“Outer Banks” cast and character guide: All about Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline, and more

Everything you need to know about the stars of Netflix's binge-worthy mystery drama.

<p>JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX</p> Madelyn Cline, Rudy Pankow, Jonathan Daviss, Chase Stokes, and Madison Bailey on


Madelyn Cline, Rudy Pankow, Jonathan Daviss, Chase Stokes, and Madison Bailey on 'Outer Banks'

Have you been watching Outer Banks? If the answer is "no," we hate to tell you this, but you've been missing out on one of the hottest shows on Netflix.

Fortunately, it's not too late for you to start binge-watching and catch up ahead of season 4, which arrives sometime in 2024. But whether you don't know your Kooks (those who come from money) from your Pogues (those who live in the Cut/come from working-class families) or you've watched every season since the series first dropped in 2020, you might need a little assistance getting up to speed. To help you out, here is our complete guide to the main cast and characters of Outer Banks.

Chase Stokes (John B. Routledge)

<p>JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX; Leah Puttkammer/FilmMagic</p> John B. Routledge; Chase Stokes

JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX; Leah Puttkammer/FilmMagic

John B. Routledge; Chase Stokes

One of the most fascinating things about Chase Stokes' time on Outer Banks is that he originally didn't want to star on the show, and even initially turned down the role of John B. He was worried that it would be a bit too much like The Goonies, but once he decided that he needed steady work, he opted to try for the role of Topper instead. The audition was a complete disaster, but the casting director recognized the young man's talent and extended to him the role of John B. once more. Stokes finally accepted the offer, and the Outer Banks fandom is very, very glad he did so.

In the show, John B. serves as our main character, and it's his personal journey that helps kick the series off. When his father disappears, John B. is left to find him, and, if needed, take revenge on whoever might have killed him. Despite this serious origin story, John B. is defined mostly by his charm and cleverness; his ability to talk himself out of disasters with the same passionate intensity that he talks himself into them is one that kept both his friends and the show's audience captivated for years.

RELATED: Chase Stokes had one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day filming Outer Banks

Madelyn Cline (Sarah Cameron)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Sarah Cameron; Madelyn Cline

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Karwai Tang/WireImage

Sarah Cameron; Madelyn Cline

When they coined the term "rising star," it was always meant to describe people like Madelyn Cline. She's effectively worked herself up the Hollywood ranks, parlaying her small role as Tina in the second season of Stranger Things into larger roles in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Outer Banks.

Cline's time on the show has impacted her personally and professionally, with her and Chase Stokes dating from 2020 to 2021. "We had a working relationship before we had a personal relationship, and our job from day one has always been to leave the show better than we found it," Cline told EW in 2023.

Outer Banks effectively utilizes Cline's experience and range as she brings her character of Sarah Cameron to life. She has a stronger arc than most characters because she must navigate a shift between social groups (from Kook to Pogue, specifically) and a shift in relationships, romancing the Pogue leader and dealing with a nasty falling out with her father. Cline makes every nail-biting decision look effortless, and her passionate intensity often electrifies audiences.

Madison Bailey (Kiara "Kie" Carrera)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty</p> Kiara "Kie" Carrera; Madison Bailey

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Kiara "Kie" Carrera; Madison Bailey

While her role in Outer Banks isn't as meaty as Madelyn Cline's, Madison Bailey plays a character who must similarly navigate some tricky social dynamics. Kiara "Kie" Carrera's wealthy family wants what's best for her, but they don't understand her affection and friendship with the Pogues. Because of that, they often drive her further into the very group with whom they worry she is spending too much time.

"When we were filming, we knew we were making something special," Bailey told EW in 2020. "It's like if we were hanging out and somebody was filming it, and then having a ton of other people watching it and being able to feel the comfortability and feel the whole vibe, it's really exciting."

The superhero genre defined Kie's earlier roles, as she appeared on Constantine and Black Lightning before pivoting to horror with guest roles on Creepshow and American Horror Stories. Outer Banks, as a kind of fusion of the fantastic and the fatalistic, ended up being a perfect match for her skills and experience.

Rudy Pankow (JJ Maybank)

<p>JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX; Donato Sardella/Getty</p> JJ Maybank; Rudy Pankow


JJ Maybank; Rudy Pankow

Rudy Pankow's JJ Maybank is both hardheaded and bighearted, and he always seems eager to fight his way out of difficult situations. "It really creates for an amazing fun ride," Pankow told EW in 2021, "and you can't ask for a more action-packed fun show to be a part of." However, with his head full of steam, he can rarely disguise the traumatic past and self-loathing that is at his core.

Like many of his young costars, Pankow had a scattershot history of roles, including shorts, music videos, and minor parts on TV shows like Solve and The Politician. Outer Banks helped show the world what this actor can do, and it all came naturally to him: As Pankow likes to say, he hails from Ketchikan, Alaska, a place that he likens to the Outer Banks we see on the series.

Jonathan Daviss (Pope Heyward)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Anna Webber/Variety via Getty</p> Jonathan Daviss (Pope Heyward)

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Anna Webber/Variety via Getty

Jonathan Daviss (Pope Heyward)

Jonathan Daviss' Pope Heyward is an outsider, but not for the usual reasons: Due to Pope's great intelligence and ability to think on his feet, it always looks like he has a big future waiting for him somewhere far outside the Outer Banks area. Yet, his loyalty to his friends and his eventual willingness to tap into his hidden wild side keep him right where he is, and Heyward seems to thrive on the chaos.

