‘Stranger Things’ actors say Will’s sexuality is “up to interpretation”

Both sides are understandable.

words by: Kayla Carmicheal
Jun 6, 2022

I probably don’t need to tell you this, but I will anyway: Stranger Things season 4 is out. Well, most of it, anyway. Netflix has an interesting rollout (no doubt to build hype) with this one: The last two episodes are being released in July, with season 5 wrapping up the series at a later date. Now, you and I both know that Netflix needs a smash hit like Stranger Things to buy time while they figure out what’s going on behind the scenes, but that’s not why we’re here today.


Remember Will Byers? The Upside Down survivor? Hasn’t been able to connect with his D&D-playing friends since? It’s becoming apparent that, based on what’s been happening in the newest season so far, (and what’s to come, according to actors) that Will’s sexuality isn’t explicitly conveyed in the show. Will’s actor further confirmed this by explaining that it’s up to interpretation.


So what exactly has been happening in the show? Let’s talk about it. The spoilers ahead have nothing to do with the evil side of ST, but if you want to avoid every spoiler ever, this is your warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.




Will Byers in season 4

In the inaugural episode of the season, Will and Eleven have to give a presentation in school about someone they look up to. Will chooses Alan Turing, a gay mathematician who was arrested because of his sexuality and suffered terribly because of who he was.


When Will and El visit their Hawkins friends during Spring Break, he is devastated when it seems like BFF Mike would rather hang out with girlfriend, Eleven, instead of Will. In a later episode, Mike confides in Will about his relationship with El (with whom he is constantly on the rocks), and Will says the following:


“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?”


Will’s behavior has fans speculating about his sexuality. Some would prefer the show state outright that he’s queer instead of “dancing around” the subject. That it would be great representation for the LGBT community, and to such a huge audience. However, the actors from the show have a different take.


For example, Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) explains that Will can be a role model for kids who don’t know how to make sense of what they’re going through. She says that it’s okay if kids don’t know who they are yet. It’s okay to not label things.


Noah Schnapp (Will) says, “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.” He adds that his character represents how growing up is confusing.


David Harbour (El’s adoptive dad, Hopper, who is currently in a prison somewhere) says, “He’s interested in someone else in the group…Will wants to be in the basement with Mike playing D&D for the rest of his life.” Harbour adds that soon fans will see who Will is “very” interested in soon–which clearly means sometime after these first 7 episodes of season 4.


Fans will have to wait until July 1 to see if Harbour meant season 4 at all–or if by “soon,” he meant whenever season 5 gets announced.


While we wait to see, you can still celebrate Pride Month with 7 queer Marvel and DC characters.


Photo via Netflix