Hannah Waddingham's Ted Lasso Headcanon Predicted Rebecca's Story

The original spark that made "Ted Lasso" such a breath of fresh air when the first season debuted came from the unshakable optimism of its lead character. As the series has gone on, the storylines have dealt with more serious issues like mental health and anxiety, which have humanized the cast and made them much more relatable. And as the show has grown more complex, the feel-good nature of "Ted Lasso" has subsided a little to make room for other characters, like Hannah Waddingham's Rebecca, to become more three-dimensional. In the first season, Rebecca was poised to be the villain who secretly planned to dismantle the team, but once her unhealthy relationship with Rupert (Anthony Head) is revealed, she instantly transforms into someone to root for. 

Waddingham plays Rebecca as a powerhouse executive with a steely armored shell around her, but that resolve gives way at times to show just how much she's given up for her success. With a fantastic bit of acting, Waddingham showed real vulnerability in episode 9 of season one when Rupert tells Rebecca that he's having a baby with his new girlfriend Bex (Keeley Hazell). Being the dispassionate scoundrel that he is, Rupert tells Rebecca, "I do want a child. I just suppose I didn't want one with ... before." That's an incredibly low blow, even for Rupert, and Rebecca is noticeably shaken by his callousness. Originally, Waddingham had no idea about Rupert and Rebecca's sordid past, but their abusive relationship ended up matching up perfectly with the backstory she created for her character. 

Rebecca's work/life balance

Waddingham's own headcanon about Rebecca's past and her relationship with Rupert ended up being right in line with what the writers were thinking as well. In a past interview with Collider, Waddingham described the past history she had created: 

"I had no idea of the arc with the old Rebecca/new Rebecca thing and the pregnancy and all of that. I had no idea. But, bizarrely, what I created for myself as a backstory was that when she and Rupert got together, she probably would have been around 30, and that she was very keen to have children and so put her own career on the back burner to try and convince him. He had always said that he didn't want to have children. This was all in my own head, that he'd never wanted to have children, and so she had chosen man or child, and she'd stuck with the man."

The backstory Waddingham created also points to just how much more depth and development Rebecca winds up possessing as "Ted Lasso" progresses in each episode. At that moment in episode 9, the sacrifice Rebecca has made for the sake of her career is painfully clear. Although Waddingham's performance is stellar, she made sure to give a shout-out to the director of the episode as well. "That whole sequence that I think M.J. Delaney just masterfully directed — it gives me goose pimples just talking about it — that whole sequence I had no idea that that was going to be the storyline, but in my head, I had created that she was a woman who had missed the boat with her fertility." With season 3 now streaming on Apple+ TV, looking back on that scene in season one shows why Rebecca has become one of the most beloved characters on the show.