Fans of Netflix’s Stranger Things were ecstatic when actor Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers on the show, finally said the title out loud. The 17-year-old star confirmed in a new interview with Variety that his character, Will Byers, wants to be more than pals with his childhood pal Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard).
“Now it’s 100% clear that he is gay and he does love Mike,” Schnapp remarks, adding that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer have gradually made that clear over the show’s run. “It was a slow arc. I think it is done so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay.”
Throughout the season, Will’s true feelings were implied. They came out more clearly in a key scene from the penultimate episode. In this scene, he comforted his friend after Mike talked about his fears of losing his girlfriend, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).
“These past few months, she’s been so lost without you,” Will says, clearly talking about himself. “She’s so different from other people, and when you’re different sometimes you feel like a mistake. But you make her feel like she’s not a mistake at all … and that gives her the courage to fight on … So yeah, El needs you Mike: and she always will.”
Many fans took that sequence as confirmation of Will’s sexuality. However, Schnapp initially refused to give a definitive answer. “I feel like they never really address it or blatantly say how Will is,” the actor said in another Variety interview from May. “I think that’s the beauty of it, that it’s just up to the audience’s interpretation, if it’s Will kind of just refusing to grow up and growing up slower than his friends, or if he is really gay.”
“Years ago in Season 1, I didn’t know where the Duffers wanted to go with this character,” he says in his latest Variety interview. “So I was kind of figuring it out along with the audience. But now that I’ve spoken to them and seen the show, I know what they want to do with it.”
Schnapp also reveals that another key moment in Will’s journey — his emotional conversation with his older brother, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), in the Season 4 finale was made up on the fly. “It was only until after I did the scene of me in the van, where they saw me crying and the protectiveness that you see with Jonathan looking in the rearview mirror. They were like, we need a scene with that. So they wrote it as we were filming.”
“It’s also very important for people to see that Will is not alone,” Schnapp continues. “Because all we ever see of him is struggling and feeling depressed and that he can’t be himself. Jonathan is talking to him in code — it’s just the perfect way to tell someone like Will that he cares about him and he accepts him no matter what. I think it was really wholesome.”
Social media users are both happy and surprised that Will is finally living his truth.
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