One of the lingering questions at the center of Stranger Things is whether Will’s sexuality will be addressed on the series. Viewers (sort of) got an answer in a pair of emotionally-charged scenes in the show’s recently released fourth season—one between Noah Schnapp’s character and his brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and the other between Will and his best friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard). While both alluded to Will’s inner desires, confirmation about what those desires might be hadn’t been offered until now.
“It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends?” Schnapp said in a new interview with Variety. “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. 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 said that Will’s “jealousy” over Mike’s relationship with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) propels him to tearfully speak up. “Sometimes when you’re different you feel like a mistake,” a choked-up Will tells Mike, who doesn’t seem to be grasping the weight of Will’s words. “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 of his character.
In the past, Schnapp has dodged questions about Will’s sexuality, saying only that it was “up to the audience’s interpretation.” The actor now confirms that this was a way to protect the show’s season four reveal. “I mean, it’s pretty clear this season that Will has feelings for Mike. They’ve been intentionally pulling that out over the past few seasons,” Schnapp told Variety. “Even in season one, they hinted at that and slowly, slowly grew that storyline. I think for season four, 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.”
The emotional interaction between Will and Jonathan, in which the older brother promises that “there’s absolutely nothing in this world that could change” their bond, was a key last-minute addition. “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 explained. “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. I think it was really wholesome.”
As for the final season of Stranger Things, Schnapp said that the Duffer Brothers are planning to “focus more on Will,” and that he’s hoping for a proper “coming out scene” for his character.
In the interview, Schnapp also addressed his minor online beef with Doja Cat, which began after the 17-year-old actor shared private messages the rapper sent him regarding her romantic interest in his Stranger Things co-star Joseph Quinn. After the musician took issue with Schnapp’s posting their screenshots, he apologized on TikTok and told Variety that he was “super unserious on social media.” Schnapp continued, “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.’ It was all good. I love her. I’m like the biggest fan of her music, and I told her that.”