Even with the full backing of Netflix and a massive pop culture juggernaut on their hands, the makers of Stranger Things were always up against a brick wall that they couldn’t do a thing about: Puberty. While Season 1 introduced the world to the precocious pre-teen Hawkins team, there was no way to keep the perfectly cast youngsters frozen in time, and according to star Noah Schnapp, it quickly became a problem for the supernatural series.
In the first season, Schnapp played the youngest member of the group, Will Byers, who gets lost inside the Upside Down, which sparked Stranger Things‘ now-sprawling storyline. However, as the show took increasingly longer breaks between seasons (the pandemic didn’t help either), Schnapp obviously continued to grow, and that included his voice significantly dropping during puberty. While it’s extremely noticeable in Stranger Things 4, Schnapp recently revealed that he was asked to make his voice sound higher in a prior season even though he’s not even 18 yet.
“It was the peak time of change, and puberty and growing up and just everything was changing with all of us, and the directors were just not loving it,” Schnapp recounts of filming an earlier season. “And I remember one of the producers coming up to me and telling me, ‘Noah, is there any way you could just speak in a higher tone and just slouch a little bit? Like, we need you to keep that season one innocence that you had.’ That was like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you. My voice is dropping. I don’t sound young anymore.’”
What’s even wilder is that Schnapp’s natural voice is significantly deeper than his co-stars, and he truly is the youngest of the group in real life. Fortunately, the Duffer Brothers have figured out a solution to the puberty monster: A good old-fashioned time jump. When Stranger Things 5 brings the Hawkins story to a close, it will avoid the age issue by punting the kids out of high school. Problem solved.