Is Will Byers gay on 'Stranger Things'? Actor Noah Schnapp weighs in

Fans have been curious about the character's sexuality—is Will Byers gay on 'Stranger Things' season 4?

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers in STRANGER THINGS
(Image credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix)

First, TV fans were wondering when we would get a Bridgerton queer character on the Regency-era hit. Now they're curious about the sexuality of another Netflix favorite: is Will Byers gay on Stranger Things?

Stranger Things season 4 premiered on the streaming platform on Friday, May 27, and the new episodes reignited a longstanding fan theory that Will Byers (played by actor Noah Schnapp) is dealing with a bit more than just getting stuck in alternate dimensions and having to fight off a new murderous monster every day of the week. He is struggling with his sexuality. 

Eagle-eyed viewers have been quick to point out moments in the fourth season that seemingly back up this hypothesis, including Will's awkward reaction to attention from female classmates at Lenora Hills High School to his choice of Alan Turing (an English mathematician and computer scientist who was famously convicted of and later pardoned for his homosexuality) as his "hero" for a school project. 

Another season 4 moment features an emotional chat between Will and best friend Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), during which the former reveals: "Sometimes I think it's just scary to open up like that, to say how you really feel, especially to people you care about the most because what if they don't like the truth?"

But what actually is the truth? What do we know about Will Byers' sexuality? Here's what the cast and creators have to say. 

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Is Will Byers gay on 'Stranger Things'?

The series has never commented definitively about Will's sexuality, a move that is supported by actor Noah Schnapp. "They never really address it or blatantly say how Will is," he said in a May Variety (opens in new tab) interview. "I think that’s the beauty of it, that it’s just up to the audience’s interpretation, if it’s Will kind of just refusing to grow up and growing up slower than his friends, or if he is really gay."

Castmate Millie Bobbie Brown concurred, telling the outlet: "It’s 2022 and we don’t have to label things.” 

She continued: "What’s really nice about Will’s character is that he’s just a human being going through his own personal demons and issues. So many kids out there don’t know, and that’s OK. That’s OK to not know. And that’s OK not to label things."

"Will is kind of like a zebra in a field of horses. He kind of stands out," Schnapp told the publication. "It’s just nice to see that and have that shown on ‘Stranger Things’ for fans to connect to and be able to relate to. Because so many of our viewers are young kids who are at that stage in their life."

In-depth discussions about Will's sexuality stretch back to season three when the character had a fight with Mike, who was choosing to spend time with his girlfriend Eleven (Brown) over Will. "It's not my fault you don't like girls!" Mike yelled at Will during the argument.

Executive producer Shawn Levy, who directed that episode, told Entertainment Weekly that that fight was less about Will's sexuality and more about the friends being at different points in their development. "It's not specific to sexual orientation or anything," he says, though "ever since then, a lot of these questions have come up."

However, Levy doesn't entirely rule out that Byers' sexuality might come up in future episodes. "Without getting into where we go later in season 4 [Volume II], I guess I'll just say that there aren't many accidents on Stranger Things," Levy told the outlet. "There is clear intention and strategy and real thought given to each and every character. So, if you came away from Volume I feeling those bread crumbs of plot and character, it's probably no accident."

The first seven episodes of Stranger Things season 4 are now on Netflix.

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.