|“||"The Demogorgon... it got me."||”|
–Will Byers, November 6, 1983
William "Will" Byers, portrayed by Noah Schnapp, is a recurring character in the first season and a main character in the second and third season of Stranger Things . Will is the son of Lonnie and Joyce Byers and the younger brother of Jonathan Byers. He is best friends with Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, Dustin Henderson, Eleven, and Max Mayfield.
On the night of November 6th, 1983, Will was abducted by the Demogorgon and taken into an alternate dimension dubbed the Upside Down. For a week, Will evaded the creature while his family and friends desperately searched for him. Although he was eventually rescued and returned to normal life, his time in the Upside Down left him with a mysterious connection to the alternate realm.
A year later, Will became possessed by the Mind Flayer, becoming a part of his hive mind. Through this connection, Will was able to understand the creature's motives and weaknesses. However, the Mind Flayer exploited Will's connection to use him to massacre the scientists at Hawkins National Laboratory. Finally, with the help of his mother and brother as well as Nancy, the monster's possession over Will was alleviated and he returned safe and sound. A month later, after being free from the Mind Flayer, Will attended the Snow Ball with his friends.
In 1985, Will struggled to accept he and his friends were growing up, as he tried to recapture the childhood that was taken from him in the past two years. When Will sensed the Mind Flayer had returned, he teamed up with his friends to stop the entity. In the process, Will came to terms with all the changes occurring in his life. Three months after defeating the Mind Flayer, the Byers family, Will included, moved out of Hawkins, Indiana after Will says good-bye to his friends.
- Main article: Will Byers/History
Personality and Traits
Will is soft-spoken, amicable, and honest. Like his friends, he is exceedingly intelligent for his age, having an enthusiasm for science and being a member of their school's AV club. He also displays a lot of the same interests as his friends, such as Dungeons & Dragons, comics like the X-men, and films like Ghostbusters. He is also creative, having a passion for art and writing stories. However, his interests and social status resulted in him being bullied. This, along with his father's prior poor treatment of him, most likely led to feelings of alienation.
After his ordeal with the Upside Down, Will became even more alienated due to his peers labeling him "Zombie Boy" (due to the cover story conceived to conceal what actually happened to him). Additionally, he had grown frustrated with everyone's sensitive treatment towards him, especially with his mother and brother's overprotectiveness. Following his possession by the Mind Flayer, Will developed an aversion to heat and became increasingly distressed by his connection with the entity. The connection also caused him to experience physical pain whenever the vines and biological matter originating from the Upside Down were burned. As Will's mind was gradually taken over, he began to experience memory loss and was manipulated into aiding the Mind Flayer. Eventually, the Mind Flayer's influence over Will was so great, he was able to speak through him and control his body. After the Mind Flayer was exorcised from his body, Will seemingly returned to his usual self with no visible adverse effects.
One of Will’s most notable traits is how he often put other people before himself. This was implied by his actions during the Dungeons & Dragons campaign in "The Vanishing of Will Byers", were he decided to attack the Demogorgon to help the party instead of playing it safe. In "The Mind Flayer", Joyce recounted a story of how when he was younger, Will gave away his toy truck to a saddened girl in order to make her feel better, even though they wouldn't be able to afford another one. This side of his personality is also displayed somewhat in "The Gate", where he reluctantly accepted a girl's invitation to dance though he clearly had no desire to do so. It's also possible one of the reasons he waited to tell his family and friends about his visions was so he wouldn't worry them.
Will also had a profound sense of responsibility, drawing a picture of Bob as a superhero to commemorate his sacrifice to save everyone.
After his rescue from the Upside Down, Will developed "True Sight", where he began seeing visions of the Upside Down. While originally believed to be episodes related to post-traumatic stress disorder, what Will was experiencing was not only real, but signs of an approaching interdimensional threat. After being taken over by the Mind Flayer, Will also acquired what he called "Now-memories", being able to see what the entity could.
A telling characteristic of these abilities is that Will appeared to have no control over them, with him experiencing visions at seemingly random intervals, and his Now-memories being more of a side effect of the Mind Flayer’s possession. Will also displayed none of the traditional side effects associated with using psychic abilities, such as nosebleeds. While he lost these abilities once the Mind Flayer was expelled from his body, he was still able to sense the creature's presence.
