In an interview with Variety magazine on Thursday, actor Noah Schnapp confirmed that his Stranger Things character Will Byers is gay.

There has been much speculation about Will Byers’ sexuality since season 1 of the American science-fiction horror drama television series was brought to screens in 2016. The actor had previously left his character’s sexual orientation up for interpretation, amidst fan questions and rumours of Byers being gay.

In a past interview, Schnapp described public opinion as wanting to label his character’s sexuality and that there wasn’t a need to rush to such conclusions. “I find that people do reach to put a label on him and just want to know, so badly, like, ‘Oh, and this is it.’ He’s just confused and growing up and that’s what it is to be a kid,” Schnapp explained. 

Following the release of season 4 volume 2, Schnapp confirmed Will’s sexuality, explaining that he wanted to prevent any spoilers from coming out until things became clearer in the newer episodes. 

‘They Made it a Very Real, Obvious Thing’

Schnapp told Variety, “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,” Prior to this, the actor described the personal narrative as one that was built on a “slow arc.” He praised the way that the storyline was curated, adding that it was done “so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay.”

The actor recalled two points within the most recent season that were vital in understanding Will’s state of mind which called for personal growth. One of these scenes was Will and Mike’s van ride which solidified the “truth” of “loving his best friend” while not knowing how to tell him (Mike). 

The other scene involved Will’s conversation with his brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) during the season finale. “It’s also very important for people to see that Will is not alone — because all we ever see of him is struggling and feeling depressed and that he can’t be himself,” Schnapp said. “Jonathan is talking to him in code — it’s just the perfect way to tell someone like Will that he cares about him and he accepts him no matter what.”

Schnapp spoke about fan interactions and the support that he received from playing a character like Will. “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,” he said. 

Journey of Self-Discovery

Schnapp described the journey of self-discovery in playing a character who was struggling with figuring out his identity, and how this was paralleled with his own life. “I think it’s all just part of the challenge of acting,” he said. “Like, yes, it has been a challenge, but I think it’s just been fun to be able to step into his shoes. Because I really have to take into account, like, this isn’t just a single layer thing of he’s struggling with coming out.”

Fans have taken this news with major excitement, with people posting to social media their glee at the Stranger Things character acknowledged as canonically gay. 

One Twitter user @willbyers_lover said, “Noah schnapp confirming will byers is gay and in love with mike on a random thursday night is the best thing ever.” 

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