How Jimmi Simpson Handled His Big Westworld Twist

William in his black hat

Spoilers ahead for Season 1 of HBO's Westworld.

The television world is in a bit of a renaissance at the moment. Between network TV, cable, and streaming services, there is a wealth of fantastic content being produced. As such, plenty of A-list movie stars have taken projects on the small screen. Case in point: HBO's Westworld, which featured the likes of Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, and Thandie Newton. The ambitious sci-fi series was an instant hit, with its plot twists and action helping to enthrall audiences. One of the biggest WTF moment of the season came from the revelation that Jimmi Simpson's William was actually the Man in Black as a younger man. Now Simpson has revealed how he approached this plot, and how it informed his performance in Season 1.

I was playing it as if we're just now scratching the surface. Once I was clear what was happening, it wasn't to try to get to Ed [Harris], by the end of the season. It was to try to get to a believable seedling of what becomes Ed. In my mind's eye, to help me as an actor and to get through what I needed to do, there was a certain romantic next few chapters, in which a very, very confused William tries to battle the anger that he's feeling towards having his heart broken. So, that's what I was playing. It was the crack into, 'Okay, this could go two ways.'

Now this is fascinating. Rather than trying to physically or vocally trying to become more like the great Ed Harris (aka older William), Jimmi Simpson decided to make his transition a more gradual one. He simply gave us tastes of William's eventual descent into the emotionless monster that we'd seen wreaking havoc in The Park. Now the question is: how will the character be expanded when Westworld finally returns?

Jimmi Simpson's comments to Collider will help fans reevaluate his performance in Westworld's second season. And luckily for us, the Season 1 finale isn't the last time we'll be seeing Simpson in the sci-fi drama. He was recently announced to be returning in some capacity for the show's sophomore season on HBO, although it's unclear how substantial his role will be. Fans are most invested in the current timeline of the series, where the chaos has erupted from within The Park, revealing that the hosts were now able to hurt visitors.

But Westworld is a show that likes to play with time, as seen by the duel timelines in Season 1. The series will no doubt continuing exploring this theme, allowing Jimmi Simpson to reprise his role as William. Perhaps we'll see how he eventually took control of the company, leading him to search through the park for the maze.

Westworld Season 2 will premiere April 22, 2018 on HBO. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus, check out our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list so you don't miss a single episode.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.