Chandler Massey is returning to NBC’s soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” reprising his groundbreaking role as Will Horton. The character of Will was introduced to the show in 1995 as the newborn son of Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) and Lucas Roberts (Bryan Dattilo). He was played by various actors through his childhood and adolescence, but Massey became the actor most associated with the role when he played Will from 2010 to 2014 and the character was revealed to be gay.
Chandler’s performance was historic for another reason. He won three consecutive Daytime Emmys for Best Younger Actor (2012-2014), which made him the first actor to win that award three times, and only the third soap opera performer to win three in a row in any acting category. The other two were Jennifer Finnigan (Best Younger Actress for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” 2002-2004) and Jennifer Landon (Best Younger Actress for “As the World Turns,” 2006-2008).
After Massey left the role, Will was played by Guy Wilson for another year until the character was controversially killed off in 2015, the victim of a strangling by Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson), the Necktie Killer. That plot twist was roundly panned by soap journalists and insiders, who blasted the show for brutalizing such a pioneering gay character. Critics of the storyline included Will’s on-screen mom Sweeney, who told Soap Opera Digest that she was “angry.” She added, “I felt betrayed and hurt they were doing it … This particular story point is something that I just don’t agree with and I didn’t from the moment they told me. And I don’t understand why they did it.”
Massey is expected to make his first on-screen reappearance in September. Time will tell how “Days” will manage to un-murder Will Horton, but soap opera resurrections are common. In fact, “Days” previously undid the work of another serial killer 13 years ago when a number of supposed murder victims were discovered alive on an island called Melaswen (“New Salem” backwards) in 2004. So perhaps Will has secretly been off somewhere working on his tan.