On 2 January, viewers of the popular NBC soap Days of Our Lives will see Chandler Massey in the role of Will Horton for the last time.
The two-time Emmy winner played for the role for nearly four years – through Will’s denial of being gay, his coming out to himself then to the whole town then falling in love with his friend Sonny Kiriakis.
Will also was charged with murder along the way, got shot and also got his ex-girlfriend pregnant.
Beginning 8 January, the role of Will Horton will be played by Guy Wilson who has been shooting episodes since the fall (the soap tapes several months ahead).
Freddie Smith, who plays Sonny, is hopeful that the show’s loyal fans – and especially fans of the couple known as WilSon – will continue to embrace the storyline with a new actor in the role of Will.
‘I really want people to give this new version of WilSon a chance,’ Smith tells CBS Soaps In Depth. ‘We’re still telling a great story and shedding light on what’s happening. It’s truly rewarding.’
Soap opera re-castings are commonplace but since this is one half of one of the few gay couples on daytime TV, it will be closely watched to see if Smith has the same easy chemistry with Wilson as he did with Massey.
There is also the perception that the transition between the two actors was not handled especially well.
Although he had made his intention to leave the show clear, Massey had planned to work through to the end of his four-year contract which was up at the end of this month. That would have left him on the air as Will through March.
Although Massey refused to complain during an exclusive interview with Gay Star News on his final day of shooting, it soon surfaced that he had been blindsided by producers by being let go more than three months early.