‘Stranger Things 4’: Will’s Painting for Mike Shows the Character Professing Love in the Most Backhanded Way

Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 finally reveals what Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) painting was for Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard). Will doesn’t come out directly in Volume 2, but his painting for Will says it all. Find out what the painting shows despite what fans theorized and what it means about Will’s sexuality.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 4 Volume 2.] 

Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Will (Noah Schnapp), who presents Mike with a painting this season, sitting on top of a car in 'Stranger Things 4'
Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers | Netflix

‘Stranger Things’ fans thought Will’s painting for Mike would show Vecna or the Upside Down  

Ahead of Volume 2’s release, there was a lot of speculation about what Will’s painting could be. Most fans thought it had something to do with Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) or the Upside Down leaking into Hawkins. 

One fan on Reddit thought the dark red color Will uses in his painting lends itself to the pillars in Vecna’s mind lair. “Will has the ability to see into the Upside Down,” they pointed out. “This makes me think that he is still connected to the Upside Down in some way and can see something happening; this is a loose tie though and is probably incorrect as Will paints and draws with shocking detail.”

Other fans thought Will painted the Creel house. Still, others theorized the painting was a scene from Will and Mike’s childhood. 

Will’s painting for Mike in ‘Stranger Things 4’ shows their Dungeons and Dragons party 

As revealed in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2, Will’s painting for Mike shows Will, Mike, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) wearing medieval garb and fighting a three-headed dragon. Will explains Mike is at the forefront of the party wearing a shield with a heart on it because he’s the “heart of the group.” 

“That’s what holds this party together,” Will says. “Heart. Because without heart, we’d all fall apart.” 

Will lied about Eleven commissioning the painting

The painting makes sense, especially considering the core four’s penchant for Dungeons and Dragons. However, the meaning behind Will’s artwork is a lie. 

Will tells Mike that Eleven commissioned the painting, but we all know that isn’t true. In the first episode of Stranger Things 4, Eleven writes to Mike and tells him about Will’s painting, which she presumes he’s making for a girl. In reality, Will was painting the picture on his own accord, only to use it to boost Mike’s confidence in Volume 2 when he began to feel like he wasn’t good enough for Eleven. 

Fans want answers about Will’s sexuality 

Stranger Things has been hinting at Will Byers’ sexuality since season 1. The show continued to drop hints throughout the other seasons, including season 4 when Will did a school project on Alan Turing. 

Despite the meaning behind Will’s painting for Mike, the character hasn’t outwardly come out as gay in the series. Some fans want a concrete label on the character’s sexuality, but Brown says a label isn’t important.

“Can I just say, it’s 2022 and we don’t have to label things,” Brown told Variety in May 2022. “I think what’s really nice about Will’s character is that he’s just a human being going through his own personal demons and issues. So many kids out there don’t know, and that’s OK. That’s OK to not know. And that’s OK not to label things.” 

There’s still time for the Netflix series to address Will’s sexuality in Stranger Things Season 5. However, it’ll be a few years until we see those episodes. 

Watch Stranger Things on Netflix

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