- True Sight: Will began seeing visions of the Upside Down following his rescue from the dimension. Mike compared this ability to "True Sight" from Dungeons & Dragons, described by Dustin as “the power to see into the Ethereal Plane." During an episode, Will would essentially be in both the regular world and the alternate dimension simultaneously, allowing the Upside Down to seep into the regular world through his mind. Will could not control these visions, experiencing them against his will unpredictably. The visions happened more and more frequently until the Mind Flayer took control of Will’s body.
- Now-memories: Following his possession by the Mind Flayer, Will acquired the ability to see what the creature could see, as well as feel what he could feel. Will was able to use this ability to spy on the Mind Flayer, allowing him to know of the tunnels beneath Hawkins and even the Mind Flayer's weakness. However, this ability was a double-edged sword, also allowing the Mind Flayer to spy through Will.
- Superhuman strength: At the later stages of his possession, Will was briefly granted superhuman strength by the Mind Flayer, much like the Flayed. This was apparent when he was able to break out of Joyce's restraints and choke her while she was using high level of heat to get him out of the Mind Flayer's influence. This bout of strength was accompanied by an unknown black substance coursing through his body, making his veins appear black under the skin.
- Creature Sense: As a side-effect of being rescued from the Mind Flayer, Will could sense the monster's influence, even after being exorcised from him. This usually manifested as a strange sensation on the back of his neck, whenever the monster presented itself.
- Artistic ability: Will's drawings were exceedingly detailed and remarkable, especially considering his age. Will could explain many complex events by his drawings which he couldn't verbally. When Will was overwhelmed by the shadow monster, his drawing skills were very useful to inform Joyce and Hopper about the growing corruption of the Upside Down beneath Hawkins and also determine Hopper's location when he was trapped.
- Gunmanship: As displayed in "The Vanishing of Will Byers", Will appeared to have knowledge of how to load and use a gun, a skill he most likely learned from his father. However, his proficiency in using it is unclear.
- Morse code: Will knew Morse code, as shown in "The Mind Flayer" where he managed to signal the Mind Flayer’s weakness.
- Electrical manipulation: While trapped in the Upside Down, Will could manipulate electricity in the regular world to a small degree, as shown when attempting to communicate with the Christmas lights in Holly, Jolly. However, it seems Will only possessed this ability while he was in the Upside Down and has not been seen doing it since then.
Will had a deep and affectionate relationship with his mother. Joyce encouraged Will to be his own person and allowed him to be creative, praising his artistic ability and letting him build his own little fort in the nearby woods. Will felt comfortable discussing his D&D campaigns with her as he would with his friends. While he was trapped in the Upside Down, he repeatedly tried to contact her, often putting himself at risk of being found by the Demogorgon. Joyce became determined to find him, and even entered the Upside Down to save him.
A year later, when Will's condition deteriorated after the shadow monster possessed him, Joyce promised that she will keep him safe, attempting earnestly to figure out a way to save him and encouraged him to explain his memories by drawing. Joyce was extremely dismayed when Will started suffering from memory loss and berated the doctors for failing to treat him. Eventually, she forced the shadow monster out by exposing her possessed son to extreme heat, saving Will in the process.
Lonnie was unsupportive of Will and his interests, and as a result they weren't very close. That being said, Will tried his best to have a good relationship with Lonnie, attending baseball games and other activities with him, even though he had no personal interest. However, Will got little to nothing back from him; in fact, Lonnie even made derogatory remarks towards him. This questionable behavior was likely a factor in Lonnie and Joyce's divorce.
Will saw his brother Jonathan as a role model, who in some ways was a substitute father figure to him. They would often listen to music together, and Jonathan even made him two mixtapes. Jonathan would also defend Will from Lonnie, who didn't approve of his interests. After Will vanished, Jonathan, like his mother, became desperate to find him. Upon waking in the hospital, one of the first things Will did was to ask Jonathan about his injured hand; they clearly greatly cared about each other's well-being.
