Will Byers’ neck is tingling again. The Stranger Things writers’ room for season 5 officially kicked off in August 2022 — and the Duffer Brothers have filled in Noah Schnapp on what’s to come.
“There will definitely be another center point for Will in season 5 and I think it’s really exciting and I’m definitely so excited to see what they have in store,” Schnapp, 18, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his company TBH (To Be Honest).
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“They won’t tell me specifics, but they were like, ‘You just wait. You will be very happy and excited. So sit tight,'” he continued. “I think the story opened and started with Will, and I think ending it with him and circling back on that is a nice way for them to wrap it up.”
Schnapp’s comments mirror what creators Matt and Ross Duffer hinted at in late summer 2022. “Will’s going to be a big part and focus, is really all I can say of season 5, in his journey,” Matt told Collider at the time. “We’re starting to see his coming of age, really. Which has been challenging for a number of reasons, some of which are supernatural. But you’re starting to see him come into his own.”
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Ross added: “[It’s] setting up us coming full circle back to season 1. I think you’ll see that with a couple of the character arcs, not just with Will. But also with Steve [Joe Keery] and Nancy [Natalia Dyer], and her relationship with Jonathan [Charlie Heaton] where things are not fully resolved. The characters have maybe made steps, like in the case of Will, but that journey isn’t over yet. All of that is going to play a huge role as we try to wrap this thing up next season.”
Eight minutes into season 1 of the Netflix hit, which debuted in 2016, Will was abducted and taken to the Upside Down, with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) later meeting Will’s pals Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) as they searched for him in the woods. He’d go on to be fully possessed by the Mind Flayer, telling Mike in season 4 that the fight to save Hawkins, Indiana, was far from over. (It was confirmed in season 4 that Will is gay and in love with his childhood best friend.)
“Let’s hope 1 [Henry Creel/Vecna] is dead and rotting,” Mike says in the season finale.
“He’s not,” Will replies. “Now that I’m here in Hawkins, I can feel him, and he’s hurt. He’s hurting, but he’s still alive. It’s strange knowing now who it was this whole time. But I can still remember what he thinks and how he thinks and he’s not going to stop ever. Not until he’s taken everything and everyone. We have to kill him.”
With Will connected to the Upside Down’s Master, audiences have predicted that Will may die in the final season. After all, in season 2, the monster inhabiting Will had to be burned out of him before Eleven closed the gate. If not, he would have been killed alongside the Mind Flayer’s army.
“Will is like my baby and I kind of grew up with him,” Schnapp told Us, looking back at all he’s experienced. “I think — not even specifically with Will, but with the show — I’m just going to miss kind of that family that we’ve built and the connections on set. I’ve gone back to that place for the past 10 years now, and they’ve watched me grow up and it’s definitely going to be sad when I have to permanently say goodbye and know I’m not going to be walking back on that set. But I’m definitely going to make an effort to work on other projects with the cast and crew in the future. And I think the legacy of Stranger Things will live on forever.”
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That includes his onscreen mom Joyce Byers, played by ’80s icon Winona Ryder. “It’s amazing. She’s like a mentor for me and I would definitely call her a second mother,” Schnapp gushed. “I think she’s given me great advice because she was also a child actor and [she’s] definitely always looking out for everyone on set. And she is so supportive and I’m really lucky to have her on set. She will always be welcoming and if I ever need acting tips or I’m nervous for a scene, she’ll say, ‘Come into my trailer, we can chat and figure this out together.’ She definitely helps calm my nerves and she’s a great person to work with.”
Before production on season 5 begins, the actor has been busy studying business at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and running his TBH company, which sells a better-for-you and better-for-the-planet hazelnut cocoa spread. The cofounder recently launched a crowdfunding campaign that is educating and empowering a new generation of investors by allowing them to invest as little as $50 and join TBH as shareholders, the lowest amount ever offered by Republic (the crowdfunding platform).
“One of the main goals of this was working with my fans and getting to teach them about investing and getting them involved in equity investments at a young age. And I think this whole project is an amazing way that we did that,” Schnapp told Us.
TBH stemmed from Schnapp’s love of snacking. “I’ve always loved food and I always wanted to work on a startup, and I didn’t really know where to start. … I think a big important key aspect of TBH was making a purpose-driven brand,” he explained. “Something that stood for something bigger than just the product itself and cared for the environment and sustainability and also health and the wellness of our consumers.”
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The Abe star works alongside co-CEOs Elena Guberman and Ba Minuzzi. According to Guberman, the campaign will include certain events for Schnapp’s fans. “Our first milestone was to do, if we had accomplished it, to do a meet and greet with Noah in New York City, and we kind of blew that out of the park. So that is happening in the next year slash two years. We want to kind of give that enough attention and organize a great meet and greet at the same time as building a business,” she told Us. “We’re already committed to our next milestone at $500,000, which I think we’re $80,000 away from, is a meet and greet in Los Angeles. And then at the million-dollar mark, there will be another milestone that we will hit that we’ll announce after that is confirmed. And that’ll be I think more of an international milestone for Noah’s fans. We’re very open throughout this process.”
Schnapp always knew he wanted to work at a startup, and it’s been seamless balancing TBH with his schoolwork before he returns to Hawkins.
“I was always interested in this from a young age and I knew when I was applying to colleges and deciding to take that route that I wanted to take some classes in acting and film of course, but I wanted to dabble in something other than what I already know. And [entrepreneurship] was the first thing that came to mind that I knew I had a passion for and knew I wanted to learn more about,” he told Us. “I thought it was the best place to start. It kind of cross-influenced my love for TBH and then also how I decided on my major and it’s been awesome. I love working on TBH, I love my acting career and then I love being at school and it’s important for me to be busy and always working on different things and keeping my mind stimulated. It’s been an amazing experience, definitely a learning curve to kind of juggling it all, but it’s been going great.”
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