- "Caesar. I'm sorry. This is my fault. This has to stop. This isn't the way, you know what they're capable of. Please come home. If you come home, I'll protect you.
Caesar is home.
Okay. Caesar's home."
- ―Will to Caesar
William "Will" Rodman was the deuteragonist of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Will was the son of the late Charles Rodman, the adoptive father of the late Caesar, the boyfriend of Caroline Aranha, the adoptive father-in-law of the late Cornelia and the adoptive grandfather of the late Blue Eyes and Cornelius. Will was the Yale educated scientist who was responsible for the creation of ALZ-112, the attempted cure for Alzheimer's Disease. His attempts, however, lead to the fall of the human race and the rise of the Evolved Apes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
For almost six years at Gen-Sys, Will has been working on an experimental drug he called the ALZ-112, a gene therapy he designed to allow the brain to replicate cells to repair itself, to save his father Charles Rodman, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. One day, Will walked in on a lab to monitor co-worker Robert Franklin and Chimp #9, who was one of thirteen chimpanzee test subjects that has been injected with the 112 virus, and became astonished to see the chimp complete the Lucas tower in twenty moves. Ecstatic, Will told Franklin to send him a copy of the recording as he ran out of the lab and proceeded to his superior Steven Jacobs' office. Seeing Jacobs at his desk while on the phone, Will told him the 112 works, forcing Jacobs to wrap up his call and look over the file Will gave. While Will remain adamant about the 112's progress, Jacobs voiced his concern about Will rushing it, but Will assured him it's time to move the drug to human trials. Jacobs gave in and consented to present the 112 to Gen-Sys' Board of Directors, letting Will leave the office to prepare with a smile until Jacobs told him to not get emotional during the proposal, which Will agreed.
Later on, Will, with Jacobs beside him, presented the 112 to the board, starting with chimp #9's performance on the Lucas tower before given the drug, which lead to her failure as expected. Will then informed the board of the 112's task of brain-repair and told them it was design to be the cure of Alzheimer's, and revealed that even without adverse effects, the 112 has altered the lab chimpanzees' eyes, showing green flecks in their irises that made their eyes human-like, which Will state he'll show them when his lab associates bring chimp #9 in. As Will further explain the 112's potential to cure more brain disorders beyond Alzheimer's, Jacobs intervened and assured the company's income will skyrocket with the approval of 112 human trials. Before either Will or Jacobs can go any further, chimp #9 burst in the room through the screen presentation and landed on the table, screeching in violence and turned to Will. As she lunged, Will saw a bullet hit her shoulder, forcing to turn around to see one security guard continuing to shoot at her as Will attempted to stop him. Will then turned to see chimp #9's lifeless body bleed out on the table, and his dream shattered as he thought the chimp's aggression was an adverse effect of the 112.
After the failed presentation, Will realized the 112 has been locked away and confronted Jacobs in the building's parking lot, who told him the board rejected his proposal and brought up the possibility of Will being fired. Will attempted to make Jacobs see the drug's potential, but Jacobs told him the reality of the company only pushing projects forward for profit and made a jab to Will about his lack of understanding the brain's way of working in spite of studying it. Will, however, refused to give in, forcing Jacobs to tell him to start over on the 112 and ordered him to head in the lab to assist in clean-up, as Franklin was ordered to euthanize the remaining twelve chimps under Jacobs' order. Returning to the chimp lab, Will found not only Franklin in Bright Eyes' cage, but a chimp infant in her blankets. As Franklin theorized Bright Eyes was pregnant before being brought to Gen-Sys, Will realized her running amok was just to protect the infant, meaning the 112 project has been shelved over a misunderstanding. Franklin then took the baby and gave him to Will, asking him to look after him for a couple days while he looks for a sanctuary to take the baby, but Will declined and reminded him the baby is company property like his deceased mother. Franklin then told Will if he won't do it, then kill the baby as he left a needle on the cage door and walked away. Looking at the baby, Will decided not to kill him and snuck him out of Gen-Sys
Returning home that raining night, Will kept the baby in a box with holes and brought it inside, bumping into Irena, his father's in-home nurse, who informed of his father's progress for the day as she spot the baby's box, which Will informed her it was a temporary house guest before she left. Heading upstairs, Will went into his father's room and saw him attempting to play the piano, but he kept missing a majority of the key notes. Will then got his father's attention, whom then thought Will was back in high school preparing for a chemistry test, depressing Will for a moment before he brought his father back to the present with a gift. Bringing his father downstairs, Will opened the box and revealed the chimp infant, which his father became awe-inspired and marveled the baby. As his father voiced his concern at the patchless fur on the baby's right shoulder, Will assured him it was a birthmark as he moved to the fridge, informing his father the baby won't stay long as Charles cited Julius Caesar while lifting the baby.
