In a video posted to his TikTok account on Thursday, the 18-year-old actor wrote, “When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years and all they said was ‘we know'” — over Schnapp lip-syncing to an audio clip from a different TikTok of someone saying, “You know what it never was? That serious. It was never that serious. Quite frankly, will never be that serious.”
In the caption to his TikTok video, Schnapp wrote, “I guess I’m more similar to Will than I thought.”
In July, following the debut of the final two episodes of the fourth season of “Stranger Things,” Schnapp confirmed to Variety for the first time that Will Byers is gay and in love with his best friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard).
“It was always kind of there, but you never really knew, is it just him growing up slower than his friends?” Schnapp said. “Now that he’s gotten older, they made it a very real, obvious thing. Now it’s 100% clear that he is gay and he does love Mike.”
Will’s sexuality had been an open question since the first episode of “Stranger Things,” but Schnapp had always deflected questions about the character’s identity, noting instead that the character was still “up to the audience’s interpretation.” In his July interview with Variety, Schnapp said that he wasn’t entirely sure what “Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer had in mind for Will, and once he did, he didn’t want to spoil the way the show revealed the character’s journey in Season 4.
“I think it is done so beautifully, because it’s so easy to make a character just like all of a sudden be gay,” Schnapp said. “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.’ That just made me so happy to hear. They are writing this real character and this real journey and real struggle and they’re doing it so well.”
When Variety asked Schnapp about how he navigated the attention on Will’s sexuality while he was also still figuring himself out, the actor pointed to all the tribulations the character has faced over the course of the series.
“I think it’s all just part of the challenge of acting,” he said. “This isn’t just a single layer thing of he’s struggling with coming out. It’s this multifaceted trauma that goes years back, because he was taken by the Demogorgon and then his friends, they never acknowledged him, and now he’s scared to come out and doesn’t know if they’ll accept him.”
Netflix and the Duffers have announced that Season 5 of “Stranger Things” will conclude the show, but there is no confirmation yet when production will begin on the season, let alone when it would debut.