As “Stranger Things” gears up for its fifth and final season, actor Noah Schnapp is hinting that fans can anticipate one of those forthcoming episodes to include a coming-out scene.
In an interview with Variety published Thursday, Schnapp confirmed that his character on the Netflix horror smash, Will Byers, is gay and has feelings for his friend, Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard).
“Obviously, it was hinted at in Season 1: It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends?” the actor said. “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.”
Will’s sexuality has been the subject of intense fan speculation since the first season of “Stranger Things” debuted to great acclaim on Netflix in 2016. That discourse intensified after the third episode of Season 3, which featured an emotional scene in which Mike tells Will, “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls!”
At the time, Schnapp remained coy on the subject.
“When you hear Mike say that line, it’s really up to the audience to interpret it,” he told The Wrap in 2019. “I kind of just interpret it like he’s not ready to grow up and he doesn’t really want to move on to dating and relationships yet. He still wants to be a kid and play in the basement like he did in old times.”
In hindsight, Schnapp tells Variety that he was “kind of figuring it out along with the audience,” and wasn’t sure of where the show’s creators, the Duffer brothers, “wanted to go with” his character at the time.
“I think it is done so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay,” he said Thursday. “They are writing this real character and this real journey and real struggle and they’re doing it so well.”
Though a release date for Season 5 of “Stranger Things” has not yet been announced, the Duffer Brothers have teased plans for a time jump for the series’ final spate of episodes. This narrative device will allow them to address the age gap Schnapp and his castmates now have with their characters.
Though Schnapp was tight-lipped as far as the specifics of any forthcoming episodes, he said that the Duffer Brothers “have their end goal,” which includes giving Will more opportunities to express his true self.
“Obviously, we hope for a coming out scene ... I just want to see it all tie in and all work out,” he said. “So I’m excited to see what happens.”