Speculation has been rife concerning Will Byers’ sexuality since the start of Stranger Things. Volume 2 of Season 4 doesn’t answer the question being posed in articles and on social media, but it does feel like we’re getting closer to the truth. BEWARE OF STRANGER THINGS SPOILERS AHEAD.
The clues have been there regarding Will Byers throughout Season 4. For a school project, he picked Alan Turing as his hero. Turing was a math genius who was persecuted because of his sexuality.
He’s also clearly been pining for Mike throughout this season, and becoming increasingly jealous of his connection with Eleven.
During Episode 4, when Mike says he wishes he’d been more honest with Eleven, Will responds by saying: “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… what if they don’t like the truth?”
He’s talking to Mike, but it sounds like Will is speaking about himself through coded messaging. Something that happens again during Volume 2 of Season 4.
What has been said about Will Byers’ sexuality in Stranger Things?
The question of Will’s sexuality has come up time and time again in interviews with the cast. Back in May, Noah Schnapp – who plays Byers – was asked how the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, approached the issue.
“[They] never really address it or blatantly say how Will is,” Schnapp told Variety. “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.”
Millie Bobby Brown – who plays Eleven on the show – said: “It’s 2022 and we don’t have to label things. He’s just a human being going through his own personal demons and issues.”
While Schnapp added: “I find that people do reach to put a label on him and just want to know, so badly, like, ‘Oh, and this is it.’ He’s just confused and growing up. And that’s what it is to be a kid.”
Will’s emotional speech to Mike
In Episode 8 of Season 4, Mike starts doubting himself. He tells Will that he feels like some random nerd who got lucky that Eleven landed on his doorstep. And reveals that he’s scared of losing her.
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Will responds by saying this of Eleven: “When you’re different, sometimes you feel like a mistake.” But as with earlier in the series, he’s clearly talking about himself.
Will ends by stating: “El needs you Mike, and she always will.” He then bursts into tears, knowing this to be the truth regarding the bond between Mike and Eleven.
Mike doesn’t see the tears, but Will’s brother Jonathan watches the entire interaction.
Jonathan’s emotional speech to Will
Reading between the lines, Jonathan knows the truth about his brother, but equally knows that he isn’t ready to admit that truth. So he does what a big brother should, and offers him support during Episode 9.
“Right now, we need to talk, because things are getting complicated,” Jonathan tells Will. “I don’t what you to forget that I’m here, and I’ll always be here, no matter what. Because you’re my brother, and I love you, and there is nothing in this world – absolutely nothing – that will change that.”
It feels like this might be the moment where Will comes out, but it doesn’t happen. Instead, he cries again, the brothers embrace, and Jonathan looks into his eyes and states: “It’s gonna be okay.”
So while we aren’t there yet, it feels like Stranger Things is moving, slowly but surely, to a place where Will Byers is comfortable being – and saying – who he is.