In the middle of the night, Will woke up to the baby's crying and went to him, seeing the baby coming down with a cold. He took the baby to the bathroom and had the hot water on in both the tub and sink, covering the bathroom with hot steam. Shaking the baby to soothe him, Will looked down to see the baby grab his finger, realizing he's starting to like the chimp. By morning, the baby's cold broke and Will set him down in a booster seat as his father's Alzheimer's made him believe he still drives, which Will reminded him he doesn't drive anymore. After Charles snapped out of his dementia, Will asked him to feed the baby as he headed into the kitchen and proceeded back to the table at his father revealed the baby can already feed himself. Citing the baby's advanced knowledge, Charles asked Will what are they going to call the baby, which Will admits he doesn't know while he realized the baby could have the 112 in his DNA.
In three years since deciding to adopt the baby, know named Caesar, Will taught him Sign Language and studied him over the years, confirming his theory about Caesar possessing the 112 in his genes, evident by his yellow eyes. While recording a session of Caesar playing chess by himself, Will heard a commotion upstairs and walked in Charles' room to see him fighting Irena over a lamp, which cut his hand and broke. As his father calms down, Will apologized to Irena, who decided to quit and told Will that his father belongs in an old folks' home before walking out of the room. Seeing his father acting out, Will cemented his resolve and headed back to Gen-Sys and took a couple of vials containing the 112. Returning home that night, Will placed the majority of the bottles in a refrigerator in his shed and proceed back in his house to his father, injecting him with the 112 in his room and spotted Caesar, who was curious, and shushed him, which Caesar realized Will told him not to tell anyone.
By morning, Will woke up to see his father not in bed proceeded to head downstairs at the sound of piano playing, which was performed by Charles down to the note. Will then examined his father, whom was astonished by his miraculous recovery, and as Will planned out his father's treatment, Charles expressed his joy of not being sick anymore, which Will decided to join his father's happy mood before he asked him to bring down Caesar. Will headed to Caesar's room, the attic, and found it empty. Heading outside with his father behind him, Will called out to Caesar until he heard Caesar's screeching from his neighbor Douglas Hunsiker's house. Bursting through the gate boarding both houses, Will saw Hunsiker attempting to hit Caesar with a bat and stopped him, assuring Hunsiker it won't happen again as he made threats to keep Caesar away from his house and children. Heading back to his backyard, Will reminded the scared Caesar not to leave the house without himself or his father. Sitting on one of the steps, Will saw Caesar rub his right shin, which was cut by Hunsiker's branch trimmer as Caesar fell on it in an attempt to climb over the fence. Charles examined the wound, and asked Will if it's serious, which Will stated he doesn't know.
