||Played by Natalia Dyer|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Nancy Wheeler is a character from Stranger Things who finds herself in the plot because her brother's best friend disappears along with her own best friend. Based on Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy is widely considered to be the Duffer Brothers' commentary on final girls within the horror genre.
Nancy starts Season 1 as the good girl with a perfect GPA. Nancy's guilt over Barb dying while she was making out with Steve Harrington, as well as her dedication to uncovering the truth, drives some of the plotlines of each of the show's seasons.
By season 4, she has become not only an investigator but also a action hero who doesn't hesitate to run straight into danger while expertly wielding firearms.
Because Nancy is a strong and independent female character, many fans gravitated toward her as a favorite even early on in the show's run. She is often depicted as the "brains" in Stranger Things fic, likely due to the fact that she takes a similar role in canon. She is also frequently written as an investigative journalist or war reporter in futurefic.
Like many female characters, Nancy's most popular ship on AO3 is not a pairing involving her, but the Juggernaut Ship of Steddie. This is likely due to being a member of the fanon group Fruity Four and often in these fics Nancy is positioned as a support figure for Steve or as a false obstacle to a relationship with Steve, as perceived by Eddie. Usually when Nancy appears in Steddie fic, Jonathan is conveniently written out and she is paired with Robin Buckley. Also in the top 5 most popular ships for Nancy is Byler. In Byler fic, Nancy mostly appears as Mike Wheeler's older sister and more frequently is still paired with Jonathan for a sort of "double date" situation.
As of Sept 2022, the most popular Nancy ships on AO3 were:
- Robin Buckley/Nancy Wheeler : [3300+ uses. The femmeslash pairing took off after S4, which saw the two characters paired up on several occasions and fleshed out their relationship. The pairing also often appears as a side pairing in Steve/Eddie stories.
- Jonathan Byers/Nancy Wheeler: 3400+ uses, canon pairing in S3 & S4, frequently a background or side pairing.
- Nancy Wheeler/Jonathan Byers/Steve Harrington: 1000+ uses, popular fanon threesome or OT3 pairing after the end of S1, a typical fandom response to the love triangle implied by the show's canon.
- Tie a Yellow Ribbon by ghostlin (2016, post S1 Jonathan/Steve/Nancy)
- Have Happened by cortexikid (2017, post S1 Jonathan/Steve/Nancy)
- Baby, Baby by Sholio (2017, Steve/Nancy)
- life is so strange (destination unknown) by socialfilter (2022, Robin/Nancy epic WIP set during S4)
- honey by annabeeus (2022, post-s4 Robin/Nancy)
- (Podfic) hidden shelters by marianas (2017, post s1 Jonathan/Nancy)
- (podfic) Ghostbusters R Us by growlery (2016, Jonathan/Steve/Nancy)
Graphics and Gifsets
Archives and Links
- Stranger Things' Goes Retro With 'Elm Street' Nancy Tribute. Posted 11 Aug 2017. Accessed 8 Jun 2023.
- In praise of Nancy Wheeler, the unsung feminist heroine of 'Stranger Things’. Posted 16 Aug 2016. Accessed 8 Jun 2023.
- Nancy as the final girl? Posted 2 Jun 2022. Accessed 8 Jun 2023.
- Tweet from @FCRTYSCTRL: nancy wheeler is just THAT final girl. Posted 1 Jul 2022. Accessed 8 Jun 2023.
- Nancy Wheeler Tag on AO3. Accessed 8 Jun 2023.