Noah Schnapp Confirms His Stranger Things Character Will Byers Is Gay
Last May, when the first half of Stranger Things’ fourth season dropped, Noah Schnapp was vague when Variety asked if many viewers were correct when they inferred that his character Will was gay: The actor said that Will’s sexuality was “up to the audience’s interpretation.” But now that the full season is out, and his feelings for his best friend, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), became more overt, Schapp confirmed Will’s homosexuality, telling Variety that he had been less straightforward earlier to prevent doling out spoilers before things became clear in the new episodes. “Now that he’s gotten older, they made it a very real, obvious thing. Now it’s 100 percent clear that he is gay and he does love Mike,” Schnapp explained. “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.”
Fans have been curious about Will’s sexuality since the show began in 2016. In 2018, a Stranger Things companion book contained an early outline of the show by the Duffer Brothers: While the early pitch had key differences from what the show eventually came to be (its title and setting, for example), , it did list a character named, “Will Byers, twelve, [who] is a sweet, sensitive kid with sexual identity issues,” it read.
This was surfaced in response to a line in the third season that had sparked additional theories. During an argument with Will, Mike says, “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls,” and though Wolfhard downplayed whether the line was explicitly about Will’s sexuality in a Hollywood Reporter interview, it kept the topic on people’s minds. But season four is more explicit, including scenes where Will talks about Eleven and Mike’s relationship as a proxy for himself. “When you’re different, sometimes you feel like a mistake. 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,” he says; this is followed by an emotional, supportive conversation with his older brother, Jonathan.
“It’s pretty clear this season that Will has feelings for Mike,” Schnapp told Variety in his recent, more straightforward interview. “They’ve been intentionally pulling that out over the past few seasons. Even in Season 1, they hinted at that and slowly, slowly grew that storyline. I think for Season 4, it was just me playing this character who loves his best friend but struggles with knowing if he’ll be accepted or not, and feeling like a mistake and like he doesn’t belong.”
Schnapp was also asked about a much-discussed, since-deleted TikTok he shared that featured a DM conversation where Doja Cat asked him if his co-star Joseph Quinn is single, and he told her to “slide into his DMs.” The frustrated musician later described his behavior as “borderline snake shit,” though Schnapp told Variety that he had apologized and the two were back on good terms.
“I posted that not thinking too much of it, but obviously it hurt her feelings. So, as I should, I apologized and she was totally okay with it, and was like, ‘I’m sorry how I reacted,’” Schapp said. “It was all good. I love her. I’m like the biggest fan of her music, and I told her that. I was like, you’re literally my role model. It’s all good.”