Later on, Will took Caesar, dressed in clothes and in a stroller, to a zoo to have Caesar's wound looked at by a veterinarian. Will passed by the chimp enclosure, which Caesar saw others of his own kind for the first time and the chimps hoot and screech as they saw Caesar. Will met the zoo's veterinarian Caroline Aranha, who examined Caesar's wound and stitched it up in her office. Caesar express happiness to Caroline, which Will told her the chimp likes her before telling Caesar they'll eat ice cream later. Caesar grunts happily and Signed a suggestion, which Will agreed to and informed Caroline he did teach Caesar to Sign. Will then saw Caesar telling him to ask Caroline to dinner in Sign, which he told her it was nothing and asked her when they should return to remove the stitches, but Caroline told him they won't need to due to the stitches being dissolvable and warned him to look out for any signs of infection. Spotting Caesar telling him to ask her out again, Will gave in and told Caroline Caesar wants him to ask her to dinner. As Caroline sat surprised, Caesar points to Will as he laughs nervously.
Couple of days later after Caroline agreed to have dinner with him, Will brought her to his house and to Caesar's room as Charles walked downstairs after getting to know Caroline. As Caesar moves around the ceiling beams, Caroline asked Will how he managed to raise him, which Will joked lightheartedly that it was all in Caesar's DNA. As he sat down on Caesar's bed, Will heard Caroline's concern about Caesar becoming more wild when he grows older as the chimp climbed up on the bed and Caroline examined his healing leg. Will, however, expressed optimism and stated Caesar would never change as the young chimp playfully attacked Will before Will made him move off the bed. Caesar then moved to his window and banged it happily, which Will and Caroline agreed to take him out to open space.
Some time later, Will planned a trip to take Caesar to the Muir Woods National Monument over the Golden Gate Bridge with Caroline and Charles. Arriving at the main entrance, Will placed Caesar on a leash, as the young chimp anxiously examined the open area, despite Charles' plea that Caesar doesn't need it before the four walked in to explore the woods. Reaching a bridge, Will decided to let Caesar off his leash, but became confused as the young chimp bowed down with his right hand extended, which Caroline told Will was a chimpanzee's way of asking permission from the leader. Will watched as Caroline take his hand and brushed it on Caesar's hand, granting the ape permission as he happily ran off deep in the woods. Concerned, Will ran with Caroline and Charles behind him, calling out Caesar's name until he spotted the young ape staring interestingly at a large tree. Will saw as Charles urged Caesar to climb the tree, which the ape did excitedly, moving up higher with Will expressing concern for Caesar to be careful.
Revealing the Truth & Caesar's Capture
Fives years later, Will's relationship with Caroline blossomed into love and passionately kissed her on a trip in the Muir Woods while Caesar, now eight, climbed up to the highest trees before coming back down and interrupting Will's passion with Caroline. Seeing Caesar sitting down behind him with his lips puckered, Will decided to express his love for his adopted son by pressing his forehead against his. As they packed up their picnic supplies and were leaving, Will, Caroline and Caesar met another family with a dog that began barking at Caesar. Will managed to get Caesar's attention temporarily until the adolescent ape screeched at the dog to silence its barking. Will then assured Caesar everything's okay and brought the ape to the car. After placing the backdoor down and taking off Caesar's leash, Will realized Caesar was upset and tried to get his attention, which made Caesar get into the car's middle seat. Closing the door and leaning beside the car, Will asked Caesar if he was okay, which the ape asked if he was Will's pet, which Will assured he wasn't. Caesar then asked who his father was, which Will told him he was, but Caesar knows they're no blood related and asked Will what he was. Sensing his adopted son's frustration, Will decided to reveal the truth to Caesar and drove him to Gen-Sys.
Parked outside of the Gen-Sys building, Will revealed to Caesar that his mother was brought her eight years before his birth with other chimps and confirmed to Caesar, who asked, that his mother is dead. Shocking Caroline as well as leaving Caesar confused, Will told the ape that his intelligence was the result of the 112 being injected in his mother while Caesar was in her womb. Sensing his girlfriend's demand to head home, Will drove back to his house as Caesar watched the Gen-Sys building through the back windshield.
