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We've now had a week to sit with Stranger Things 3 and unpack its many new plot points, twists, and sad goodbyes. That means the internet has had a whole week to analyze the whole of the new season, and a week of analysis means fan theories. Now two of the show's stars are weighing in on one of the most popular theories to emerge from Season 3, and what it might mean for the future of the show.
**SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers for Stranger Things 3 below!**
The first episode of Stranger Things 3 reaffirms the romantic connections made at the end of Season 2 — El (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) are still a couple, as are Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) — while also adding an apparent third couple to the mix when Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) comes home from Camp Know Where and reveals that he now has a girlfriend named Suzie. While we don't meet Suzie until the season finale, that means three of the four members of the Party, as they call themselves, are now coupled up.
Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), the fourth member, shows no interest in romantic relationships in Stranger Things 3, which is perfectly understandable. The poor kid spent the first season trapped in an alternate dimension and the second season possessed by an evil entity from the same alternate dimension, so to say he's dealing with some personal stuff would be a bit of an understatement. Now that his struggles with the Upside Down and the Mind Flayer are apparently behind him, Will just wants to recapture some of his lost childhood and spend the summer playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends. Even before new monsters intrude on this plan, though, Lucas and Mike are making this goal extremely difficult for him. Even when they do agree to play, they're playing halfheartedly, and the rest of the time they're dealing with their mutual girl problems while Will just wants to put on his wizard hat and roll some dice.
This culminates in an argument between Finn and Mike that reaches its apex when Mike snaps at Will, "It's not my fault you don't like girls!" This can be interpreted any number of ways, the simplest interpretation being that Will is still a kid who simply hasn't reached the point that he's interested in romance yet. He is, after all, a victim of trauma who's still trying to process what he went through. That hasn't stopped some fans from theorizing that it means Will doesn't like girls because he really likes boys, or perhaps just hasn't figured out what he's into yet because, again, he's still a kid.
In an interview with The Wrap, Schnapp allowed for fan interpretations of the scene, but also noted that he viewed it as a simple statement of fact that Will's not really interested in romance yet.
“All his friends have girlfriends and they’re out dating, and he just wants to have fun with his friends,” Schnapp said. “You see in Episode 3, he just wants to play D&D in the basement, and now all of his friends have girlfriends and they are dating. And it’s kind of, when you hear Mike say that line, it’s really up to the audience to interpret it. I kind of just interpret it like he’s not ready to grow up and he doesn’t 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.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about his side of the scene, Wolfhard expressed a similar sentiment, and noted that there were even alternate readings of the line that reinforce the idea that Will's simply not ready for a love life.
"There were a lot of different versions of that scene," Wolfhard said. "We tried, 'It’s not my fault you don’t like girls yet.' So, we did a bunch of different things to it, and it was up to [series creators the Duffer brothers]. I don’t even know if it had to do with Will’s sexuality; I think Mike was just mad and listing off a genuine fact that he’s not interested. So, I guess we’ll see what it really meant, but it’s all up to the Duffers and what they want to do."
After his fight with Mike, there's not a lot of time in the new season for Will to address anything else having to do with his private life. There are monsters to fight, and then by the end of the season he's moving away from Hawkins with his mother, brother, and El. Perhaps Stranger Things 4 will dig deeper into what Will wants, particularly now that the show has an out gay character in Robin (Maya Hawke). At this point, though, fans can simply savor the ambiguity and allow their own readings of the scene to flourish.