The show – particularly the recent fourth season – has seemingly been implying that Will is gay, or queer in some way, and is struggling to come out to his friends and family. During the latest season, Will chooses Alan Turing – the gay mathematician who still faced chemical castration, despite helping to crack the Enigma machine during World War II – for a project about the class’ heroes. He also doesn’t seem to enjoy the physical touch of a girl who shows interest in him. When Mike (Finn Wolfhard) visits during spring break in S4E2, Will seems upset that his friend gives so much more attention to his girlfriend Eleven.
In the fourth episode of the season, Will tells Mike something that further hints at his own secret identity. “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,” he says. “Because what if — what if they don’t like the truth?”
Still, all of this is circumstantial at best, and both Schnapp and Brown seem content to have Will’s sexuality remain undefined.
“I feel like 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.”
Brown interjected with her own feelings on the subject.
“Can I just say, it’s 2022 and we don’t have to label things,” she said. “I think what’s really nice about Will’s character is that he’s just a human being going through his own personal demons and issues. So many kids out there don’t know, and that’s OK. That’s OK to not know. And that’s OK not to label things.”
“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,'” Schnapp added. “He’s just confused and growing up. And that’s what it is to be a kid.”
The show’s executive producer, Shawn Levy, also discussed Will’s sexuality with Entertainment Weekly. He kept things vague, but did seem to hint that there may be some substance to fan theories about Will’s sexuality.
“There is clear intention and strategy and real thought given to each and every character. So, if you came away from Volume I feeling those bread crumbs of plot and character, it’s probably no accident,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
Though other members of the Stranger Things cast seem to have more definitive opinions on Will’s romantic interests – as shown in this Netflix Mexico Instagram video – both Brown and Schnapp seem happy with Will’s character exactly as he is now.
“It’s such an amazing role for Noah to play,” Brown told Variety. “And to be that role model for kids out there who don’t know what they’re going through growing up.”
“Will is kind of like a zebra in a field of horses,” Schnapp added. “He kind of stands out. It’s just nice to see that and have that shown on Stranger Things for fans to connect to and be able to relate to. Because so many of our viewers are young kids who are at that stage in their life.”