Daviss only had a handful of credits to his name before coming to Outer Banks, including roles in movies like Deliverance Creek (2014) and Edge of the World (2018). The actor has been making the most of his time on the show. "Not everybody gets to have a bond like that with people they work with," Daviss told PEOPLE in 2023. "So I'm just happy to be able to say I'm one of those people who are one of the lucky ones."

Charles Halford (Big John Routledge)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Charley Gallay/Getty </p> Charles Halford (Big John Routledge)

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Charley Gallay/Getty

Charles Halford (Big John Routledge)

If you watch enough television, you can recognize certain tropes very easily. Therefore, it wasn't too surprising to fans when John B.'s father, who was missing and presumed dead, showed up very much alive. What was a surprise, though, is how well Charles Halford brought Big John Routledge to life. This is a character who must constantly balance his affection for hunting treasure with his love for his son, and the war between his impulses makes each onscreen appearance more layered than the previous one. "I feel like I had a lot to draw from," Halford told Daily Bruin in 2023, "just a father on a treasure (hunt) to provide for his son."

Perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised at the caliber of his performance — unlike his younger costars, Halford has had dozens of roles across many years in the industry. He's done plenty of television work, including True Detective and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and he knows genre storytelling very well thanks to his time on Constantine, Lucifer, and The Walking Dead, while lending his voice acting talents to various DC animated movies.

Carlacia Grant (Cleo)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Stefanie Keenan/Getty</p> Cleo; Carlacia Grant

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Cleo; Carlacia Grant

Carlacia Grant didn't appear on Outer Banks until the second season, but, once she showed up, it was difficult to imagine an episode without her. Apparently, the producers agreed: They made her a series regular starting in season 3. She is so great in this role that it's difficult to imagine that it was just a few years ago that began her career with a small part in the 2016 Roots miniseries. After making an impression on other TV shows such as Game of Silence and Greenleaf, she took her career to the next level by getting cast in Outer Banks.

On the show, Grant plays Cleo, who must fight for her position within the Pogues. She successfully does so, and her affection for Pope Heyward helps to cement her loyalty to this unlikely group, further emphasizing the show's message about the importance of found family. "She had to essentially raise herself and now she gets to accept all this love from people she didn't know," Grant told Cosmopolitan in 2023. "I think that one of her fears is a fear of love. I do feel like she has found her family."

Charles Esten (Ward Cameron)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Rebecca Sapp/Getty</p> Ward Cameron; Charles Esten

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Rebecca Sapp/Getty

Ward Cameron; Charles Esten

Charles Esten first made an impression on audiences as a recurring improviser on seasons 2–8 of Whose Line Is It Anyway followed by guest starring slots on shows like Married With Children and The Office. People mostly considered him a comedic actor, but his career shifted to more dramatic work with a compelling turn as musician Deacon Claybourne on Nashville, which kicked off his tenure as a singer-songwriter.

Outer Banks offers Esten the opportunity to project quiet menace. His Ward Cameron is what you get when pure evil is given a suburban sheen and enough money for a stellar PR team. Ward begins the show as the prime suspect in the disappearance of Big John Routledge, and subsequent episodes show why everyone was so quick to suspect a character who is seemingly beyond any hope of redemption.

"I'm not sure it's father, more uncle, maybe really old big brother," Esten told PEOPLE of his relationship with his costars. "They're very kind and they listen to some things and they're very kind about what they say about any lessons that the old guy has ever taught them just from being on the set together."

RELATED: Outer Banks star Charles Esten shares sweet story of his first TV role

Drew Starkey (Rafe Cameron)

<p>JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX; Steve Granitz/FilmMagic</p> Rafe Cameron; Drew Starkey


Rafe Cameron; Drew Starkey

Drew Starkey studied theater performance and English at Western Carolina University, graduating in 2016. From there, he hit the ground running, snagging roles in movies like Love, Simon (2018) and TV shows such as Ozark and the third season of Scream.

But, like many of his fellow stars, it was Outer Banks that helped put him on the map in a big way. On the show, Starkey plays Rafe Cameron, older brother of Sarah, and, more pertinently, son of the evil Ward Cameron. No show about young people would be complete without rebellion, and it's clear that Rafe doesn't want to be exactly like his pitiless patriarch. But, every season, we see more and more evidence that he won't hesitate to take shortcuts or screw people over, especially if he stands to benefit from doing so. "Obviously he's playing this antagonist role in the story," Starkey explained to EW in 2021. "But I just did my best to keep trying to understand who this guy is and hopefully try to explain why he's doing the things that he's doing."

Austin North (Topper)

<p>Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Daniel Boczarski/Getty</p> Topper; Austin North

Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix; Daniel Boczarski/Getty

Topper; Austin North

Austin North, who previously starred on the Disney Channel show I Didn't Do It, came into Outer Banks with a résumé of playing clean-cut good guys, and it's fun getting to see him play a perfect scumbag here.

On Outer Banks, North plays Topper, the so-called "King of the Kooks" who stands out for two reasons: his extreme wealth and his extreme skills at surfing. He's essentially the modern Netflix version of a bad guy from an '80s college comedy.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.