May 2022, saw the release of the much-anticipated Stranger Things, season 4. Released in 2 volumes across 2 months(May-July). The new season’s storyline picks up from 2019’s Stranger Things season 3. The new edition of the American science fiction horror drama series brought back the unanimously loved cast. With a cast comprising of veterans like Winona Ryder and David Harbour alongside teenage newcomers Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo among others. The success of the first season was under speculation. Nonetheless, over its 3 seasons, these teen actors had made their way into the viewers’ hearts and minds.
With the entirety of the teen cast of season 1, aging gracefully with the seasons. These actors have turned into young adults. More sensible, savvy, and subtle, these kids have grown into celebrities with fan followings of millions. One such celebrity is Noah Schnapp. Will Byers, the character Noah plays was pivotal for the first season’s storyline but fizzless out as an afterthought of writers throughout other seasons. A different character insight to Stranger Things’ Will was recent, confirmed by Noah himself.
Will Byers is gay. Noah Schnapp confirms
Will throughout the series is portrayed as a timid, friendly, and introverted kid. While all other male characters in Will’s group in the series namely Mike, Dustin, and Lucas have their fair share of teenage romance and crush scenes, with characters of opposite genders. Will lacks any such storyline, nonetheless, the show has all along pushed the narrative that Will is “different” in some way. From his mother’s overprotectiveness in season 1 to his inability to get back into his friend group after returning from the Upside down. Schnapp in a recent interview addressed this otherness saying, “He just wants his best friend back and wants it to be like what it was in Season 1 when they were playing D&D in his basement.”
“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 all of a sudden be gay… They are writing this real character and this real journey and struggle, and they’re doing it well.” Noah Schnapp was further quoted saying.
A token character or a writing masterclass?
Despite subtleties of Will’s sexuality, fans were left disappointed with every passing episode. As Will continued to his true identity and profess his love for his best friend, Mike. While it’s important to demand the proper representation of LGBTQ+ communities and expect writers to not shy away from their inevitable existence. It must be realized that the writers had not just made the character up for the sake of it but built the entire character arc around Will’s sexuality.
While fans demanding Will to come out of the closet as the season progresses is a sign of appreciation and support for the creators. According to the storyline, fans must realize that it’s a real-life nightmare for Will to explicitly proclaim his sexuality to friends and family. On top of that, Stranger Things takes place in the ’80s when being gay wasn’t nearly as accepted as it is today. Schnapp allows that Will, “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. Will has always felt like that.”
Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.