As Caesar headed up to his room, Will saw Caroline open his secret office and demanded an explanation. Will told her how he chose to save Caesar and not knowing that Caesar has inherited the 112 through his mother, but then reveals to Caroline that Caesar's intelligence has evolved far beyond that of the 112's design to repair the brain. As Caroline told him what he was doing was wrong, Will defended his actions and mentioned without the drug his father would've lost his identity and died from his Alzheimer's, pointing out the positive until Caroline asked him how does Caesar fit in as he's the first ape with heightened intelligence. Seeing that it made the ape an outside to both humans and apes, Will said Caesar belongs with them. Hearing Caroline's pleas about him attempting to play god, Will once again defended his actions, causing a momentary drift in their relationship.
The next morning after Caroline left for work, Will joined Charles and Caesar for breakfast, telling the troubled ape to eat. Sitting down, Will saw Caesar reach for Charles hand and noticed he was holding the fork upside down as Caesar flipped it right-side up. Concerned, Will asked his father if he was okay, which Charles said he was, but Will and Caesar saw that something was wrong. Heading to work with his father's blood sample, Will ran some tests and made a horrifying discovery: his father's immune system has developed antibodies to fight off the 112, causing his Alzheimer's to return and rendering the ALZ-112 ineffective with humans. Returning home, Will's horror has intensified as he learned that Charles' Alzheimer's made him attempted to driver Hunsiker's car, angering Hunsiker who threatened Charles, which made Caesar attack Hunsiker.
Days later after the Hunsiker family sued him and the custody of Caesar turned over to the San Bruno Primate Shelter, Will drove with Caroline to the shelter and saw animal control pulling Caesar out of their truck with a ketch-all pole, pleading them to take it off of Caesar. Will then attempted to reason with animal control in letting him bring Caesar in, but they declined as it wasn't part of the court order until the own John Landon told animal control it was fine. After animal control removed the pole around Caesar's neck, Will and Caroline stopped the frightened ape from leaving as he Signed he wanted to go home. After telling Caesar not yet and calming him down, Will, with Caroline's help, brought Caesar inside the shelter and Landon showed them the play area, intriguing Caesar. Will told Caesar to look over the area as he explained to Landon that Caesar has had no interactions with other apes, which Landon informed him it's normal for new apes to be skittish first at being in this shelter, and informed him Caesar will thrive here with his own kind before they closed the door. Will and Caroline saw through the window as Caesar attempted to run to them and pleaded to free him, but Will told Caesar that he's staying in the shelter for now and not returning home. As Caesar cries and groans, Will, melancholy, left the ape in the shelter after signing the paper that grants Caesar's custody to Landon.
Losing Charles & Developing the ALZ-113
Heading to a lawyer agency, Will spoke to one of the workers who informed him his appeal request will take up to three months, but Will attempted to have the worker give him his appeal earlier, which she stated there's nothing he can do. Will then angered the worker about no leaving until he gets his appeal now, but the worker told him he has to wait the three months and made a jab about Caesar not being put down for attacking Hunsiker before closing the window on Will's face. Returning home, Will walked to his father's room and found Charles sitting on his bed. Will assured his father he'll get Caesar back, but saw his father's confusion before staring back into open space. Will realized his father's Alzheimer's has progressed rapidly and sat by his side to comfort him. At night, Will began working on a new version of the 112 while also recording his father's progression until the stress got to him. Turing to Caroline, who's been watching him, Will tearfully told her he won't lose his father and son.
The next day at Gen-Sys, Will ran into Jacobs in an elevator and attempted to make his superior restore the 112 project, but when Jacobs refused, Will revealed he stole some samples and treated his father with it. Exiting the elevator, a shocked Jacobs asked if the 112 worked, and Will told it did until his father's immune system fought it off but assured Jacobs the drug will work. Will then revealed he has already developed a more potent virus, but Jacobs wasn't interested until Will revealed the 112 didn't just recover temporarily but improved intellectually as well, which caught Jacobs' attention, who then decided the start the project again and told Will he'll give him all the resources he wants before leaving for his meeting.
