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Plenty has happened over the course of Stranger Things, but one thing viewers can count on is Will Byers’ struggles. His disappearance kickstarts the hit Netflix series, and he has struggled to find steady footing ever since, even as season 4 brings him to the West Coast alongside Eleven, Jonathan, and Joyce. But Will’s traumas haven’t followed Noah Schnapp off-camera. The actor seems to be enjoying the fruits of his fame, including meeting his celebrity crush after revealing his feelings about the star. 

Will Byers’ plight is at the heart of ‘Stranger Things’

Stranger Things Noah Schnapp celebrity crush Zendaya
Noah Schnapp in June 2022 | Brian Stukes/Getty Images

At the beginning of Stranger Things, Will Byers was just a dorky kid running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign in the basement of Mike’s house. But his chance at a normal life ended in the first episode. 

There’s plenty of trauma for the kids of Hawkins, Indiana. But while the rest of the characters have scenes or storylines where they get to enjoy their youth in ways resembling normalcy, the Upside Down robs Will of the basic ability to relax. 

He was the first victim of the Mind Flayer’s attacks, and even after he escaped the Upside Down at the end of season 1, his connection to the other dimension has remained with him, first literally and then figuratively after the Mind Flayer’s death. While the rest of his friend group develops new interests and begins to date, Will still just wants to play D&D with his boys all the time. He’s playing catch-up in every facet of his life. 

The latest installment of Stranger Things has more overt horror movie influences than any other season, but some of the most fraught scenes involve Will and Eleven floundering in their new environment. She faces constant bullying, and he seems lonelier than ever. By the end of season 4’s first volume, Will reunites with Mike and looks set to see with the rest of the gang soon enough, but there are still some non-Vecna issues Will still has to work out. 

Noah Schnapp gushed about meeting his celebrity crush: ‘She smelled great’

Stranger Things Noah Schnapp celebrity crush Zendaya
Noah Schnapp and Zendaya at the 2019 E! People’s Choice Awards | Christopher Polk/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

At the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards, Schnapp won the prize for Best Frightened Performance. Before starting his acceptance speech, he noticed a fellow young star in the audience and stammered, “Hi, Zendaya. Hi.”

In a pre-show interview, Schnapp had said he loved the Spider-Man star. And though the two didn’t meet at that awards show, Zendaya tweeted about Schnapp’s admission of love, calling it “adorable.”

His adoration hasn’t waned in the ensuing years. In 2020, Schnapp recalled finally meeting Zendaya at the 2019 E! People’s Choice Awards.

“It was amazing. I just remember seeing her out of the corner of my eye and walking up to her. I was really, really nervous. And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s actually her. This is the first time I’m meeting her,'” he recalled on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

“She smelled great, and she was so cute. And she towered over me. And she bent down, and she’s like, ‘Hi, Noah,’ with her little squeaky voice. Yeah, I remember everything.”

Schnapp later joked he’s ready to take over the role of Spider-Man and co-star with Zendaya whenever Tom Holland is ready to give up the mantle. That doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, and the same goes for the idea of Holland and Zendaya breaking up. But Schnapp’s obsession is just on the right side of cute for now. 

‘Stranger Things 4’ drops hints about Will’s sexuality


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Will’s discomfort in his own skin has taken on more layers in Stranger Things Season 4The move to California has left him more disconnected from his life as he struggles to make friends and holds onto resentment that the old crew, particularly Mike, doesn’t check in on him as much as he’d like. 

Moving away from friends is always hard, especially for a teenager in the pre-internet age, but certain character moments have sparked fan theories about Will’s sexuality. He flinches when a girl tries to play footsie with him in class, he’s been working on a painting he won’t let El see (but he took it to the airport when Mike finally visited), and he has a heart-to-heart with Mike about how worried he is to share his true feelings with the people he cares about. 

The set-up for a reveal is certainly there, but it could easily be a straight boy who’s suffered a lot and doesn’t want to admit he needs help. As of now, the showrunners and actors have refused to label what Will is going through. We’ll have to wait until July 1 — when the fourth season’s second volume drops on Netflix — to find out. 

But Noah Schnapp has a much easier time developing relationships. His friendships with co-stars such as Millie Bobby Brown and Sadie Sink have sparked rumors about his dating life, HITC reports. But Schnapp has shot down those rumors, keeping his personal life as private as he can.