“Now that he’s gotten older, they made it a very real, obvious thing,” the Netflix actor, 17, told Variety in an interview published on Thursday, July 14. “Now it’s 100 percent clear that he is gay and he does love Mike.”
Throughout season 4, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) seemed oblivious to his friend’s changing feelings for him, despite Will’s admission that Mike’s lack of communication hurt his feelings. In the penultimate episode, Will semi-confessed his love in a speech where he reassured Mike that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) still needs him. Will was speaking from Eleven’s perspective, but as he broke down in tears, it was clear to the audience that he was talking about his own feelings for Mike.
Schnapp described the lead-up to this moment as a “slow arc,” noting that Will’s sexuality had been hinted at over the years. “I think it is done so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay,” he told Variety. “It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends?”
The Bridge of Spies actor added that fans have told him they love the way Will has been portrayed over time.
“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 recalled. “That just made me so happy to hear.”
Earlier this month, the teen star expressed his support for the writers’ decision to keep Will’s feelings for Mike somewhat vague. “First of all it’s the 80s and the kids a FRESHMAN in hs,” he wrote in the comments section of a since-deleted TikTok that questioned the writing choice. “Let them slowly develop the plot and when he does come out it will be really special and real.”
Wolfhard, for his part, is also on board with the way Will’s thoughts about Mike have evolved over the years. “I think you find out slowly through the season, Will’s kind of love towards Mike, and I think it’s a really beautiful thing,” the It star, 19, told Digital Spy in May 2022.
Season 4 of Stranger Things is now streaming via Netflix.
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