Viewers of the science-fiction horror show Stranger Things have been wondering about Will Byers’ sexuality since the show’s premiere in 2016. Fans believe that latest volume of the show has confirmed what they knew all along – Will is queer.
Speculation about Will Byers’ (played by Noah Schnapp) sexuality has been a topic of conversation with fans of the hit show Stranger Things. Will’s relationship with his best friend has seen him pining for Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) throughout the course of the series.
Clues In The Series
Clues have been peppered throughout the series, revealing itself in Will’s frustration with Mike for spending more time with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), a fiery dungeon and dragons game, and a painting project that Will has been working on which isn’t revealed until the penultimate episode of season 4.
Will reacts to this by leaving the basement in a flurry. When Mike reasons that they’re not in the mood to play the fantasy game, Will accuses him and Lucas of breaking the friend group up because they’re only interested in “swapping spit with some stupid girls”. Mike responds in turn by stating, “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls.”
Season 4 Confirms Will’s Sexuality?
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In the latest volume of the series, though the show is not explicit in confirming Will’s sexuality, there are more hints to this within the subtext of two major scenes.
In the first episode of volume 4, Will appears shocked when a girl shows her interest and tries to flirt with him. Then, in episode 5 Mike and Will have a heart-to-heart where Will adds, “Sometimes I think it’s just scary to open up like that, to say how you really feel especially to people you care about the most…because what if they don’t like the truth?” This has been viewed by fans as Will alluding to his sexuality and his fear of telling Mike how he truly feels for him.
In episode 8, Will finally reveals the painting that he has been working on which shows Mike as a heroic knight sporting a shield emblazoned with a heart. Will tells Mike that El commissioned the painting and he is the “heart” of the group.
‘I’m Here And I’ll Always Be Here’
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“If she was mean to you or she seemed like she was pushing you away, it’s because she’s scared of losing you like you’re scared of losing her. And, if she was going to lose you, I think she’d rather just get it over with quick. Like ripping off a band-aid. So yeah, El needs you Mike and she always will,” says a teary-eyed Will as he turns and looks out of the window of the pizza delivery van they are travelling in.
Will’s brother Jonathan, who is in the front seat and witnesses the conversation, gives a knowing look.
Will later also has a candid conversation with brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) who reassures him and says, “I don’t want you to forget that I’m here and I’ll always be here no matter what because you’re my brother and I love you and there is nothing in this world, okay? Absolutely nothing in this world that will ever change that. You got that?”
Noah Schnapp has responded to criticism surrounding Will’s sexuality
Some fans criticised the lack of explicit mention of Will’s sexuality, with a caption on a now deleted TikTok video saying, “Incredibly disappointing that this is the route they decided to take with Will’s sexuality. It’s just so vile that everything has to be a metaphor?? I’m so tired of vague coming out scenes in the media that simply should’ve had confirmation to begin with. Will deserved to have his coming out scene with Jonathan. Will deserved to explain his painting to Mike without it being twisted into some sort of plot device for a straight couple.”
Schnapp defended the show’s choice by responding with, “First of all, it’s the 80s and the kid’s a FRESHMAN in [high school]. Let them slowly develop the plot and when he does come out, it will be really special and real.”
Another fan agreed and said in a tweet, “stranger things clearly isn’t queer baiting. he’s completely right, will is 14, and it’s the 80s. a time where being gay especially being a gay man was considered extremely shameful. It makes total sense that he has not come out yet-”.