Stranger Things creators say this character's storyline will 'tie the whole series together' in season 5

Eleven, Mike, Will and friends stare into the distance in an official image from Stranger Things season 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

The final season of Netflix's hit sci-fi/supernatural show is almost certain to go out with a bang. But while showrunners have been tight-lipped about what to expect with Stranger Things season 5, we now know one character will be at the center of it all. 

Already the show's creators, the Duffer Brothers, have all but confirmed the final installment will feature a time jump, likely seeing the young cast who grew up before our very eyes on the verge of graduating high school. Now they've shared which character will be in the spotlight and possibly tie everything — all the bizarre happenings in Hawkins and beyond since that fateful D&D campaign in season 1 — together: Will Byers. 

“Will really takes center stage again in [season] 5,” Ross Duffer said in a recent interview with Variety. “This emotional arc for him is what we feel is going to hopefully tie the whole series together."

Played by Noah Schnapp, Will is the youngest and most timid of the show's main ensemble of kids who fight supernatural horrors in the 1980s. Much of the character's storyline in season 4 revolved around his unrequited crush on his best friend Mike, the culmination of a long-running fan theory regarding Will's closeted sexuality. Schnapp later came out as gay in a Tiktok video with the caption that he was "more similar to Will" than he thought. Will's journey of self-acceptance will feature prominently in the upcoming season, Duffer said. 

"Will is used to being the young one, the introverted one, the one that’s being protected," he continued. "So part of his journey, it’s not just sexuality — it’s Will coming into his own as a young man.”

It's a fitting end to one of the best shows on Netflix. Since it premiered in 2016, Stranger Things has been nothing short of a phenomenon with everything from demogorgons to "Justice for Barb" to "Running Up the Hill" pervading popular culture. 

Production on the fifth and final season was set to begin earlier this year, but it's been brought to a halt by the ongoing 2023 Writers Guild of America strike. While we still don't have an exact date for when season 5 will arrive, the Duffers brothers disclosed in July plans to open the writer's room back up in August. David Harbour, who plays the prickly but kind-hearted police chief Jim Hopper, said in an interview with NME this week that whenever production kicks off again, he's raring to go. 

“There’s something about pouring yourself into the final season,” he said, “that sprint to the finish line, that is exciting and almost euphoric to me.”

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.