By the next day, Will, along with Franklin, arrived at the lab as a new shipment of ten apes were brought in. After Franklin made sure the count was right and expressed his concern, Will joked about Franklin complaining on his first day back before heading inside. Will and Franklin examined the first nine chimpanzees until Will's attention was caught by Koba, a one-eyed, mutilated bonobo that held his hand out. Reading the bonobo's name, Will introduced himself and gave a cookie to Koba, who immediately ate it and demanded another. Realizing the bonobo is smarter than its nine companions, Will decided to make Koba the first test subject. After adorning the testing gear and mask, Will, Franklin, and two lab assistants began to prep Koba for the modified ALZ-112 administration, now named ALZ-113; Will noticed how calm the ape was, which Franklin revealed that the bonobo has been tested multiple times in different labs. Before they could begin, Will spotted Jacobs knocking on the window and said he wanted to see them administer the 113, which Will allowed. After Jacobs adorned the protective attire, Will ordered the 113 canister to be placed in the anesthesia machine and Will placed the gas mask on Koba's mouth before switching the machine on. As Koba breathed in the virus, Will and the others went into shock briefly as the ape heaved his torso to bust some of the straps and strike Franklin in the face, knocking off his mask while disconnecting the gas mask form the machine and exposing the virus. As he warned Franklin to put his mask back on before breathing in the virus, Will placed the gas mask's tube back in the machine while Franklin placed his mask back on. Will then ordered the lab assistants to tighten Koba's strap as they continued the experiment, unaware that the bonobo deliberately lashed out on purpose.
Hours later, Will and Franklin received word that Koba's body accepted the 113, evident by his right eye turning green. As he observe Koba's eye examination by a lab assistant, Will marvels at the speed of the 113 enhancement and told Franklin to keep an eye on the bonobo until Franklin suddenly sneezed. As he allowed Franklin to leave, Will was more focused on the 113 as he was oblivious to Franklin's sneeze being bloody, and proceeded to grab a carton of the 113 from the freezer and snuck it out. The next day at San Bruno's, Will, with Caroline, greeted Caesar, who was happy to see them until Will spotted bite marks on Caesar's left hand. Concerned, Will asked Caesar if he was hurt while Caroline grabbed a towel and a bowl filled with water and washed the marks. As Dodge Landon, John's son, said Caesar was picked on for being the "new kid on the block", Will spotted Dodge's taser and accused him of harming Caesar as he seized him against a wall. After Dodge shoved him away and John entered the room, Will demanded he's taking Caesar out, but John refused as Will no longer has legal custody over the ape. Angered, Will threatened the Landons that he'll have the facility shut down if he finds out they're torturing Caesar. Turning back to Caesar, who asked through Sign if he can go home, Will said not yet and assured him he will in time, but Will sensed Caesar's hostility. Grabbing Caesar's hand, Will told the ape to trust him as John told both Will and Caroline to leave. As he let with Caroline, Will heard Caesar's hoots and grunts of frustration and betrayal, realizing Caesar's losing trust in Will.
At night in his father's room, Will was connecting a gas mask with one of the 113 canisters he'd stolen from Gen-Sys until his father grabbed his arm. Turing to the ailing Charles, Will realized his father doesn't want the drug and chose to succumb to his disease. Heartbroken, Will placed the canister aside and grabbed his father's hand, letting Charles know he will be there until the end. By morning, Will woke up to see his father dead in bed, leaving him in a state of melancholy. After his father's wake, Will returned home with Caroline and began to gather his father's stuff in a box. Will reached for his father's copy of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and found a picture of himself holding a sleeping two-year old Caesar in his arms. After placing the picture on nightstand, Will grabbed his father's glasses until Caroline grabbed his arm to comfort him and told him to accept that some things are far beyond humanity's control.
