The third season of Stranger Things was arguably its best yet, thanks in part to an infusion of new talent which diversified the cast and brought new dynamics to the show, most notably in the form of Maya Hawke's Robin. First introduced as a foil and potential love interest for Steve, Robin came out as a lesbian later in the season, becoming Stranger Things' first canonically queer character. But the show was still purposely vague in how it portrays one character in particular: Will Byers.
There have been oblique references to the possibility that Will might be gay from the very beginning of the series. After he vanishes, Will's mother Joyce recalls how his sensitivity prompted other kids to start throwing gay slurs at him. But when asked whether he is gay, she merely replied: "He's missing, is what he is!"
Given that Will's main storylines focused first on his disappearance and then on his possession by the Mind Flayer, the absence of a love interest made sense. But as Mike, Lucas and Dustin each took tentative steps into the world of dating with Eleven, Max and Suzie in Season Three, Will's status as the odd one out became more pronounced. And a fraught scene between Will and Mike this season seemed to confirm this: after Will became frustrated that Mike and Lucas were too preoccupied with their girlfriends to play D&D, Mike retorted: "It's not my fault you don't like girls."
Mike's comment about Will not liking girls, coupled with Will's assertion to Joyce that he isn't going to "fall in love" like his peers, don't necessarily mean that he is gay. Character traits such as being introverted, artistic and sensitive have all functioned as coded shorthands for queerness in fiction before, but Will has never expressed romantic interest in anybody. The character could easily be read as asexual or aromantic.
Noah Schnapp, who plays Will, recently told The Wrap that he thinks his character's sexuality is "up to interpretation," and that Will's behavior might have more to do with the trauma he went through than anything else. "While all the characters were out developing and growing up, Will was in the Upside Down and he was alone there, not interacting with or connected to his friends or the rest of the world," he said. "And when he got back, he expected everything to just go back to how it was before, how it was when he was normal and when he was a kid and he wanted to go back to the basement and play D&D."
"All his friends have girlfriends and theyre out dating, and he just wants to have fun with his friends. You see in episode three, he just wants to play D&D in the basement, and now all of his friends have girlfriends and they are dating. And its kind of, when you hear Mike say that line, its really up to the audience to interpret it. I kind of just interpret it like hes not ready to grow up and he doesnt really want to move on to dating and relationships yet. He still wants to be a kid and play in the basement like he did in old times."