Noah Schnapp confirmed what we already knew in our hearts to be true.
The cast of child actors from Stranger Things began to come of age in the latest Season 4 of the series, and along with seeing the characters grow up physically, fans are also seeing the show dig into other elements of their identities. Viewers have long speculated that the character Will is queer, and this week, actor Noah Schnapp spoke about the topic in definitive terms.
“He is gay, and he does love Mike,” Schnapp admitted in an interview with Variety, revealing a truth about his mysterious character. In a previous interview leading up to this season, Schnapp had held those cards a little closer to the chest though, saying that Will’s sexuality was “up to the audience’s interpretation.” But now that his character arc in the last two episodes has aired, he can be more candid about Will’s reality without spoiling anything for viewers.
On playing Will throughout his evolution, Schnapp said this season was different. “I was used to acting him [dealing] with the Mind Flayer, the supernatural aspects and the darker, kind of non-personal stuff. This season was a new thing for me,” he explained. “I had to explore him navigating his personal identity issues and struggling with growing up and assimilating into high school.” He said that Will’s sexuality has been hinted at since the first season, with writers slowly developing it. “I think for Season 4, it was just me playing this character who 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.”
Schnapp praised series writers for baking Will’s identity journey in from the start, “writing this real character” instead “mak(ing) a character just like all of a sudden be gay.” He thinks fans identify with Will’s struggles to find community in this season. “All his friends, they all have girlfriends and they all fit into their different clubs. Will has never really found anywhere to fit in. I think that’s why so many people come up to me and tell me that they love Will and they resonate with him so much, because it’s such a real character.”
While all of the characters on Stranger Things have a special outsiderness to them, Will’s journey with his sexual identity adds richness to his tapestry as part of the ensemble. And with the rumors of him being a queer character finally becoming concrete, we’re happy to see queer representation in one of TV’s biggest shows.