Will Byers might be central to the story of the Netflix hit, but this is just another reason that Stranger Things season 5 is likely to kill him off.
While it might break the hearts of viewers, Stranger Things season 5 is likely to kill off Will Byers judging by the trail of clues left by the series so far. Stranger Things season 5 has a lot of plot threads to wrap up. When viewers last saw the heroes of Stranger Things they were preparing to face off against Vecna for the second time as the villain narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Eleven in the season 4 finale (and tore a seismic hole through the town of Hawkins in the process).
There are a lot of unanswered questions that season 5 now needs to explain, from whether Stranger Things has a plan for Argyle to whether or not Steve Harrington can survive another showdown in the Upside-Down. However, the fate of these supporting stars pales in importance compared to the forgotten hero of Stranger Things. Since the show’s pilot, Will Byers has been at the center of Stranger Things. His abduction is at the core of season 1’s story, his possession was central to Stranger Things season 2, and season 4 finally gave Will some screen time and fleshed out his tortured character. Unfortunately, this could be because Stranger Things season 5 will kill off Will.
Will Is Still Connected To Vecna
Although the army gave Eleven some grief, the biggest villain in Stranger Things season 4 was Vecna, the nefarious overlord of the Upside-Down. Vecna’s backstory revealed that he was the architect of the Upside-Down, with the previously-unseen puppet master engineering the events of Stranger Things until this point to ensure that he could someday face off against Eleven again after losing a psychic battle to her years earlier. However, this was terrible news for one Stranger Things supporting star who has an intimate connection to the Upside-Down and its inhabitants. Since Stranger Things season 1, Will has been linked to the Upside-Down—and, as such, to Vecna.
Although it was not made clear until season 4 that Will’s connection to the Upside-Down meant he was connected to Vecna, there were clues to this fact in earlier seasons. In Stranger Things season 2 Will is effectively possessed by the denizens of the Upside-Down while, in season 3, he says he can feel the presence of the Mind Flayer. Will’s connection to Vecna always meant that the final season of Stranger Things would see him become instrumental in the villain’s defeat, but his psychic link to the unstoppable killer could mean that Will Byers won’t survive to see Vecna beaten for good.
Will’s Secret Love For Mike
If there is one character trait that marks Will out for death, it is his unrequited love for his oblivious best friend Mike. While Stranger Things season 5 should endeavor to steer clear of the deservedly infamous “bury your gays” trope, the fact that Will is involved in a love triangle with the show’s hero and heroine isn’t good for his health. Originally, Steve died in Stranger Things season 1 to help the show facilitate Nancy and Jonathan’s romance and, while that supporting star lived to see another day, there was at least an inkling that Nancy might end up with either (or neither) suitor in that love story.
In contrast, in Stranger Things season 4, Mike makes it more clear than ever that he is clueless about Will’s feelings for him. Meanwhile, Mike’s unwavering devotion to Eleven makes it doubly clear that Will’s feelings aren’t reciprocated which, unfortunately, makes it all the more likely that his character will be killed off. After all, the love interest of Joyce’s mother, Bob, was brutally killed in Stranger Things season 2 to pave the way for Hopper and Joyce’s awkward season 3 romance subplot, so has already been made abundantly clear that Stranger Things will kill off even a well-loved supporting star to support a character pairing.
Will Is The Most Innocent Stranger Things Kid
Thanks to Eleven’s origins in Stranger Things’ Hawkins Lab, the poor kid saw a lot of bloodshed and brutality at a shockingly young age. However, she is not the only Stranger Things kid who lost her innocence early into the show’s run. Max was a teenage runaway from a broken home who was bullied by her stepbrother Billy, and she also witnessed Billy’s abuse at the hands of his father. Mike, Dustin, and Lucas were violently bullied by the sociopathic Troy in Stranger Things season 1 and, while Will did spend weeks in the Upside-Down, he still managed to maintain a childlike innocence that they lost over the years.
Stranger Things Began With Will’s “Death”
The earliest episodes of Stranger Things centered around Will’s disappearance and, halfway through season 1, his dead body was discovered in a devastating twist. This shocking revelation was soon undone as the body was revealed to be a fake (leading to Stranger Things fan theories about dead characters returning, no matter how unlikely this is). While this plot turned out to be a misdirection, it could have also been foreshadowing for the end of the series as a whole. In a neat inversion, Stranger Things season 5 may end with Will’s real death much like the first season began with his apparent demise.
Stranger Things 5 Focuses Heavily On Will
Perhaps the biggest clue to Will’s fate is hidden in comments that the Duffer brothers made about Stranger Things season 5 back in July 2022. Speaking after the release of season 4 part 2, Matt Duffer conceded that “Will’s going to be a big part and focus, is really all I can say of Season 5, in his journey” adding that season 5 focuses on his coming of age. Like a lot of the above clues, this could be seen as proof that Will’s battle with Vecna in season 5 will force him to make the ultimate sacrifice for his friends.
Why This Stranger Things Season 5 Theory Could Be Wrong
While there are a lot of reasons to think that Will is on his way out in Stranger Things season 5, viewers do not necessarily need to fret yet. Stranger Things has gotten better at handling queer characters since Robin came out in season 3 and could avert the “bury your gays” trope by keeping Will alive, while his innocence could be key to defeating Vecna. Already, in the Stranger Things season 4 finale Will the wise was the only one who appeared to realize that giving up was just what Vecna wanted the Hawkins crew to do, so there is a chance that the character will not only survive but could even save his friends and his hometown in the final season.
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