Horror fans are still recovering from watching the various death scenes in the Final Destination (2000) franchise. You’ll never see a viewer of these films happily driving behind a log truck or lying in a tanning bed, even decades later. With five movies available, several terrifying moments will stick with fans for years to come. Aside from the brutal demise of nearly all the main characters, there’s another factor about Final Destination that leaves you with an eerie feeling. According to the cryptic coroner William Bludworth (Tony Todd), if you try to escape the Grim Reaper, it will come for you in a new way. While someone may think they’ve cheated Death, they’d soon find that all they’ve done is prolong his arrival.
Although each installment has slightly different death rules, there seems to be one person who knows them all: William Bludworth. He appears in three of the five Final Destination movies so far despite not being part of the primary storyline. Because he seems to know a lot about death and has a generally creepy demeanor, there has been a lot of speculation about this character. Some believe Bludworth aids the Grim Reaper, others think he’s the human incarnation of Death, and there are even theories he’s the Devil himself. With that said, Tony Todd and the producers have denied these theories, so if that’s the case, who is he? While it’s hard to say for sure, he doesn’t always seem like the simple coroner they made him out to be.
Bludworth may give advice, but is it actually life-saving advice? For someone who acts like he’s trying to be helpful, he sure seems to enjoy making the characters uncomfortable. His guidance seems to be more of a taunt, even saying, “I’ll see you soon.” to a couple of teenagers at his morgue. Coming from a man currently performing an autopsy on their friend’s dead body, it doesn’t come off as a heartwarming phrase.
On the other hand, there is a theory he is a visionary, much like the protagonist in each of the films. Perhaps he learned to escape death and began recognizing the signs it was coming for him. Unlike most of the characters, he mastered the art of predicting his demise, allowing him to continually avoid it successfully, and he can now help others along the way. These are just unproven hypotheses, and we’ve yet to get any real closure surrounding this mysterious man. However, fans may finally receive more clarification on Bludworth in the upcoming sixth Final Destination installment.
What we know about William Bludworth so far
Little is known about the creepy mortician who seemingly has the rulebook on death. Although he drops a few hints to some of the plane crash survivors, he seems to predict two of them will be sneaking into the morgue. This suggests he not only knows a lot about death but can also predict the future. Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) and Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) do sneak into the morgue to examine the body of their friend, Tod Wagner (Chad Donella). Hoping to find clues to understand the bizarre circumstances surrounding his death, they encounter William Bludworth. He explains the rule of death: those who manage to cheat death will find themselves back in its crosshairs. The revelation leads Alex and Clear to a shocking conclusion: Tod didn’t commit suicide, and his death was likely an accident. Thus, they are also in danger, having cheated death when they survived the catastrophic plane explosion.
Bludworth also appears in Final Destination 2 (2003), playing the same enigmatic mortician. In the sequel, lone plane-crash survivor Clear Rivers, along with Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) and Thomas Burke (Michael Landes), survivors of the Route 23 pileup, seek out Bludworth for more wisdom about outwitting death. Once again, he seems to have expected their arrival. While visiting, Bludworth is in the midst of preparing Evan Lewis’s (David Paetkau) body, one of the other survivors who soon met death by being impaled by a fire escape ladder. During their visit, they learn that new life can defeat death. Initially, they interpret this advice to mean the birth of a child whose mother was destined to die. Unfortunately, as the plot unfolds, they learn the actual meaning behind Bludworth’s advice is that if the survivor were to die and be resuscitated, they could potentially escape death’s grasp.
After disappearing from Final Destination 3 (2006) and Final Destination 4 (2009) due to scheduling conflicts with Tony Todd, William Bludworth reappears as the coroner in Final Destination 5 (2011), and this time, he has new tips for cheating death. Initially, he warns the survivors of a catastrophic bridge collapse that death is still after them. Soon, he meets them again after Isaac Palmer’s (Paul Jeffrey “P.J.” Byrne) demise and further elaborates on death’s design. He lets them know if they sacrifice someone else and allow death to take another person instead, they can keep their spot in the realm of living. While this seems simple enough, it comes with a twist: they’ll only receive the years the replacement has left in their life. Naturally, the characters don’t act on this as straightforwardly as he guides them to.
What we know about ‘Final Destination 6’ so far
Final Destination 6 will be under the direction of Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein, who are recognized for their contribution to the 2018 science fiction thriller Freaks. It was first reported to be in development in 2019, though progress has been slow due to factors like COVID-19 and the SAG-AFTRA strikes. Now that the strikes are over, the upcoming installment should be in production. Rachel O’Toole told The Direct, “We were two weeks away from cameras.” when speaking about the strikes, and goes on to say, “We were deeply involved in building that world out.”
In death there are no accidents, no coincidences, no mishaps, and no escapes.—William Bludworth, played by Tony Todd
The new movie will be a reboot with a fresh new take on the original Final Destination concept. Rather than focusing on high school students, the storyline will instead center around first responders. Despite the new characters, there is one man who will be making his return: Tony Todd as William Bludworth. So, with a reboot and a new set of actors, why bring back someone from the previous films? It’s been reported that they’ll be diving more into his backstory, including flashbacks with memories of deaths he’s endured throughout childhood. So, hopefully, we’ll uncover more information to solve the mysteries surrounding Bludworth.
It’s been nearly 13 years since the most recent installment, Final Destination 5, but O’Toole assures fans, “It’s gonna be well worth the wait.” Bookmark our new/upcoming horror movies tracker to see when Final Destination 6 gets a release date.