Westworld star Jimmi Simpson says season 2 will answer any lingering questions about how William turns into the Man in Black. The show is an adaptation of Michael Crichton's cult 1973 movie Westworld, about a Western-style theme park manned by life-like robots. Tourists visit the park to act out their wildest fantasies and impulses - until a malfunction leads to the robots turning on the guests in gruesome ways.
The movie was successful enough to spawn a 1976 sequel titled Futureworld with Peter Fonda, and a short-lived television spin-off called Beyond Westworld. The 2016 HBO version of Westworld reimagined the entire concept, turning into an action-packed and thematically rich sci-fi story with great characters. The story also featured a number of shocking twists and reveals, which kept viewers coming back for more.
One of the most surprising reveals was that naïve tourist William's (Jimmi Simpson) plotline took place decades in the past, and the character eventually morphed into twisted villain the Man in Black (Ed Harris). While some fans guessed this reveal early on, it was a surprise to many, and in a new interview with Collider, Simpson feels any remaining questions about how William evolved will be answered in season 2:
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 were 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."
The first season of Westworld shows how the meek William is gradually seduced by the park and its possibilities. He gets into a wild adventure with a host named Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and falls in love with her, but when her mind is wiped of any memory of him when it's over, he becomes obsessed with the park. There's still plenty of rich material to explore with the character of William and how he turns into the Man in Black, so it will be interesting to see how he plays into the second season.
Westworld ended with the hosts breaking free of their programming and massacring the guests, with Dolores leading the charge. The first season left plenty of dangling plot threads for the new series to pick on too, and it seems like the story will be a loose adaptation of the third act of the 1973 movie. A park called Samurai World was also teased in the last season, meaning the show will likely explore more of Delos Destinations' theme parks.
Westworld season 2 premieres Sunday, April 22 on HBO.