Stranger Things Star Noah Schnapp Confirms Will Byers Is Gay: 'He Has Feelings for Mike'

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Noah Schnapp attends Netflix's Stranger Things ATAS Official Screening at Raleigh Studios Hollywood on May 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Noah Schnapp attends Netflix's Stranger Things ATAS Official Screening at Raleigh Studios Hollywood on May 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Emma McIntyre/Getty

Noah Schnapp is setting the record straight about the sexuality of his Stranger Things' character, Will Byers.

Over the course of the show's four seasons, fan have questioned whether Will is gay, some even criticizing the Netflix series for not explicitly stating the seemingly obvious sooner. But in a new interview with Variety published Thursday, Schnapp confirmed Will's sexual orientation, revealing the teenager even has romantic feelings towards best friend Mike (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?'" Schnapp, 17, 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."

That certainly seemed clear enough to viewers of the season 4 finale, especially in one scene in which Will talked to Mike about the difficulties of feeling "different." He later had a heart-to-heart with his brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) where Jonathan appeared to offer his support of Will, without ever say the words, "I know you're gay and I'm here."

"Jonathan is talking to him in code," Schnapp said. "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."

RELATED: Stranger Things' Noah Schnapp Says Will's Season 4 Journey 'Is More About His Struggles with Identity'

STRANGER THINGS
STRANGER THINGS

Courtesy of Netflix

RELATED: See Stranger Things' Noah Schnapp and His Family Jump for Joy in His College Acceptance Video

Schnapp added that this huge part of Will's character took time to unpack because in real life, it is a complicated space, specifically for kids who don't want to be labelled.

"But before, it was a slow arc," the actor said. "I think it is done so beautifully, because it's so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay."

Though there have been critics, Schnapp focused instead on the adults who have expressed their appreciation of how Will's sexuality has been handled.

"People have come up to me — I was just in Paris and this, like, 40-year-old man came up to me and he was like, 'Wow, this Will character made me feel so good. And I related to it so much. That is exactly who I was when I was a kid,' " Schnapp said. "That just made me so happy to hear. They are writing this real character and this real journey and real struggle and they're doing it so well."

STRANGER THINGS
STRANGER THINGS

Courtesy of Netflix

RELATED: Duffer Brothers Promise Stranger Things 'Resolves' Questions About Will's Sexuality by End of Season 4

Schnapp also spoke about playing a gay character at such a young age while in real life also handling his own personal growth and self-identity.

"I think it's all just part of the challenge of acting," he said. "Like, yes, it has been a challenge, but I think it's just been fun to be able to step into his shoes. Because I really have to take into account, like, this isn't just a single layer thing of he's struggling with coming out."

"It's this multifaceted trauma that goes years back, because he was taken by the Demogorgon and then his friends, they never acknowledged him, and now he's scared to come out and doesn't know if they'll accept him," Schnapp told Variety. "And then Eleven [Millie Bobby Brown] is like his sister, but he doesn't want to hurt her because if he says he likes Mike, that's gonna hurt her feelings. There's all these things running in his mind. So I kind of just have to make sure that I'm conveying the depth of all his traumas."

RELATED: Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp's Friendship Timeline

Millie Bobby Brown best friend challenge!
Millie Bobby Brown best friend challenge!

Noah Schnapp/Youtube

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Stranger Things premiered on Netflix in 2016. Alongside Schnapp, Wolfhard and Bobby Brown, the acclaimed sci-fi drama series stars Winona RyderDavid HarbourGaten MatarazzoCaleb McLaughlin, Natalia DyerCharlie HeatonSadie SinkJoe KeeryMaya Hawke and Priah Ferguson.

Back in May, Schnapp opened up to PEOPLE about how viewers of the series would see his beloved character of Will "in a different light" this season.

"I feel like people are used to seeing him fighting a monster or struggling with the supernatural side of Stranger Things," he said. "But this season, it's just more about his personal struggles and struggles with his identity, and I think it's interesting for the audience to see that."