And while the season answered a lot of questions/theories we've had about the show — through the amazingly acted but very intense flashback scenes revolving around Eleven's backstory — it also left us with new ones and some still unanswered ones.
One of those still unanswered questions: Is Will gay?
If you're unfamiliar with this theory, then here is a quick recap: Will has always been portrayed as very shy, artistic, and sensitive (even before he was taken into the Upside Down). But it was during Season 3 that fans began to really speculate that he was gay and possibly in love with his BFF, Mike.
Now, even before Season 3, it was obvious that Will was jealous of the attention Mike gave Eleven. And once the two started dating during Season 3, it was clear Will was upset by that.
It's even implied that Mike senses Will might be gay.
The theories of Will being gay got even more intense during Season 4.
Eagle-eyed fans caught the fact that during the first episode, Will's choice for his famous hero presentation was Alan Turing. Turing was a British mathematician and code breaker who was gay and convicted of "gross indecency" in 1952 (when homosexuality was against the law in the UK).
It was also during this episode that Will rejects a girl in his class who tries to play footsies with him.
Then there is the painting. In her letters during the first episode, Eleven tells Mike that Will is working on a painting that he refuses to show her, but that she suspects is for a girl.
Will is later seen in the second episode carrying the painting at the airport when they go pick up Mike — which seems to suggest that the painting was meant as a gift for him. However, after their frosty exchange and Mike clearly only being excited about seeing Eleven, it seems that Will might have changed his mind about giving it to him.
Later in that episode, Will continually tries to expose Eleven's lies about being friends with Angela — which seems to be driven by his jealousy and his desire to embarrass her in front of Mike.
And finally, in Episode 5, after the two have rekindled their friendship, Mike tells Will he wishes he had done a better job expressing his feelings toward Eleven, to which Will replies: "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?"
While he is seemingly giving Mike his thoughts on him not being more emotionally open with Eleven, it's clear that he is actually talking about his own experience and is subtly confiding his feelings about not being able to be fully honest about how he feels about Mike.
Obviously, fans feel like all of this pretty much confirms that Will is, well, gay.
However, in an interview earlier this week with Variety, Noah Schnapp (who plays Will) said he thinks his sexuality is purposely being left ambiguous so the audience can decide, saying, "I feel like they never really address it or blatantly say how Will is. 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."
While Mille Bobby Brown added, "Can I just say, it’s 2022 and we don’t have to label things. 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."
With that being said, Noah did tweet last night that he is shipping a Will and Mike relationship:
Well, a lot of fans of the show were not exactly excited to hear that Will's sexuality was up for "interpretation," and they had thoughts:
Alright, so for what it's worth, yes we're dealing with a show about monsters and alternate realities, but Will is 15 years old in 1986. While that time period wasn't exactly a super-repressive time and many, many gay people were out, being gay was still something that was largely stigmatized. So realistically, Will probably would've been closeted — even if he knew without a doubt that he was gay.
And while the argument from fans that confirming Will is gay is important for representation — considering the series' young fan base — is very valid, we also have to acknowledge that we are getting queer representation from Robin, whose storyline as a lesbian on the show continues to be a core part of her character. Also, even her character had a build up (albeit a much shorter one) before coming out. But even Robin is largely in the closet because of her age and the time period (which, again, is realistic).
In an interview yesterday with Variety, the Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross (the creators of the show), weighed in on the discussion about Will's sexuality. When asked if they would directly address it, they responded: "The full arc of the story hasn’t come to pass yet because we really are in Episode 7, it’s what we call the end of our second act. So there’s a lot more resolution in the story; we’re trying to do the same with the characters’ arcs. And I would say that applies to Will’s arc. So it’s going to be much easier to talk about for everyone — the actors and us — once those final two episodes have played. But certainly, his journey and arc is far from finished."
So by the sound of their response, I do think Will's sexuality will most likely be addressed during Season 4 Vol. 2 (coming up in July). If we know anything about the Duffer Brothers, it's that they wouldn't be leaving all these hints if they weren't building it up to something.
What did you think of how Will's sexuality is being handled on the show or if you even knew about it? Tell us everything in the comments below!
My Fake Boyfriend, a new LGBTQ+ rom-com from BuzzFeed Studios starring Keiynan Lonsdale, Dylan Sprouse, and Sarah Hyland, is out June 17 in the US — just in time for Pride! Sign up for Prime Video now so you're ready to watch.
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