The next day, Will walked in Gen-Sys to the chimp testing floor and was shocked to see two lab assistants prepping a chimpanzee for 113 trial. Before they began, Will told them no more 113 trials on the chimps until Koba's blood work has been analyzed and demanded to know where Franklin was, which one of the lab assistants said Franklin' been out sick for the past two days. Demanding to know who authorized for more 113 trials, Will turned to hear Jacobs said he made the approval for more trials as he expressed his joy with the 113 in Koba's system, but Will expressed concern that the 113 isn't a cure yet. Ignoring Linda Andersen's stating the positive results of the 113, Will grabbed a trolley with an unconscious chimp and demanded no more tests until they've done a full examination of Koba. After Jacobs walked him to a hallway outside of the testing lab and stated the 113 is the answer, Will stated about the unforseen risks until Jacobs threatened to fire him for giving Charles an experimental drug, but Will said he quits. Jacobs, however, stated they will proceed with the 113 trials, forcing Will to plead with Jacobs not to rush the trial without fully knowing if the 113 can do the same treatment to the human mind without any form of severe or progressive side effect, but Jacobs said that's why they're testing it on the chimps, both completely unaware that the cause of Franklin's ailment was due to him accidentally inhaling the 113 the day Koba knocked off Franklin's mask during the administration.
Later on, Will decided to get Caesar out of San Bruno's and entrapped John with an envelope filled with a large sum of money. As John sensed his plan and stated the apes are just animals, Will asked if he can have Caesar back or not, which John accepted the money. Taken in the hallway with all the apes, Will grabbed a leash from Dodge after the latter opened Caesar's cell. Will told Caesar he can go home now, for real this time. As Caesar jumped down from the shelf, Will held out his hand to take Caesar's, but was confused as Caesar closed door and hopped back on the shelf. Shocked, Will called out to Caesar, who turned his back to Will and refused to turn. Turning to John, who said Caesar must like it better being around his own kind, Will stood for almost a minute as Dodge locked Caesar's cell and took back the leash. As his heart broke even more as he lost both his father and adopted child, Will left the facility, unaware that Caesar was crying as he gave up his only chance to go home to liberate the apes.
The Ape Rebellion
The following night, Will and Caroline slept in his room, unwoken by Caesar, who snuck out of San Bruno's, and gazed at them before heading to Will's shed and taking the remaining 113 canisters with the intent to enhance the intelligence of the apes in the facility. In two days, Will woke up to find the chains to Caesar's room swaying back and forth silently, which made him ask his girlfriend if she's been up in the attic. Suspicious, Will grabbed his phone and attempted to call San Bruno's, but his concern spiked as his call wasn't picked up.
Heading into the shelter, Will and Caroline found the place abandoned until they made their way to the cells, only to find the cells themselves empty and Dodge's charred body on the floor. Examining the body, Will spotted one of the canisters he stole from Gen-Sys and noticed the puncture in its side until Caroline called him as she opened a cell to find Rodney, Dodge's coworker, on the cell floor. After heading to the cell, Will asked Rodney what happened, but was shocked to hear Rodney tell him Caesar spoke. After calling the paramedics and cops, Will and Caroline saw the cell's camera recording of Caesar hosing Dodge while he held his prod, which John watched as he walked in, leaving him horrified to see his son killed. Heading back to his car with Caroline, Will revealed that Caesar plans to liberate the apes from both Gen-Sys and the San Francisco zoo.
Passing through a bridge intersection, Will surmised that once Caesar freed all the apes, they'll head through the city to find a new home. Along the way, Will and Caroline spotted the apes entering the Golden Gate Bridge from afar, realizing the apes are planning to head for the Muir Woods.
Along with Caroline, Will tries to rush to Caesar but is held back by the cops. Will tells Caroline that he will get Caesar, as she kisses him for luck and causes a distraction that lets Will rush past the cops.