In 1984, Will was watched over by Jonathan even more after his abduction last year. When Will revealed he was tired of everyone being so careful with him and is upset over being different, Jonathan cheers him up by telling him to accept his differences no matter what people say. On Halloween, Will was overjoyed when Jonathan allowed him to go trick-or-treating with his friends only. After Will became possessed by the Mind Flayer, he was helped by Jonathan to remember the good memories they shared, while playing Will's favorite song Should I Stay or Should I Go. After the Mind Flayer was burnt into leaving Will's body, Will embraced Jonathan.
Will and Mike met each other at the kindergarten at an early age, becoming very close friends. When Will vanished, Mike and his friends quickly decided to search for him. After he met Eleven and discovered that she recognized him, he believed she was the key to finding Will. Mike became very upset following Will's presumed "death", morosely looking back through an old collection of his friend's illustrations. However, after Eleven proved Will was still "out there", Mike became more determined than ever to find him. Upon being eventually reunited with Will, Mike and his friends were overjoyed.
Moreover, when Will was having visions and episodes, he shared it with Mike because he knew that the others wouldn't understand. Mike, in return, was even more committed to helping his friend and was also prepared to sacrifice Dart to save Will. And ever since the Mind Flayer overwhelmed Will, Mike was the only one out of his best friends to stay with him all the time, trying his best to comfort him. After his memory loss in the lab, Will was also able to remember only Mike out of everyone else, besides his mother. It was clear that Mike was very sympathetic and cared a great deal for Will when he revealed that his approval of being his friend was the best thing he ever imagined.
Their friendship was still mostly strong in 1985, but Will was upset about how much time Mike was spending with Eleven, and would have preferred more time for D&D campaigns. That said, Will still tried to help Mike when he grew dangerously close to getting dumped by Eleven, by helping him and Lucas look for an apology gift in the mall. When this failed and Eleven dumped Mike, Mike and Lucas were very eager to make up as soon as possible, whereas Will had a different approach to the situation and likely believed it would've been better to wait, and use the time in the meantime for D&D and other friend activities. During a D&D campaign, Mike and Lucas' disinterest greatly disheartened Will to the point of which he snapped and cut the campaign short. After they realized what they'd done, both attempted to apologize, but he brushed them off. Will left the house, and Mike caught up to him. They had a heated argument before Will stormed off to Castle Byers, which he would partially destroy.
When discovering the Mind Flayer had returned to Hawkins, Will worked together with Mike to stop it. Will eventually managed to reconcile with Mike and smiled when Mike confess how much he loves Eleven. The two later continued to work together in defeating the Mind Flayer. Three months later, Will says good-bye to Mike before he and his family move out of Hawkins.
Will, Mike and Lucas met Dustin when he joined their school in the fourth grade, quickly becoming close friends. Dustin was determined to stay cool and collected while searching for the missing Will (unlike Mike and Lucas), as he realized that he needed to be level-headed if he wanted any chance of saving his friend. Dustin wanted the group of kids to stick together no matter what, as he knew that together, they would make the most progress. When Will reunites with Dustin, he returns Dustin's hug and listens to everything Dustin tells him that he missed while he was gone such as Jennifer Hayes crying at his funeral.
In 1984, after Will's rescue from the Upside Down, Will was annoyed how Dustin, including everyone else, was concerned for his well-being. Will also did not tell Dustin his visions of the Upside Down as he felt that Dustin would not understand. However, when Will realizes the sounds D'Artagnan makes was similar to the noises he heard in Upside Down, he tells Dustin this and his visions, which slightly upsets Dustin for not being told earlier. After Will was possessed by the Mind Flayer, he was saved when Dustin and the rest of his friends burn the underground tunnel system. A month later, at the Snow Ball, Will laughs at Dustin's hairstyle.
A year later, in 1985, Will welcomed Dustin back after the latter returned from Camp Know Where. He was also surprised that Dustin gained a girlfriend named Suzie. However, Will did not believe her existence, but did not tell Dustin, not wanting to hurt his feelings. Will offered Dustin to come by and play D&D, but Dustin did not seem all that interested. As Mike and Lucas were trying to deal problems with their girlfriends, Will did not like them excluding Dustin out of their Party and not knowing where he is; not blaming Dustin at all for being excluded. However, Will came to Dustin's rescue at Starcourt Mall from the Russians and told him that he, Mike, and Lucas could have needed him in dealing with the Flayed; reconciling with Dustin as they shared a group hug. Will also learned that Suzie did exist and sat in awkward silence as she and Dustin sang "Neverending Story" while being chased by the Mind Flayer. Three months later, Will said good-bye to Dustin before he and his family moved out of Hawkins.
