8:49am PT by Josh Wigler
'Stranger Things' Season 2: The Dark Potential of Will's Central Role
[Warning: this story contains spoilers through season one of Netflix's Stranger Things.]
The young actors at the heart of Stranger Things have enjoyed a wild ride since the horror series bowed on Netflix last summer, though one actor in particular has stood slightly left of the spotlight: Noah Schnapp, the young man tasked with bringing missing child Will Byers to life.
When season two rolls around, expect Will to stand firmly center stage, even if he remains further from the light than some might like. In a new interview, executive producer and frequent director Shawn Levy explained that the Will of it all will become a major deal in season two — news that should both excite and alarm the most devout Stranger Things fans.
"When we cast the kids, we cast Noah Schnapp as Will Byers knowing that he was only in a small amount of Season One because he was missing. And we cast him because we knew that kid was special. Even if we weren’t going to call on his full reservoir of abilities in Season One," Levy said in an interview with Mashable. "Will Byers is very much at the center of Season Two. Noah steps up in the most staggering way. The Duffers and I, depending on who’s directing when, we keep sending texts to each other going, 'Holy shit, Noah is crushing it,' and we knew he had it in him, and it’s really now to get in that moment, and put him firmly in the thick of story."
Will was already a critical player in the first season, albeit one who existed mostly offscreen. The opening moments of the series focused on Will's encounter with the so-called Demogorgon, the monstrous entity hailing from the mysterious world the kids called "The Upside Down." At the end of the first season, Will was safe and sound, thanks to the combined efforts of his mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), and his friends (including one he had not yet met: Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown), but there was a catch: in the closing scene of the season, Will vomited what appeared to be a baby Demogorgon, suggesting that he's brought some of the Upside Down back into the real world.
With all of that said, Will already enters season two as one of the most exciting characters. He not only has to deal with emotional trauma from his season-one experience, but also physical side effects. And perhaps he'll be pushed even further than some might expect. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter conducted before season two entered production, Schnapp revealed his great desire to see Will plummet into all-new dark depths.
"My guess is that maybe he's going to become evil in the next season," he told THR. "If he's coughing up these baby Demogorgons, or eggs, or something, maybe he's incubating or holding these eggs inside of him and he's trying to fight his good side against his bad side in the next season. That would be cool to see, to see him become evil."
Levy's assessment of Will existing "in the thick" of season two's story strongly suggests Schnapp got his wish — or, at the very least, that the swirling darkness within Will will become a prominent part of the show's second year, and potentially beyond. To that end, Levy told Mashable that he and the Duffer Brothers created so much story material this year that they couldn't even fit it all into the second season, and are holding onto ideas for future chapters. In other words, who knows what kind of fresh hell awaits Stranger Things fans in the future...though thankfully in the case of David Harbour, there's at least one fresh Hell we already know about.
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