Westworld star Jimmi Simpson portrayed William on the show – a character whose arc was more or less completed in the debut season. However, in spite of suggestions that he wouldn’t be needed for subsequent seasons, Simpson hasn’t ruled a return out.
Major spoilers for Season 1 of Westworld follow this point. This is your only warning.
One of the big twists of Westworld is that the show was operating on multiple eras at the same time – one concerning early development of the park, one concerning the exploits of a moral park guest and an immoral one, and one concerning a series of events that cause a dawning of consciousness among many of the park’s “Hosts” (along with the events shortly preceding this awakening). William’s arc was covered in the second and third eras, but he was only portrayed by Simpson in the former, as in the latter, he’s portrayed by Ed Harris under the alias of the “Man in Black”.
The big twist with the whole “multiple eras” thing is that we were initially led to believe that the two were separate characters, but the goody-two-shoes cowboy’s story ended where the sociopathic park executive’s story began. As such, given that Harris is playing William in the present, an appearance by Simpson wouldn’t be necessary unless they wanted to do flashbacks set closer to the second era than the third. Well, it appears as though flashbacks could indeed be on the table, since Simpson is now saying that they’re weighing out their options in a recent interview with GQ:
So far, my involvement in [Season 2] is unclear. If they have more for William, I would assume it would be a whole new kind of story. Because I feel like this story, the love affair [with Evan Rachel Wood’s character, Dolores], we know everything, we know what happens, we don’t have to belabor that point. But if they have a reason—I mean, it was the greatest set I’ve ever worked on. But we’re all speculating what Season 2 will be, and I think it’ll be something that will blow our minds, to the degree that Season 1 did. But I wouldn’t be surprised if William showed up Season 3 or something.
With the way that Simpson worded his response, it seems as though Season 2 might not necessarily be the best place to include his version of William – or, if he is involved, it will only be in a minor capacity. If they’re already planning on Season 3, however, then perhaps it would be better for them to explain more about what William did after his first trip to the park only when the other plot threads are given enough attention.
Westworld Season 2 will air at some point in 2018.