Will witnesses the battle between the cops and apes before he reaches the near end of the bridge. After the apes defeat the remaining officers, Will calls out to Caesar who is shocked to see him. However, Will is forced to hide when the police copter appears and opens fire on the apes.
Parting with his Son
After the chopper is destroyed by Buck, Caesar led the apes to the woods while Will steals a police car to follow them. However once he got to the woods, he calls for Caesar but his shouting attracts the unwanted attention of Koba who nearly kills Will right on the spot but luckily Caesar appears to rescue him and has Koba back off. Caesar then helps the scared Will up, as Will tells Caesar that he's sorry for everything and begs Caesar to come home with him knowing that the humans would soon find him and the other apes and says he'll protect Caesar if he comes. Caesar looks upon his fellow apes and realizing he wants to live in true freedom hugs and whispers into Will's ear "Caesar is home". Will, shocked and perhaps happy that about Caesar talking realizes that this is indeed their last farewell, so he respects Caesar's wishes and allows him to live with his own kind. Will watches Caesar with the other apes climb to the tops of the Redwoods and is left proud of Caesar for finding his true place in the world.
Dawn of the Planet of the Ape: Firestorm
Will is mentioned a number of times but never actually makes a physical appearance. Will is seen in a flashback that relates back to Rise when he and his team begin experimenting with the ALZ-113 on Koba. The flashback being told from Koba's perspective. In a scene, Caesar wonders what Will and Caroline are doing now that he is no longer a part of their lives.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
As of this film, Will has been believed to be dead for a number of years but there is no direct evidence given to prove this. Will is indirectly mentioned several times throughout the film. The first time is when Maurice and Caesar are talking about the birth of Caesar's youngest son, Cornelius when Maurice asks if Caesar misses the humans. Caesar admits he does, which relates back to his childhood, growing up with Will. Later in the forest, Ellie indirectly mentions Will by saying that the Simian Flu was created by scientists in a lab, though it is unclear if she actually knew Will was responsible for the virus' creation. After Caesar tells the humans to leave, after finding out one of them had a gun, Malcolm comes to his home and tells him that not all humans are like Carver, Caesar is shown to have become deep in thought, probably thinking of Will and how he treated him like a son. These words have him put aside his distrust and allow Ellie to give Cornelia medicine and results in Caesar letting the humans stay for one more day. When Caesar is shot by Koba and Malcolm's family find and rush him to the city he directs them to his old family home where the family learn of his past and his reasons for being kind to them. The house is marked with having sick humans inside; presumably this confirms Will's death. Later on, Blue Eyes (the oldest son of Caesar) would find his father alive and he would discover through a framed portrait that his father had been raised by humans hence the reason for his sympathy and compassion towards them. Blue Eyes would slowly think of Will as a grandfather due to him raising Caesar from infancy and to adulthood. While at the residence, Caesar also found an old recording of Will and himself and watched it sadly.
Years after Will's apparent death (not yet confirmed) Blue Eyes, Caesar's oldest son would visit the Rodman Residence and while watching over his wounded father would discover that a picture of Will and his father Caesar, learning he was raised by humans hence his reason being compassionate and sympathetic to them. Blue Eyes would then consider Will as his grandfather in a way due to him raising Caesar from infancy to adulthood.
Will is a kind yet desperate man. As the sole carer of his Alzheimer's stricken father other than his nurse, Will learned to juggle his responsibilities along with his workload. After adopting Caesar, Will became a single parent showing his paternal and (over) protective side. Will is also seen to be selfless as he put the well-beings both of Caesar and Charles before his own. When it came to his work, Will was said to be the star of Gen-Sys before taking in and raising Caesar. His star status was revoked by Jacobs when Will failed to show up for work everyday in order to raise Caesar and care for his father after the nurse quits and to focus on making sure that the ALZ-112 worked accordingly.
