Star's Reply to 'Stranger Things' Debate Leaves Us Questioning -- & That's the Point

For all its spookiness and thrills and adorable kids, part of the reason Stranger Things was so popular so quickly was because of the questions it left unanswered and the fan theories it fostered online. So as the debate about whether or not Will Byers is gay escalated, Noah Schnapp, the actor who plays Will in the show, chimed in with an essential reminder: The fact that we're asking these questions means that the answers kind of really don't matter. At all.

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The speculation surrounding Will's sexuality gets really deep into the weeds of who said what and when and how Will reacted, but some people are going so far as to say that the entire "upside down" is a metaphor for being in the closet. We don't know if that's true, but since nothing was ever said in the show that made us sure of one possibility over the other, the discussion is open.

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And people are really, really into the debate -- so much so that Noah Schnapps broke his silence on the subject and gave his (supremely excellent) opinion in an Instagram caption:

So I thought it would be time to jump into the conversation. I've been reading stuff for a while. I think everyone here is missing the point. An author called Gary Schmidt came to speak at our school this week and he said that good stories aren't supposed to leave you with answers because then you never question yourself and you forget about it. A good book, or a good show leaves a lot of unanswered questions but makes you think. Which is what you are all doing. For me, Will being gay or not is besides the point. Stranger Things is a show about a bunch of kids who are outsiders and find each other because they have been bullied in some way or are different. Does being sensitive, or a loner, or a teenager who likes photography, or a girl with red hair and big glasses, make you gay? I'm only 12 but I do know we all relate to being different. And that's why I think the Duffers wrote the show the way they did. So you can ask all these questions. I hope the real answer never comes out! #dufferbrothers â�¤ï¸ï¿½â�¤ï¸ï¿½

A photo posted by �Noah Schnapp� (@noahschnapp) on

What Noah argues in his caption is that the answer to the "Is Will gay?" question doesn't matter -- it just matters that we have the opportunity to ask it in the first place. 

He puts it well. Ambiguity across the board is one of the show's strengths -- and, frankly, defining qualities -- and these questions are what keep us interested. 

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However.

The LGBT question is a particularly interesting one, considering both the boys' ages and the constant barrage of anti-LGBT language coming from the bullies of the show. (Insults like "pervert," "fairy," and "queer" are favorite insults of theirs -- and that's not meant to be a reflection of the show's creators, just a reflection of the time period in which the show takes place.)

If Will were gay, and casually so, it would be a win for representation. Adding minority characters is something all shows should be pressured to do constantly, and while Stranger Things has its token diversity, it would be great to see a LGBT character lead the show -- even if that means he has to deal with homophobia and the AIDS crisis and all the other sh*t an LGBT youth in 1983 would be put through.

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In that sense, it does kind of matter if Will is gay. If the creators had answered that question with an affirmative, it'd make Will a role model for kids learning their own sexuality, and that'd be pretty cool.

Still, Noah is right -- since the commenters obsessing over Will's sexuality don't have any actual say in the show's reality, the answer to this question means less than the fact that we can ask it in the first place. Or less than the fact that Stranger Things is a champion for different-ness in general instead of, say, gay-ness in particular.

In any case, Noah's response is well reasoned and interesting, and another example of how thoughtful and mature and generally awesome the Stranger Things kids are. We'll never stopped being stunned by them, we swear.

 

Image via Netflix

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