After playing the role in the unaired original pilot, it appeared that Webb would be unavailable to reprise the character for re-shoots and would have to be recast. However, it was later confirmed that Webb would indeed be returning to the role.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Will is famed for his skills as a tracker and a hunter, a result of his previous career as a poacher. Nobody can move more silent through the forest than Will. After being caught killing a Mallister buck by Lord Jason Mallister's woodsmen, he chose to take the black over losing a hand. He has been at the Wall for four years when the events of the books begin.
In the TV series, some of Will and Gared's story roles have been switched around from the books.