Stranger Things season 4 has left the viewers wondering about a lot of things. Neither the actors nor the directors of the horror fiction series had answered our doubts previously; rather, they left it as ‘it was up to the audience’s interpretation’. However, in the most recent news of Stranger Things season 4, Noah Schnapp, who played the role of Will Byers, spiked the excitement of the viewers and answered one of the major conundrums of the four seasons.
Schnapp confirmed that Will Byers is gay, which was subject to interpretations and hinted at frequently until this announcement. Previously, Schnapp would dodge the questions because the actor mentioned that Will’s coming out of the closet would be a part of Season 4, even though the character in the series did not say it outright.
In conversation with Variety, Schnapp says, “It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends?” The actor further mentioned, “Now that he’s gotten older, they made it a very real, obvious thing. 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.”
The scene (you can check it out below) that Noah thinks ‘solidifies the truth’ about Will’s identity is when Will starts to feel jealous about Mike’s relationship with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and couldn’t help himself from saying, ‘Sometimes when you’re different you feel like a mistake’.
Surprisingly, Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of Stranger Things, always had this character arc of Will Byers in their minds from the beginning. According to Noah Schnapp, he finally realizes all the minute things he initially missed from the beginning. He says, “Years ago in Season 1, I didn’t know where the Duffers wanted to go with this character.”
If you are a true fan of Stranger Things, then you’d know that Will Byer’s sexuality has always been a subject of interpretation and placed under scrutiny throughout the four seasons. From the beginning itself, people have hinted at Byers’ gender identity as gay. In season 1, Will’s mom, Joyce, tells the Chief of Police, Jim Hopper, concerning Will’s father that he ‘used to say Will was queer’ and used to call him slurs. With the advancement of the series and the subsequent ages of the characters, we find Will’s friends indulging in heterosexual relationships while Will remains single. In Season 3, Mike, whose role is being played by Finn Wolfhard, says to Will, ‘It’s not my fault that you don’t like girls.’
With this ensued a slew of fan theories suspecting Will Byers as gay and secretly in love with his best friend, which is now confirmed after Season 4. However, not mentioning Will’s identity as explicit and outright in the series has made the directors subject to a lot of criticism, one of them being queerbaiting. Queerbaiting implies the act of suggesting that there might be a homosexual relationship between two characters without actually portraying a homosexual relation.
leaving such identities unexplored and open to such interpretation is not the masterstroke they think it is https://t.co/4sm5NieVJi
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) May 31, 2022
stranger things had the opportunity to make an insane amount of progress for lgbtq+ representation in mainstream media, and yet it chose to queerbait its audience like everyone else
when will queer representation be taken as seriously as straight representation?#StrangerThings4
— the byers bowlcut 💕 (@angelicbyler) July 1, 2022
Nevertheless, with the official announcement of Will Byers being gay, the series has caused a ripple effect in the viewers and added to the anticipation, which will achieve its fruition in season 5.
Stranger Things is available on Netflix for streaming.