Willam Black is a character from Kevin Smith's "View Askewniverse" films. He appeared in Clerks, Mallrats, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He was played by long time View Askew film editor/producer Scott Mosier in Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and by Ethan Suplee in Mallrats.
Willam is referred to as an "idiot man-child" by other characters in the View Askewniverse. His limited intelligence and demeanor (glazed eyes, unkempt hair and beard, and lack of coordination) lend credence to this title. Despite his intellectual limitations, he can be very determined at times, as his quest to see a hidden sailboat in a Magic Eye picture demonstrates. Willam also has an oddly profane sexual taste, which includes snowballing, thus giving him his other nickname, "Snowball".
Appearances in View Askew media
- Willam is the only character in the View Askewniverse to be played by two different actors, despite the fact that many actors have portrayed two or more different characters within the same film.
- Willam first appeared in Clerks, in which he romped around the Quick Stop; here, his fascination with "snowballing" was introduced. At one point, he is shooed away by an angry hockey player, who is also played by Scott Mosier.
- Willam had a slightly larger role in Mallrats, in which he tries to see a sailboat in a Magic Eye picture. Throughout the film he stares at the picture as mall customers spot the sailboat in seconds. At one point, in frustration, he kicks the picture and kicks part of a television show stage, which becomes a story point. Before the end credits, a caption reveals that Willam eventually saw the sailboat (and broke the fourth wall by showing that he could see that caption).
- Willam appears in a panel of the first issue of the comic book mini-series Chasing Dogma, still trying to see the sailboat.
- Willam can be seen in a panel of the Clerks Holiday Special comic book, in which he appears to have been institutionalized at the same psychiatric ward currently serving home to Caitlin Bree.
- Willam can be seen on Clerks: The Lost Scene at Julie Dwyer's funeral, standing among other people.
- Willam makes a cameo at the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, watching the cinema lights.
- Throughout Clerks, Willam is seen a total of five times. The first time he is seen he's holding a soda, just in front of the register towards the beginning of the movie. The next time he is seen holding a sandwich of unknown origin outside of the store, and offering it to Silent Bob. He is then seen listening to Olaf singing "Beserker." The fourth appearance is him asking if the store is open during the hockey game on the roof. The fifth significant appearance is towards the end of the movie, where Willam wanders inside the ambulance taking Caitlin Bree away, still holding the same sandwich from earlier that day. He is taken to the hospital with Caitlin.
- In the View Askew Production Drawing Flies, Ethan Suplee appears and is credited as Willam Black. While the film isn't officially a part of the Askewniverse, both Suplee and Kevin Smith are credited as Askewniverse characters (Smith's being Silent Bob).
"Willam of two worlds" theory
The two actors who portrayed Willam, Scott Mosier and Ethan Suplee, are completely different in physical appearance. This has led to confusion among fans as to how Willam can look like Suplee one day and Mosier the next (literally - Mallrats takes place one day before Clerks, chronologically). Character creator Kevin Smith has come up with the theory similar to the DC Comics theory of "Two Worlds". The booklet for the Criterion Collection edition of Chasing Amy, however, may suggest that Willam from Clerks and Willam from Mallrats are simply two different people with the same name, by listing him twice. In the booklet, he is also labeled as "William" instead of Willam.