As with Mike, Will had met and become friends with Lucas from an early age. Like Dustin and Mike, Lucas was determined to find Will, but Lucas became tired of both Mike and Dustin's approaches to doing so. He saw Eleven's presence as a distraction from finding Will, and he did not accept Dustin's plea for them all to work together. For a while, Lucas instead attempted to seek out Will on his own. When Will reunites with Lucas, he hugs Lucas and listens to everything that happened after he disappeared and how Lucas described their new friend, Eleven and how cool she was.
In 1984, after Will's rescue from the Upside Down, Will was annoyed how Lucas, including everyone else was concerned for his well-being. Will also did not tell Lucas his visions of the Upside Down as he felt that Lucas would not understand. However, when Will finally told Lucas of his visions, Lucas was upset that Will did not tell him or Dustin earlier, but only told Mike. After Will was possessed by the Mind Flayer, he was saved when Lucas and the rest of their friends burned the underground tunnel system. A month later, Will and Lucas attended the Snow Ball and made fun of Dustin's hairstyle.
A year later, in 1985, Will was upset that Lucas wanted to spend time with his girlfriend, Max. He tried to get Lucas and Mike to play a D&D campaign after the two started having relationship problems. But when the two showed they were still interested in reaching out to their girlfriends, instead of playing D&D, Will finally snapped. Lucas later tried to apologize after Will's outburst and again the next day as they prepared to test to see if Max's stepbrother, Billy Hargrove was possessed by the Mind Flayer. However, Will brushed off Lucas's attempts, saying they should be more focused on Billy and the Mind Flayer. However, Will manages to reconcile with Lucas and the two exchanges smiles after hearing Mike confess his love for Eleven. Later, the two worked together in caring for an injured Eleven and battling the Mind Flayer with fireworks. After the Mind Flayer's defeat, three months later, Will says good-bye to Lucas before moving out of Hawkins.
Will and his friends had a great relationship with their school science teacher, Mr. Clarke. He was more than willing to help the boys further their interest in science, even purchasing a ham radio for them. When Will went missing, Mr. Clarke joined the search party for Will, showing his care for him. Mr. Clarke likely saw Will as an exceptional student. Mr. Clarke also helped the Party on multiple occasions in their quest to find out the truth about Will's disappearance, although he was kept in the dark about most of the Party's knowledge.
After Will returned from the Upside Down, Mr. Clarke continued to be supportive of him and the other boys. In Season Three, he helped Will's mother, Joyce, to figure out why magnets had been failing around town. While it's unknown if he reacted to the Byers family moving away from Hawkins, it is likely he was disheartened by his former student as well as Joyce leaving the city.
Though Will and Eleven were never formally introduced to one another, they could definitely be considered allies. Eleven was more than willing to help Will's friends and family find him, which they were deeply thankful for (especially Joyce). Eleven's only direct interaction with Will took place while she was immersed in her mental void; she found him in Castle Byers, comforting him and telling him to "hold on a little longer" while Joyce and Hopper searched for him.
In 1985, they'd gotten to know each other better, with them becoming official friends. However, Will was secretly upset that Mike was spending time with Eleven, as Will wanted to play D&D and catch up to missing childhood. When Eleven dumped Mike, Will tried to get Mike to forget about her by playing a D&D campaign. But when Mike's enthusiasm to talk to Eleven still stayed, Will snapped and lashed out at Mike for wanting to spend time with some "stupid" girl, causing Mike to angrily lash out and defend Eleven. When Will realized that Mind Flayer's back, Will doesn't hesitate to work with Eleven to stop the Mind Flayer, even suggesting she might know a way to stop him. When Eleven was choked by a possessed Billy Hargrove, Will was horrified as he saw the girl who helped him so many times was about to be nearly killed. After Eleven was bitten and injured by the Mind Flayer, Will did everything he could to treat and help her. He even saved Eleven from the Mind Flayer by throwing fireworks at him. Three months after the battle at Starcourt Mall and the closure of Starcourt Key that possibly killed Hopper, Eleven moved in with the Byers, with a possibility of Will growing a greater relationship with Eleven.
