Pokémon GO’s Professor Willow Returns With A Brand New Look That’s Dividing Fans

Professor Willow
Image: Niantic / The Pokémon Company

Way back in June when the Pokémon GO Fest 2024 first began, everyone’s favourite Poké Ball guy (no, not the one from Sword and Shield), Professor Willow, was sucked into an ultra-wormhole and swiftly replaced by the robot distributor, Rhi. Over the course of the celebrations, Pokémon GO had a clear Willow-shaped hole at its core, keeping us worrying about the professor’s absence throughout the Ultra Beast events. However, at the festival’s conclusion, Professor Willow returned and it seems that the Wormhole has worked wonders on his appearance.

Recognisable by his rolled-up lab coat, PE teacher-style zip-up and wire-framed glasses, the new (and dare we say, improved) Willow has re-emerged as a younger model. No longer looking like a default Pixar father figure, Willow now sports a black coach jacket and biker goggles. Hey, do we even spy a little bit of stubble going on there?! How very down with the kids.

The now not-so-smiley professor has, predictably, caused an outcry on Twitter, with fans’ responses quickly descending into a game of ‘hot or not’ with regard to Willow’s transformation. Spare a thought for our retinas as we scrolled through the responses — not all were as family-friendly as those you will find below:

It may well be the case that Pokémon GO is simply moving onto a new redesign for Professor Willow, updating the friendly lab assistant for the kind of scientist who rides a motorbike to work. However, with the game’s ongoing storylines, it may not be this straightforward.

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If you go to the Pokémon GO news tab and select ‘Coming September 1, 2024: The Season of Light’, you will find a potential clue which suggests that the mystery of Willow’s disappearance is not over just yet (thanks, Kotaku, for pointing this one out). Instead of the usual summary of what is to come in the next chapter of Pokémon GO, you will see a single sentence reading, ‘Keep an eye out for Professor Willow…’ and a link to the following video:

Now, we’re no Sherlock Holmes but that sentence seems a little suspicious to us. Is this the real Professor Willow? And if not, where is our beloved Poké Prof? Hopefully things will start to become clear in September.

What do you make of Professor Willow’s updated look, then? Let us know in the poll below:

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