Stranger Things Producer Addresses Season 4 Clues About Will’s Sexuality

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After Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) was captured and brought to the Upside Down in Season 1 of Stranger Things, subsequent seasons have seen him struggle to reconnect with his friends in Hawkins, Indiana, with some audiences thinking this also represents a feeling of ostracization because he might be gay, or possibly asexual. The release of Season 4 – Volume 1 of the series on Netflix brought with it more clues about Will’s sexuality, which fall short of outright confirming these theories, though executive producer and director Shawn Levy recently confirmed that the series isn’t known for arbitrarily dropping such clues, yet also didn’t outright confirm these theories.

Back in Season 3, one of the clues that ignited theories about Will’s sexuality was a scene in which Mike (Finn Wolfhard) proclaimed that Will “didn’t like girls.” Taken literally, this would seem like an obvious confirmation, but in the context of the scene, it could have been interpreted to mean he just hadn’t started taken romantic interest in anyone of any gender.

“It’s not specific to sexual orientation or anything,” Levy shared with Entertainment Weekly about the episode. “Ever since then, a lot of these questions have come up.”

The nature of Season 4 means that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Will have moved across the country, putting a strain on their relationships with Mike. Given that Eleven and Mike are dating, Mike kept in closer touch with his partner, allowing his friendship with Will to dissipate. When Will voices his disappointment, the conversation feels more like Will could be experiencing unrequited love that’s more than friendly. 

A more subtle but potentially more obvious clue is that Will is doing a school project on Alan Turing, a World War II codebreaker who was charged with “gross indecency” for having a relationship with a man. While there’s much to admire about Turing, some audiences couldn’t help but think Will had even more reason to focus on the figure.

“Without getting into where we go later in Season 4 [Volume 2], I guess I’ll just say that there aren’t many accidents on Stranger Things,” Levy teased. “There is clear intention and strategy and real thought given to each and every character. So, if you came away from Volume 1 feeling those bread crumbs of plot and character, it’s probably no accident.”

Schnapp himself addressed these theories back in 2020.

“There’s nothing set in stone. It’s kind of up to the audience, and I think the [creators Matt and Ross Duffer] did that on purpose,” Schnapp shared with The Hollywood Reporter. “Some people perceive it as Will could be gay, asexual, or whatever. Or, like how I see it, he was stuck in the Upside Down, and he was away for so long that all of his friends started growing up while he was in this other world. When he came back, everyone was all grown up, and he was still a little kid who still wanted to do little kid things like play D&D. He wasn’t ready to face this maturity and get into relationships. So, I think that’s what Will is going through right now.”

Stranger Things Season 4 – Volume 1 is out now on Netflix. Volume 2 debuts on July 1st.

What do you think of the filmmaker’s remarks? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!

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