Following the release of Volume 2 of Stranger Things season 4, Noah Schnapp is discussing Will’s sexuality after fans around the world saw that pivotal van scene between Will and Mike. After cryptic words from the cast and the Duffer Brothers for years, Noah is putting it on record: Will is gay.
“Obviously, it was hinted at in season 1: It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends? Now that he’s gotten older, they made it a very real, obvious thing,” Noah told Variety. “Now it’s 100% clear that he is gay and he does love Mike. But before, 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.”
He added, “People have come up to me — I was just in Paris and this, like, 40-year-old man came up to me and he was like, ‘Wow, this Will character made me feel so good. And I related to it so much. That is exactly who I was when I was a kid.’ That just made me so happy to hear. They are writing this real character and this real journey and real struggle and they’re doing it so well.”
Noah has been asked about Will’s sexuality a number of times over the past few years. Back in 2020, Noah told THR that it was “kind of up to the audience” how they perceived Will’s sexuality. “Some people perceive it as Will could be gay, asexual, or whatever. Or, like how I see it, he was stuck in the Upside Down, and he was away for so long that all of his friends started growing up while he was in this other world,” the actor said at the time.
The 17-year-old admitted that he had been trying to figure out Will’s sexuality along with the audience up until recently. “Years ago in season 1, I didn’t know where the Duffers wanted to go with this character,” Noah said in his 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. They obviously don’t tell me anything, either. I’m always spoiling stuff, so they will never share anything with me. So it’s a lot of figuring it out on my own. And kind of realizing later on like, ‘Oh this makes sense and this was intentional.’”
One of the best and most pivotal scenes of season 4 featured Will trying to encourage Mike to stay strong for Eleven by showing him his secret painting. Will told Mike that Eleven had been “so lost” without him. “It’s just, she’s so different from other people, and when you’re different, sometimes you feel like a mistake,” Will said as he teared up. “But you make her feel like she’s not a mistake at all. Like she’s better for being different, and that gives her the courage to fight on.”
As Mike’s confidence and courage rose, Will turned away from his best friend and cried. Everything that Will said about Eleven to Mike came straight from Will’s heart. Noah’s incredibly nuanced performance showed the actor’s vast range at just 17 years old. Later, Will and Jonathan shared a heartfelt moment where Jonathan told his brother that he’ll always be there for him “no matter what,” acknowledging what Will has yet to say openly.
Will hasn’t come out to his friends or family yet. Noah also pointed out that “this isn’t just a single layer thing of he’s struggling with coming out. It’s this multifaceted trauma that goes years back, because he was taken by the Demogorgon and then his friends, they never acknowledged him, and now he’s scared to come out and doesn’t know if they’ll accept him. And then Eleven is like his sister, but he doesn’t want to hurt her because if he says he likes Mike, that’s gonna hurt her feelings. There’s all these things running in his mind. So I kind of just have to make sure that I’m conveying the depth of all his traumas.”
Stranger Things has been renewed for a fifth and final season. Season 4 ended with Will fearful of what Vecna may have in store for them next. Will admitted to Mike that Vecna was “still alive” and won’t stop until he’s “taken everything.” Noah revealed that he’s been told by the Duffer Brothers that season 5 is “going to focus more on Will and build that storyline.” Season 5 will definitely be Will Byers’ season, that’s for sure.