Will had a very close relationship with Bob Newby, since he didn't treat him any different after his disappearance, unlike Will's brother and mother who were over-protective of him. He was passive-natured and empathized strongly with Will, providing him a good deal of advice to face his fears with good intentions, though that indirectly deteriorated Will's conditions. Will later drew a picture of Bob as a Superhero in regards to his valiant sacrifice at the lab.
James and Troy often bullied Will and his friends. Due to his interests and small stature, they would call him demeaning names. Even when he was missing, and later presumed dead, they continued making crude remarks about him, until Eleven scared them off. Will was even surprised to hear that Troy wetted himself in front of the entire school while he was gone.
Will first met Max Mayfield when she was introduced to his class by Mr. Clarke. When rest of his friends became curious of her being "MADMAX," the mysterious video game player who had beaten Dustin's high score on Dig Dug, Will agreed with Mike that she couldn't be "MADMAX," saying that girls don't play video games. However, when Dustin and Lucas confirmed their suspicions and Max joined them in trick-or-treating, Will did not seem to mind and allowed her to join the Party so Lucas and Dustin can be happy. After Will became possessed by the Mind Flayer, Max helped the rest of his friends save him from his possession by burning the tunnels, inadvertently giving enough heat for the Mind Flayer to leave Will's body.
In 1985, Will started to grew jealous and annoyed with Lucas spending time with Max. Will tried to get Lucas to forget about Max by offering to play D&D, but was rejected every time.
In 1983, a Demogorgon was the very creature that sent Will to the Upside Down. Will had to evade this beast for a week until his rescue. Many times he had come dangerously close to death at the monster's hands. When Will was finally captured by the monster, he was taken to its hideout where a vine was forced down his throat, causing him to be mentally linked to the Mind Flayer.
In 1984, a year after Will's rescue from the Upside Down, the Mind Flayer sought Will out as a vessel into the real world as Will had managed to become part of his hive mind after the Demogorgon captured him. A fragment of the Mind Flayer entered Will's mind, gradually influencing him until it was able to fully subjugate his consciousness. The Mind Flayer's fragment was forcefully removed from Will's mind by his mother, brother, and Nancy via hot surroundings and fire. The time in which Will was bound to the Mind Flayer left him with a connection to the beast that allowed him to sense its presence a year later.
In 1985, the Mind Flayer had returned to Hawkins to get revenge and kill the Party, including Will. He battled the Mind Flayer until it was defeated when the Gate was once again closed.
|Season One appearances|
|The Vanishing of Will Byers||The Weirdo on Maple Street*||Holly, Jolly*||The Body|
|The Flea and the Acrobat*|| ||The Bathtub||The Upside Down|
*Can be seen in a flashback/is manipulating electricity
|Season Two appearances|
|MADMAX||Trick or Treat, Freak||The Pollywog|
|Will the Wise||Dig Dug||The Spy|
| ||The Mind Flayer||The Gate|
|Season Three appearances|
|Suzie, Do You Copy?||The Mall Rats||The Case of the Missing Lifeguard||The Sauna Test|
|The Flayed||E Pluribus Unum||The Bite||The Battle of Starcourt|
|Volume 1 appearances|
|Issue 1||Issue 2||Issue 3||Issue 4|
|Joyce Byers||Lonnie Byers|
- "Let me go! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go."
- "I'll take your X-Men 134!"
Will to his mother:
- "Sometimes the bad guys are smart too."
- "It's like home, but it's so dark... It's so dark and empty!"
- "[Referring to the Mind Flayer] He likes it cold."
Will to the Mind Flayer:
- "Go away!"
Will to Mike:
- "That's my friend....Mike."
- "Crazy together."
Will & Mike:
Following the Mind Flayer's possession over Will-
- Will: "At first, I felt it on the back of my head. I didn't know it was there. Now, I feel it, I feel it all the time."
- Mike: "Maybe...maybe that's good."
- Will: "Good?"
- Mike: "Just think about it Will. You're like a spy now, a super-spy. If you know what he thinks, maybe that's how we can stop him."
- Will: "You think so?"
- Will: "Yeah...I really do."
- Will: "What if...what if he figures out we're spying on him? What if he spies back?"
