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Westworld is back -- and joining Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson and Thandie Newton are a trove of new cast members that will play into each character’s storyline in season three. The most notable new character is Caleb played by Aaron Paul, who has returned to TV with his first onscreen role since Breaking Bad and the follow-up film El Camino.
So what do Caleb and the other new characters mean for the show? Well, co-creator Jonah Nolan tells ET that it will offer a major new perspective. “Every season has been rooted in the perspective of the hosts. In the first season, Dolores didn't even understand that she was reliving her memories and conflating them with the present. The second season very much takes Bernard's perspective as he's trying to reassemble a fractured mind,” he explains, adding that season three will follow Caleb, who is trying to “understand the world that he’s in.”
“If you look at the timelines of the show, we kind of cascade this season into the present, in a moment in which everyone is in the present,” Nolan continues, referring to the fact that the previous two seasons' overlapping timelines have converged now that the hosts have escaped the park created by Delos and entered the real world.
That world includes several new characters played by Vincent Cassel (Serac), Lena Waithe (Ash), Scott Mescudi (Francis), Marshawn Lynch (Giggles), John Gallagher Jr. (Liam), Michael Ealy (Jake) and Tommy Flanagan (Connells).
“But we probably won’t stay there for very long,” Nolan teases.
In the meantime, here’s a closer look at each of the new characters on season three.
Caleb (Aaron Paul)
The biggest addition to the cast this season is Caleb, who has been described as a construction worker -- yet that may not be his only profession. Based on previously released footage, he seems to be questioning his place in society and seemingly gets involved with a less than legal group led by Ash and Giggles. But look for him to spend more time with Dolores (Wood), whom he has a chance encounter with before things quickly pick up from there.
While Paul is a newcomer to the series, he’s been a “crazy fan” of the show. “I had already seen the second season twice before I sat down with Lisa [Joy] and Jonah,” he says. “So I was trying to keep my cool during the meeting. But they had a really great pitch for me.”
“When they came up to me, they had this idea -- they gave me just broad strokes of sort of who this guy is and gave me a little bit of his backstory and where he was going,” Paul continues, adding that he “had a grasp of who this guy was.”
As Nolan said, Caleb will offer another perspective, one that will help audiences navigate the “new world” they’ve entered now that the hosts have escaped the park. “He’s a complicated guy,” Paul says, promising that more layers of who he is will be revealed throughout the season. As typical with this series, “nothing really is as it seems,” he teases. “Even if we’re outside the walls of Westworld, it’s still very complicated and messy and very similar to the inner workings of Westworld.”
Serac (Vincent Cassel)
When it was first announced that Cassel had joined the cast, it was reported that he would be playing a villain. Since then, not much has been revealed about his character, Serac -- but that may be by design both in and out of the series. “Nobody knows anything about him,” Cassel tells ET about the mysterious Serac, whom he describes as being the master of the world. “He’s the one running the world today because he has access to all the data concerning everybody.”
However, he may have met his match in Maeve (Newton), whom he pulls out of retirement -- “She starts out retired but can’t stay that way,” Newton says -- to track down and kill Dolores. “I think that’s why there’s this seduction thing going on through all those scenes because there’s this respect and fear of the other,” he says of their time on screen together. “She needs me and I need her. So, we got to work together.”
Ash (Lena Waithe) and Giggles (Marshawn Lynch)
Based on the three trailers released, Ash and Giggles are part of some sort of a crime ring or anarchist group not content with following the rules and seemingly recruit Caleb to help them rob a bank among other things. “If you meet my character, hold your wallet close,” Waithe tells ET about Ash. “She’s a bit of a trickster and got sticky fingers. She’s also kind of tough but she’s cool.”
She, like many of the newcomers to the series, was not given full scripts. “It’s a beautiful experience to be in it now because I don’t know what’s going on at all,” she says of the meta experience of going from watching and “trying to figure out what everything meant” to now being in and still completely in the dark.
Yet, look for the TV writer to be joining in all the real-time reactions on social media. “I’m going to be watching with everyone. I’m going to be on Twitter, hearing what people are thinking and reacting with folks,” she teases.
Francis (Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi)
One of the more mysterious new additions to the series is Francis, who has only been seen in a teaser wearing a prison-like jumpsuit as he talks to Caleb from behind a glass wall. And it seems that the rapper-slash-actor is just as in the dark as audiences. “It’s interesting because I didn’t read any of the scripts,” Mescudi explains. “I don't know any of the episodes, I don't know what happens. I just know my scenes. So it’s all a big surprise to me. So I’m entering this with nothing in my mind. I’m new to this.”
The part marks Mescudi's first role on an HBO series since appearing on How to Make It in America. “I’ve been a fan of the show and when I heard about this through my agent, I was like, I have to be on board,” he tells ET about getting involved.
The three other newcomers are Liam, Connells and Jake, who have been seen the least in all the trailers leading up to Sunday’s premiere. (In fact, Jake hasn’t been seen at all, making him the most mysterious of them all.) However, it’s safe to say that like all the other new characters, they’ll make their presence known within the first few episodes.
When asked what the season was all about, Flanagan was completely honest. “I have absolutely no idea,” he tells ET. “I know what I did in the show and that's about it.”
His comments echo what Gallagher says about working on the series. “There’s still stuff I don’t know because they’re so secretive about what they do dole out to the guest actors, so I only knew a little bit coming into it,” the former Newsroom star says, adding: “I was excited to get a chance to work with them and be a part for a brief visit.”