‘Stranger Things’ star Noah Schnapp: Will Byers is gay and loves this fellow character

A teenager wearing a white dress shirt with gray stripes and a navy blue jacket
Noah Schnapp has confirmed speculation about his “Stranger Things” character.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

Noah Schnapp is letting the world know that his “Stranger Things” character, Will Byers, is gay.

In an interview with Variety published Thursday, the 17-year-old actor confirmed his character’s sexual orientation and revealed his true feelings for Finn Wolfhard’s Mike Wheeler.

“I mean, it’s pretty clear this season that Will has feelings for Mike,” Schnapp said. “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. Will has always felt like that.”

Schnapp’s latest comments seemingly clarified what he told Variety about the character in May.

“I feel like they never really address it or blatantly say how Will is,” he said back then. “I think that’s the beauty of it, that it’s just up to the audience’s interpretation.”


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But Schnapp made clear that the truth about Will’s sexuality didn’t come out of the blue.

“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,” he said in Variety’s latest story. “But before, it was a slow arc. I think it is done so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay.”

Schnapp noted that the character’s slow but steady self-realization added a layer of relatability and realism to the arc.

“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,’” Schnapp recalled. “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.”

He also pointed to two of Season 4’s most emotionally charged scenes as important developments for Will’s growth and personal understanding.

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The first was Will’s silently emotional van ride scene with Mike in the latest season’s finale.

“This scene was really important for him, because it really solidified that truth, that he loves his best friend and he doesn’t know how to tell him,” Schnapp said.

The more blatant and reassuring scene was Will’s moving conversation with his brother, Jonathan (played by Charlie Heaton), also in 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 also talked about what it was like portraying a character struggling with identity while in real life still trying to figure himself out.

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“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.”

Elsewhere in Variety’s interview, Schnapp addressed the fallout after he recently shared private messages from rapper Doja Cat in which she asked Schnapp to connect her with his “Stranger Things” co-star Joseph Quinn.

“Yeah, I mean, look, I’m super unserious on social media and pretty goofy, so I posted that not thinking too much of it, but obviously it hurt her feelings. So, as I should, I apologized and she was totally okay with it, and was like, ‘I’m sorry how I reacted,’” Schnapp said. “People make such a big deal out of everything when it’s on the internet, but, like, in reality, it’s like a two-minute thing.”