This won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s spent lots of time in the Upside Down, though in the past, Schnapp has declined to comment on his character’s sexuality, saying, “It’s up to the audience’s interpretation.” That was a bluff, he has now admitted, in an attempt to avoid spoilers about Season 4.
“Obviously, it was hinted at in Season 1,” Schnapp said of Will’s identity. “It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends? 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.”
He continued, “I think it is done so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay. People have come up to me — 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.’ That just made me so happy to hear. They are writing this real character and this real journey and real struggle and they’re doing it so well.”
Schnapp added that he has enjoyed the acting challenge of Will Byers, in large part because an inability to come out is just one of his issues. “I really have to take into account, like, this isn’t just a single layer thing of he’s struggling with coming out. It’s this multifaceted trauma that goes years back, because he was taken by the Demogorgon and then his friends, they never acknowledged him, and now he’s scared to come out and doesn’t know if they’ll accept him. And then Eleven is like his sister, but he doesn’t want to hurt her because if he says he likes Mike, that’s gonna hurt her feelings. There’s all these things running in his mind. So I kind of just have to make sure that I’m conveying the depth of all his traumas.”
Stranger Things Season 4, Part 2 debuted July 1st. The show has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. The saga will end with Season 5, but creators the Duffer Brothers have already planned out a spinoff and stage play.