Will, Noah Schnapp’s character on stranger things, never had it easy. Season 1 centered around her kidnapping, and her appearances in 2 and 3 pretty much dealt with the resulting trauma. His struggles during the season that dropped earlier this month are technically less extreme, but because they’re so relatable, Will is at his most pitiful. His closest friends only hang out with their girlfriends. And when he’s forced to move, he just can’t fit in with his classmates at his new high school, largely because his only friend is Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who is teased relentlessly by ‘a way that can only be described as cruel. And when her boyfriend, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) visits, Will’s dreams of reuniting with his best friend are immediately shattered. Mike is purely there to see Eleven, making Will the definition of a third wheel.
As if all that wasn’t enough, according to Schnapp, things were even worse for Will than we thought. (And that’s saying something, given how miserable he looked skating alone on a rink on Mike and Eleven’s first date in months.) While Schnapp refused to answer questions explicitly about Will’s sexuality in the past, to him it’s always been obvious: His character is gay, and has always been in love with Mike. He was just waiting for the scene from one of the last episodes of Season 4 in which Will passionately describes Eleven’s intense love for Mike, who is completely unaware that Will is really talking about himself.
“I mean, it’s pretty clear this season that Will has feelings for Mike,” the 17-year-old actor said. Variety, adding that he thinks there are little hints of his shared love even in season 1. “I think for season 4 it was just me playing this character who loves his best friend but has to hard to know if he will be accepted or not, and to feel like a mistake and like he doesn’t belong,” Schnapp continued. “Will always felt like that. All his friends, they all have girlfriends and they all go to their different clubs. Will never really found a place to fit in. I think that’s why so many people come up to me and tell me they love Will and resonate with him so much, because he’s such a real character…I think it’s so well done, because it’s so easy to make a character suddenly turn gay.
All of this may be awful for Will, but there was a silver lining for fans. The photo of him crying next to Mike, who is fully in his own world after their emotional conversation, has inspired memes about memes.