Stranger Things packed a lot into just eight episodes. There were breakups, big monsters, Russians, a brand-new mall, new villains and new characters. And then there’s Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). Much of the season, Will dealt with his connection to the monster from the Upside Down, but the show also dealt with his feelings about growing up…and maybe his sexual orientation.
While Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) all got girlfriends and showed interest in other things besides Dungeons and Dragons, Will seemed stuck. During a particular heated moment, Mike even said to Will, “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls.” That’s not Mike saying Will’s gay…or is it?
“It’s really up to interpretation,” Schnapp told The Wrap. “While all the characters were out developing and growing up, Will was in the Upside Down and he was alone there, not interacting with or connected to his friends or the rest of the world. And when he got back, he expected everything to just go back to how it was before, how it was when he was normal and when he was a kid and he wanted to go back to the basement and play D&D.”
Schnapp said he interpreted it as Will isn’t ready to grow up. “[H]e 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,” he said.
Will then destroyed their old fort. A symbolic act? As Schnapp said, it’s up for interpretation.
Stranger Things introduced a new gay character, Robin, played by Maya Hawke. The character came out to Steve (Joe Keery) in a touching moment as the two came down from drugs introduced to their system while in Russian captivity.
“It’s sort of that John Hughes thing of putting two teen characters together in close quarters,” Stranger Things co-creator Matt Duffer told EW. “They’re forced to work together, and they start to learn more and more and more about each other and realize there’s more depth to each other than they realized. She comes in with these expectations of who Steve Harrington is; he comes in with these expectations of who Robin is. Then over the course of their adventure together, they learn that the impression they had of each other was completely wrong.”
The character’s coming out was planned from the start, but not necessarily when in the series it would happen. “She gets less sarcastic and more vulnerable and more herself, until finally in the end she has no choice but to be her complete self. I think that to have that scene [set] in the ’80s, and to have that scene on TV in general, I feel really honored to have got to be a part it, and I’m really grateful that the Duffer Brothers wrote it,” Hawke told EW.
While discussing what’s next after Will left Hawkins with his family, Schnapp told E! News he’d be down for a romance.
“I hope Will is, ugh, I think he’s going to have a separate storyline,” Schnapp told E! News. “You know, everyone wants him to be happy, but I kind of enjoy when he suffers just because it’s fun to film, so hopefully he has a lot of suffering. Sounds, like, mean, but you know.”
Stranger Things season three is now streaming.