Header Ads

Stranger Things Has Failed Will (Even Though He Started It All)

In just three seasons, the main characters of Stranger Things have gone through very dangerous situations in both the human world and the Upside Down, and in the process, the series has failed Will Byers. Created by the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things is a sci-fi horror TV series that debuted on Netflix in 2016. The show became a big hit and continues to be a favorite among critics and viewers, who were drawn to it thanks to its 1980s setting and the nostalgia that comes with it, its many horror influences, and its unique premise that mixes real-life experiments with sci-fi and horror elements.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things follows a group of teenagers and the adults closest to them as they uncover a series of dangerous experiments taking place at Hawkins Lab. Each season has covered a different issue related to those experiments, with season 1 focusing on the disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) escape from the lab, season 2 covering the aftermath of Will’s time in the Upside Down, and season 3 being all about the Russians setting up a lab underneath the new Starcourt Mall to conduct their own experiments related to the other dimension. Stranger Things season 3 left viewers with a major cliffhanger as the Russians have an American prisoner that turned out to be Jim Hopper (David Harbour), and their experiments are far from over.

Related: Stranger Things Needs To Avoid One Major Season 3 Mistake

The main focus of Stranger Things season 4 will be Hopper’s rescue (and how he survived the explosion at the end of season 3 and ended up in Russia, of course) and the supposed return of Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), which in turn represents a lot of trouble for Eleven as she will have to relive all her past trauma. However, Strange Things keeps forgetting about a very important character, one that the whole series owes everything it is to: Will Byers.

As mentioned above, one of the main focuses of Stranger Things season 1 was the disappearance of Will Byers, and that was the event that triggered the whole series. On one November night in 1983, Will Byers was on his way home after playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends when he was intercepted by a monstrous creature, and even though he managed to run back home, he wasn’t safe from the monster and he disappeared. After a suspicious investigation where Hawkins Lab got involved in order to cover their tracks, Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Chief Hopper discovered that Will was trapped in an obscure dimension dubbed the “Upside Down” and the gate to that place was at Hawkins Lab. This gate also allowed a monster known as the Demogorgon to cross over to the human world, with Eleven taking care of that thanks to her psychokinetic and telepathic abilities.

Will’s disappearance was the trigger of the whole series, as it was through that mystery that Joyce, Hopper, and Will’s friends learned about the experiments at Hawkins Lab and the existence of another dimension that houses some truly dangerous monsters. His return and the consequences of his time in the Upside Down are what made it possible for Stranger Things to keep exploring the mysteries of the other dimension, but Will has since been left aside.

Stranger Things season 2 saw Will serving as the host for the Mind Flayer and thus was part of the creature’s hive mind, which made him a sort of antagonist during a big part of the season. Parallel to Will’s story, Stranger Things also followed Eleven’s return and her own investigation of her past, with her returning to Hawkins just in time to save the town again. Although this story allowed Will to keep his place as a main character, it didn’t do anything to develop the character, and instead, the writers only used him as a plot device, and his arc continued to revolve around Hawkins Lab, the Upside Down, the Demogorgon, and other creatures from the other dimension, so the audience hasn't really gotten to know who Will Byers is.

Related: Stranger Things: How Will Was Able To Communicate Using The Lights

By the end of Stranger Things season 2, Will was freed from the Mind Flayer’s control, the gate to the Upside Down located in Hawkins Lab was closed by Eleven, and the lab was finally shut down after Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Will’s brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) exposed those in it as responsible for the death of their friend Barbara Holland, though they obviously couldn’t reveal everything they knew about their experiments. All this gave closure to one part of Strange Things, so season 3 had to deal with a different threat but still related to the main dangers of the series. While the storyline of the Russians conducting their own experiments on the Upside Down, opening portals, and secretly establishing themselves at Hawkins was intriguing and exciting, Stranger Things completely forgot about Will and giving him an arc and proper development. As he was no longer needed for the plot, Will was left aside and his character wasn’t explored at all, with the series instead focusing on new characters like Robin (Maya Hawke), returning characters like Murray (Brett Gelman), and the relationships between characters like Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven, and Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin).

There was, however, a hint at Will getting a story at one point in Stranger Things season 3 that would have brought some much-needed development, but this was quickly dropped in the same season. During an argument with Mike about their friendship and how things have changed, Mike said it wasn't his fault that Will doesn’t like girls, hinting at the latter being gay, which was part of the original plan for the character. However, Stranger Things failed to continue exploring that part of Will’s character, and this wasn’t mentioned again, with Will only serving as one more member of the group after all he had done before for the show.

Thankfully, it’s not too late for Stranger Things to do better by Will, and it could happen in season 4. Although a proper trailer for Stranger Things season 4 hasn’t been released yet, Netflix dropped a teaser with some quick shots from the new season, but Will was nowhere to be seen. This, of course, could be because Eleven and the Byers moved out of Hawkins at the end of season 3, which is a great opportunity for the series to develop the character of Will Byers, as this would allow him to have a fresh start in a new town and thus explore his personality and other aspects a lot deeper. Now, there was a lot of speculation about Will getting powers in Stranger Things season 4 due to his connection to the Upside Down not being fully over, which could make him a main character again but without turning him into a plot device one more time. Will having powers could also be an opportunity to explore who he is, what he feels, and what he thinks, the same way the series has done with Eleven – after all, he’s the character through which the events of the series began.

Details about Stranger Things season 4 are still being kept under wraps, so it’s hard to say what Will Byers’ role in this new season will be, but hopefully, he won’t be left aside again. Surely, due to her connection with the lab, her powers, and more, Eleven has become the center of Stranger Things, but the series’ biggest crime is forgetting about the character that pushed the first two seasons forward and giving him no development and no real story once he stopped being a plot device.

Next: Why Stranger Things Needs To End With Season 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.