Stranger Things fans want to know if the character Will Byers is gay, but a past comment from actor Noah Schnapp shares an important perspective on the conversation. (Of course, Spoilers for season 3 of Stranger Things are down below).
LGBTQ fans and fans of LGBTQ content are abuzz after watching the third season of Netflix flagship show Stranger Things. Not only does the show introduce an LGBTQ character but there are rumblings of another one within its main cast.
Season 3 sees the core group of characters becoming young teenagers. There are two couples within the group and puberty has set in with a fury. Unfortunately for Will, his friends would rather hang out with their girlfriends than hang out with him. But he tries anyway.
One scene sees Will as he tries to set up a game of and play Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, but Mike and Lucas are distracted with talk about their girlfriends. Will then eventually storms out but is later followed by Mike.
Will then argues that the guys are breaking the group up because they don’t care about anything except “swapping spit with some stupid girls[s],” which prompts Mike to say, “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls.”
The line itself doesn’t give too much away, but Will’s stunned look spoke wonders. It’s the unspoken meaning that heated up already existant questions over Will’s sexuality. In fact, some fans have wondered since season one about whether or not Will Byers was gay. The conversation became so frequent that Will’s actor Noah Schnapp eventually stepped in.
Nearly three years ago, Noah jumped into his Instagram comments to share that Will’s sexuality isn’t as important as we’re making it out to be.
“So, I thought it would be time to jump into the conversation,” Noah wrote. “I’ve been reading stuff for a while. I think everyone here is missing the point.”
“An author called Gary Schmidt came to speak at our school this week and said that good stories aren’t supposed to leave you with answers because then you never question yourself and you for get about it,” he continued. “A good book, or a good show, leaves a lot of unanswered questions but makes you think.”
“For me,” Noah wrote, “Will being gay or not is beside the point. Stranger Things is a show about a bunch of kids who are outsiders and find each other because they have been bullied in some way or are different. Does being sensitive, or a loner, or a teenager who liked photography, or a girl with red hair and big glasses make you gay?”
“I’m only 12 but I do know we all related to being different,” Noah, who’s now 14, touchingly added. “And that’s why I think the Duffers wrote the show the way they did. So you can ask all these questions. I hope the real answer never comes out!”
Such a nuanced response and mentality from someone who wasn’t even a teenager yet. But, would Schnapp’s words stand true today?
It’s true that the scene described above was made to leave room for interpretation. But with a fourth season announcement almost guaranteed in the near future (Netflix wouldn’t cut off its most popular show!), there certainly room in the future to explore this topic more openly. And with the other characters knee deep in teenage angst and romance, it’s only fair to give Will a turn. Perhaps the scene was just the writers testing the waters.
But that said, Will’s sexuality isn’t his entire being. While we may or may not find out whether he likes boys, is late on liking girls, or maybe is asexual, we all appreciate and love the social outcast that is Will Byers.
For a character who feels awkward even within his group of friends, it seems there’s a lot of people who can’t help but love him and want to see more going on with him. And that’s the most important part of this whole conversation.