Westworld fans who thought they’d seen the last of Jimmi Simpson after the finale revealed that his character was actually—year-old spoiler alert!—a younger version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) were apparently sorely mistaken. At a Television Critics Association panel, the actor revealed that he will be back for Season 2. But wait . . . how is that going to work?
“I thought it was already a thing,” Simpson said during the panel Tuesday when a reporter asked if he’d be back. “But now that you’re asking me, I’m gonna shut up.” When pressed, the actor confirmed his return, saying, “I mean, yeah, I pop in”—contradicting what he told Vanity Fair in December 2016 when asked the same question. (Back then, Simpson answered with a simple “no”—then elaborated: “I feel the same way, like gosh darn. My William has served his purpose. As of now, I’ll be done at the end of Season 1.”)
One of Season 1’s biggest reveals came when the series confirmed that Simpson’s character, William, would one day grow up to be the Man in Black, a character played throughout the season by Ed Harris. Fans had speculated for weeks that such a reveal was coming, but the series waited to show its cards until the very end—explaining only in the finale that Simpson’s scenes had actually been flashbacks all along. Now that viewers know the truth, however, explicit flashbacks will likely be the only vehicle through which Simpson could appear—unless Young William finds a way to time-travel within the park. Or maybe there’s a Young William android hidden somewhere among the brush.
Simpson went on to express one hope for his character in Season 2: a little less blank space in William’s story. “I wish there was exploration between the time when William’s heart is broken and we see the result. I’ll say that,” Simpson said. “I want to know how much it takes and how hard he tried not to go there.”
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Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com. She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.