Will & his mother:
After learning the shadow monster's exploitation-
- Will: "I am sorry. [Referring to the Mind Flayer] He made me do it."
- Joyce: "Who? Who made you do what?"
- Will: "I told you, they upset him. They shouldn't have done that. They shouldn't have upset him."
- Will's family owned a dog.
- There was a grave for the dog seen in the third season, and Noah Schnapp confirmed it had canonically perished.
- In "The Vanishing of Will Byers", Will tells Mike his character was defeated by the Demogorgon, foreshadowing his abduction by the Monster.
- In the first season, his Dungeons & Dragons character was a wizard named Will the Wise. In the second season, his character was changed to a cleric.
- So far, he is the only one of the boys shown to have named his D&D character.
- The comic that he won from the race with Dustin was X-Men 134. In this issue of the comic, the telepathic mutant Jean Grey uses her powers to pin Mastermind to a wall, putting him in a coma. This is similar to how Eleven ultimately stopped the Demogorgon, by pinning it to the wall and making it disintegrate.
- In the original pilot script, he wanted Dustin's Uncanny X-Men 269. This would've been an anachronism, as that issue was released on October 10, 1990.
- The password to enter his tree fort was "Radagast," the name of a wizard in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
- He had a Jaws poster on his bedroom wall.
- According to his brother, he is good at hiding. This could've been one of the reasons he was able to evade the Demogorgon for so long.
- He suspected one of his Christmas presents to be an Atari. The Atari was a home video game console manufactured by Atari, Inc that was popular during the late '70s to mid '80s.
- He owns a plush lion that is identical to the one Eleven had while living in the lab. Both are similar to a stuffed animal that was owned by Sara Hopper, though hers was a tiger.
- Since Season 2, Will is shown to possess certain psychic abilities known as True Sight. This is likely a reference to the Stephen King character Danny Torrance, who possessed similar psychic abilities known as The Shining in the novel and film of the same name.
- Will's possession by the Mind Flayer draws some parallels to Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist, who is also a young child possessed by a powerful otherworldly force.
- One of Will's favorite songs is "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash. The line "If I go, there will be trouble And if I stay it will be double" may be foreshadowing to some of the events in the first season.
- In early development, Will was named Benny.
- In an early outline, Will was originally going to have killed Bob by episode four as a result of the Mind Flayer's manipulation.
- There are some inconsistencies concerning his date of birth. In a video posted to the show's official Instagram account, his birthday was shown to be August 28. However, in "The Mind Flayer" his birthday was revealed to be March 22.
- In the fourth issue of the tie-in comic, Will's vision of the Mind Flayer foreshadows the events of his possession by the creature in Season Two.
- In Season 3, Mike mentions that Will doesn't like girls. Whether this is because he's still growing or if he is LGBT+ has yet to be addressed.
- Season 3 is the only season in which Will has appeared in every episode.
- Will is the only one of the original four members of The Party who is yet to have a romantic interest in the show.
|For this subject's gallery, see Will Byers/Gallery.|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Mind Flayer (episode)"
- ↑ "Behind The Scenes Of Stranger Things - Lully Of Truth 293"
- ↑ "'STRANGER THINGS' Duffer Brothers Have Proof THEY DIDN'T STEAL THE SHOW!!!" TMZ. April 6, 2018
- ↑ "" Insider. November 8, 2017
|The Upside Down|
|Locations||The Upside Down • The Gate • Hawkins • Hawkins National Laboratory • Public Library • Portals • Hawkins Middle School • Hawkins Tunnel System|
|Entities||D'Artagnan • The Demogorgon • Demogorgon (species) • The Flayed • Hospital Monster • The Mind Flayer • Russian Demogorgon • The Spider Monster • Hawkins Tunnel System • Vines|
|The Flayed||Billy Hargrove • Heather Holloway • Bruce Lowe • Tom Holloway • Janet Holloway • Doris Driscoll|
|Visitors||Joyce Byers • Will Byers • Eleven • Steve Harrington • Dustin Henderson • Barbara Holland • Jim Hopper • Max Mayfield • Bob Newby • Shepard • Lucas Sinclair • Mike Wheeler • Nancy Wheeler|
|Miscellaneous||Upside Down Egg • Dungeons & Dragons • The Void • The Keys|
|Articles may contain spoilers.|