Since Stranger Things’ newly released 004 teaser, fans have been carefully analyzing each breathtaking second during the minute-long video. The action-packed teaser serves as Stranger Things’ final setting teaser, with three others released prior. As such, swirling speculation about the show’s upcoming fourth season shows no apparent end in sight. With all four teaser trailers officially released, the dissecting of possible theories have begun in a major way. One of these interesting theories hints at Will Byers being openly gay. The long-standing theory surrounding Will Byers supposed sexuality has been a hot topic within the show since its paramount beginning. While Stranger Things already has an LGBTQ+ character in Robin Buckley, devoted fans know it’s only a matter of time until Will officially comes out. Here are a few reasons why Will Byers should be a canon gay character in Stranger Things 4.
Lonnie’s Early Remarks
References to Will Byers being gay have surfaced since the first season of the sci-fi fantasy hit. His father, Lonnie, apparently inferred that he was gay from a young age. During a conversation with Jim Hopper, Joyce Byers revealed Lonnie’s full remarks. “He’s a sensitive kid. Lonnie used to say he was queer,” Will’s mother told Hopper. These remarks spark the first glimpse into Will’s troubled backstory, along with the criticism and judgment he had to face from his father. Several bullies also reference Will’s assumed sexuality, with many re-quoting Lonnie’s remarks and under the impression that most kids know that Will is gay.
While Lonnie was an unsupportive father and absent husband, there is some truth to his beliefs about Will. Being Will’s father, Lonnie possesses the ability to recognize Will’s behavior and true personality from a young age. Even though Lonnie’s remarks are derogatory and likely with ill intentions, he is perhaps the first person to notice Will’s hidden homosexuality.
Mike & Will’s Heated Argument
One of the most obvious hints at Will’s apparent sexuality came during a scene between Will and Mike in season 3. When Will was feeling incredibly left out by Mike and the rest of his friends, he expresses this to his best friend. In a heated discussion, Mike inadvertently shouts at Will: “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls!” This immediately caused Will to form tears in his eyes, not expecting his closest friend to make him feel guilty for his possible sexuality. While Mike feels remorse, this was a turning point for Will’s character development. Fans immediately began to popularize the theory that Will might be gay.
Unlike Lonnie, Mike’s comment wasn’t uttered with the intention to hurt Will’s feelings. Mike is a supportive and loving friend to Will, though his frustration about his relationship with Eleven likely caused him to speak without thinking. The discussion eventually causes an obvious rift in their friendship. However, this scene conveys the message that Will’s friends recognize his true sexual identity. In turn, Will simultaneously perceives his friends’ opinions about him.
Will’s Art Project
Amongst the recent teasers dropped by Netflix, the 004 Stranger Things’ teaser shows several glimpses of Will Byers in the upcoming season. In the opening sequence, Will is seen painting on an easel in his bedroom. Many paintings are displayed along the wall in the background. Some of these drawings include The Upside Down. Seeing as being interested in art is often referred to as a “gay activity,” fans immediately revitalized the theory surrounding Will’s sexuality. However, there may be some truth to this theory.
During another scene, Will and Eleven are walking through the school’s hallways together. Will is seen carrying an art project that he created about Alan Turing. Turing was a dominant British figure in WWII, along with being gay. Proudly, Will Byers is establishing his interest in powerful LGBTQ+ role models. As such, the likelihood of Will Byers being a canon gay character in Stranger Things 4 is high.
Noah Schnapp Chimes In
Actor Noah Schnapp, who portrays Will Byers, has become familiar with the topic of Will’s rumored sexuality. The questions surrounding Will’s sexual orientation only increased after the arrival of season 3. In an interview with The Wrap, Schnapp stated that Will’s sexuality is up for speculation. The actor explained that while the rest of Will’s friends were on the outside, he was trapped in The Upside Down. As such, Noah believes that Will’s development and growth were affected as a result. “All his friends have girlfriends and they’re out dating, and he just wants to have fun with his friends,” Schnapp insisted.
In that same interview, Noah recognizes that Will would rather spend time playing video games than chasing girls. However, he chalks this up to the isolation and trauma that Will suffers during his time in The Upside Down. Still, Noah hasn’t completely discounted the possibility of Will being gay. He more than welcomes the idea. Like the rest of the Stranger Things cast, Noah recognizes the dedication from his fans.
The Potential Impact
With all of this in mind, Will Byers has undoubtedly suffered far more than his peer counterparts. Amidst struggling with his sexual identity, his appeal to other-worldly creatures like The Mind Flayer has crippled his self-confidence. Still, the emergence of a gay male character in Stranger Things has the potential to completely change the landscape of the show. Despite Robin already being an LGBTQ+ character, Will Byers’ official announcement as a member of the LGBTQ+ will prove to be a game-changer for the Duffer Brothers’ series.
In season four teasers, Will appears to boast increasing confidence and newly found self-worth. As such, his sexual embrace gives him the chance to establish himself as a role model for kids. Rather than face ignorance against his will, he instead has the power to label himself on his own terms. Furthermore, his fresh self-esteem will prove to be effective when the group battles the assumed Russians in season 4. As such, Will Byers’ gay identity in Stranger Things 4 would be one of the best plot additions for the show.