- It is speculated that Will and Caroline have died from the virus by the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, as James Franco and Freida Pinto were not asked to reprise their roles. An article by USA Today stated that Will (and possibly Caroline; not mentioned) died from the Simian Flu; but there is no direct evidence given to prove this. According to an article in Collider from late April, producer Dylan Clark revealed Will and Caroline were never supposed to survive the end of Rise and that Will's death was a way of punishment for beginning the downfall of man via the ALZ-113.
- Despite knowing about Caesar's increased intelligence, it can be presumed that Will never really understood how truly sentient Caesar was until he spoke to him in the woods in Rise.
- It is unknown how Will managed to make Casear not appear too intelligent when in public.
- It is unknown how Will was able to hide the fact that he stole Caesar from gensys over the years, or it can be presumed that nobody asked how Will got Caesar. Most people probably thought he was Will's bought pet, or possibly Will managed to somehow forge illegal documents which stated Caesar was his pet.
- If Will and Caroline did not die from the outbreak of the ALZ-113 (Simian Flu), it can be assumed that they were caught in the crossfire of the virus outbreak that was mentioned by Dreyfus which lasted four years before the battle caused the humans to turn on each other. Much like Armando in the original films, Will most likely never got to see the kingdom that Caesar created from the ground up, let alone meet Caesar's own thriving family consisting of his wife (Cornelia) and his two sons.
- Will makes a cameo in a flashback appearance in Dawn. He is seen on a video camera at the old Rodman house with a then young Caesar, teaching him how to sign "Caesar, you are home".
- It is implied Caesar witness Will and Caroline's death.
- The name "Rodman" is a tribute to Rodman (Rod) Serling, writer of the first Planet of the Apes screenplay. Perhaps coincidentally, it is also a partial anagram of Armando, which, seeing as they both raised their own Caesar, is a further link between the 2011 reboot and the original films.
- Tobey Maguire, Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Campo were considered for the role of Will.
- An earlier version of the script indicated that "Will" was short for "Wilson Rodman", a reference to the other writer credited on the original movie, Michael Wilson. In the same script, Will's father often addresses Will as "John", but Will reminds him that "John is gone". After his father's death, Will looks at an old photo showing his father with two teenage sons. Later, Will goes to the primate facility after Caesar has taken over and, believing Caesar to have murdered Robert Franklin, decides he has to kill Caesar to prevent further bloodshed. However, Cornelia eats the poisoned cookie Will offered to Caesar and dies before the apes reach the Golden Gate Bridge. Later, after discovering that it was Koba who killed Franklin, Will goes to the redwood forest to negotiate a peaceful outcome with Caesar, but the police renege on their agreement with Will and follow him in order to shoot as many apes as possible. Will takes a bullet intended for Caesar, and dies in his arms as the apes ambush the police and slaughter them.
- In the original filmed climax to the movie, this plot was modified so that John Landon follows Will into the forest with a shotgun and Will gets shot protecting Caesar. Landon is then killed by the apes and Koba takes Landon's gun. A test audience was shown this ending and reacted negatively, and so a different ending was shot on July 4 weekend, 2011, in Griffith Park, with a slightly more positive feel.
- "Will" was also the name of the main character in a failed mid-"90s" Apes movie project named Return of the Apes, which producer Peter Chernin had also been involved in.
- Will is similar in a number of ways to Dr. Susan McAlester from the motion picture Deep Blue Sea. Both are dedicated scientists who desperately work to achieve a miracle for Alzheimer's Disease and are inspired and heavily driven because of afflicted family members; both use animals to achieve a means to an end in attempt to cure Alzheimer's but cause the animals to become hyper-intelligent and cause them to revolt against their creators (in the case of Dr. McAlester she used genetically modified mako sharks, rather than an already existing miracle drug); both had fathers inflicted with advanced stages of Alzheimer's that eventually claimed their lives.