IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

What happens to Will at the end of ‘3 Body Problem’? The actor explains

Alex Sharp says his character’s ending “haunts him.”
3 Body Problem. (L to R) Alex Sharp as Will Downing, Jess Hong as Jin Cheng in episode 106 of 3 Body Problem.
3 Body Problem. (L to R) Alex Sharp as Will Downing, Jess Hong as Jin Cheng in episode 106 of 3 Body Problem. Netflix

Warning: This contains spoilers for the end of “3 Body Problem.”

It’s not a stretch to say Will Downing (Alex Sharp) donates his body to science in “3 Body Problem,” a new Netflix show based on Liu Cixin’s trilogy of the same name.

Will is a physics teacher who receives a life-altering cancer diagnosis early on in the eight-episode season. While his Oxford friends are busy making millions in fast food empires or having scientific breakthroughs, Will is contemplating the meaning of life.

After learning he has late stage pancreatic cancer, Will knows he doesn’t have much of it left.

His friend and longtime crush, Jin Cheng (Jess Hong), approaches him with an interesting proposition.

She’s working on a mission to help the human race deal with an impending alien invasion. Her idea is objectively risky. She wants to use a series of nuclear explosions to send a probe to the San Ti’s ship before they reach Earth in 400 years.

The journey will take 200 years. For that duration, the inhabitant will be cryogenically frozen. “Not dead ... not alive, somewhere in between,” the scientist explains. The inhabitant can stay that way in perpetuity. Here’s the catch: The probe has to be small — only big enough to hold a human head. Will’s head.

Below, Sharpe breaks down what happens to Will.

What happens to Will at the end of ‘3 Body Problem’?

Will agrees to Jin’s plan. Thanks to marvels in medical technology, his brain will be removed and preserved while the rest of his body dies. Once he catches up to the ship, the humans assume the San Ti will have the capability to revive him, since they’re so technologically advanced.

Will has to consent to take his own life five times. Before his body dies, Will reflects on his life with Saul Durand (Jovan Adepo), his friend and former Oxford classmate. Saul keeps encouraging Will to rethink his decision. Will is determined.

“Maybe it’ll be like I’m a pet to them ... or maybe I’ll be entertainment,” Will says.

The launch doesn’t go as planned, however. The probe loses course after only a few of the nuclear explosions, leaving Will in a twilight state, lost in space. It’s impossible to tell just how conscious he is.

“It haunts me,” Alex Sharp tells “There are few things scarier than the concept of being conscious yet unstimulated for the infinite amount of time. Just to be floating through endless space, consciously on some level for eternity is worse than dying, in my opinion.”

But he’s comforted by the fact that this was the character’s choice, and he knew the risks.

“It’s not just a sacrifice of his life. The stakes are so high. The fact that he’s willing to take that risk for the woman that he loves ... the love is that profound, is so beautiful,” he says. But he adds, “It’s very distressing though.”

Did Jin love Will back? Jess Hong weighs in

Will spends most of “3 Body Problem” pining over his friend Jin. Jin, meanwhile, is distracted by her job trying to save the world and her simmering relationship with a high-ranking member of the Navy.

Will doesn’t have a chance to tell her how he feels, though he comes close. Eventually, Jin figures it out when she learns Will “purchased” a $19.5 million star, part of an effort to raise money for Earth’s protection, for Jin. He used the fortune he inherited from his late millionaire best friend Jack Rooney (John Bradley).

Jin runs to the hospital but doesn’t make it in time.

“I don’t think she had anything planned. But I think as soon as she found out he had been doing all these gestures without her knowledge to show his love, she would have gone there and maybe poured her heart out. Although knowing Jin, she’s quite awkward in those situations. Maybe she wouldn’t have been able to say anything, just hold him,” she says.

As for whether the love was reciprocated? “I think even though she wasn’t aware of it, I think it was,” she says.

Is that the end of Will?

When asked if audiences will ever get closure around Will’s fate, Sharpe replies, “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. Who knows?”