'Westworld': What to Know Before the Season 2 Premiere
By Jennifer Drysdale
John P. Johnson/HBO
These violent delights have violent ends… and then begin again 16 months later.
Season two of Westworld is officially upon us, more than a year after season one’s shocking twist-filled finale. If you’ve been waiting this long to find out what the heck is up Dolores’ sleeve, we’re right there with you. And if you’re a little fuzzy on what exactly went down at the park last season, we’ve got you covered.
From Dolores' identity crisis to the Man in Black's maze disappointment to Maeve's maybe-programmed escape -- here's what you need to know before season two premieres on Sunday.
Dolores Is Wyatt
Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) greatest villain yet wasn’t actually his at all, but rather the code his late partner, Arnold (Jeffrey Wright), inputted into Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) on his final day in the park.
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Back before Westworld, an adults-only amusement park populated by lifelike robots, had opened its doors, Arnold started to believe that Dolores was sentient, and had concerns about what they were doing. While Ford wanted to “roll back” the hosts to lose their consciousness, Arnold went with option B, programming Dolores -- with Teddy’s (James Marsden) help -- to brutally kill every host in the park -- and himself. Needless to say, the park still opened.
“We're going to pick up in the aftermath a bit, and we're going to see, definitely in the first episode, where Dolores is at with herself, her many selves,” Wood told ET at the HBO show’s press day last month, adding that “there’s endless possibility” with Dolores’ multiple personalities. “It was really intense."
William Is the Man in Black
The season one finale confirmed what many fans had been guessing all along: that the show was operating on several different timelines, and that the Man in Black (Ed Harris) was William (Jimmi Simpson) in the future, after his mission to find Dolores led him to a dark place -- and a black hat.
The Maze Wasn't for Guests -- Not Even Old Ones
The Man in Black was warned countless times by Ford that the maze wasn’t for him, but we guess when you’ve been visiting the park that long, not even Ford’s new narrative puts a sparkle in your eye. As we discovered in the season finale, the maze wasn’t a physical maze at all. Well, it was. But it was also a metaphor for the hosts’ path to earning consciousness and sentience -- and Dolores achieved both.
Maeve’s Big Escape Didn’t Go as Planned (or Did It?)
Last time we saw Maeve (Thandie Newton), she made it all the way to the train that transported guests in and out of Westworld before deciding to go back into the park to find her daughter. Whether Maeve was acting on her own free will or it was all part of her programming (as Bernard suggested someone had programmed her getaway, down to each step) was left open to interpretation.
According to Newton, however, Maeve’s season two storyline might come as a surprise. “I was completely shell-shocked,” she told ET of her reaction to the first script of season two. “It was absolutely not what I thought was gonna happen.”
Westworld Isn’t the Only Park
Maeve’s escape also hinted at the existence of other Westworld-like parks, as she, Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) made their way through what appeared to be a developing Samurai-inspired park. Teaser material released by HBO in February suggested there were five other parks, while the cast confirmed to ET that we would indeed be discovering other worlds in season two.
A Few Characters’ Fates Are Up in the Air
...like Elsie (Shannon Woodward), Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), Logan (Ben Barnes) and maybe even Ford. We last saw Logan in episode nine, being sent off by William riding off into the sunset with his hands tied and no clothes on. Stubbs, meanwhile, had been attacked by a gang of Ghost Nation hosts, and Elsie was strangled by Bernard. All three characters, however, will be back for season two.
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"If I were Elsie, I would certainly want a little retribution," Woodward told ET at the series’ press day last month, revealing that she knew her character would return “the whole time.”
“[We’ll find her] somewhere in the park, not sure what condition she’s in.”
As for Ford, well, while we saw Dolores shoot him in the back of the head on stage at his big gala, it’s unclear if the move was programmed -- or if that was was actually him. Was it a host decoy? Is the real Ford still alive? We won’t find out until season two.
Others Have Been Added to the Cast
Katja Herbers, Neil Jackson and Fares Fares have been added to the main cast, while Jonathan Tucker and Betty Gabriel have recurring roles. Louis Herthum and Talulah Riley have been upped to series regulars.
Gustaf Skarsgard will also be joining the series as a new character, Karl -- described as “an ex-military, while collar guy” who works for Delos -- who is seen in the season two trailer working alongside Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), Stubbs and Bernard.
“They’re so secretive, with the nature of the show, where there’s so many plot twists and everything is so delicate,” Skarsgard told ET, calling working on the series one of the most “challenging” experiences of his career. “[You have to] deliver at the top of your game the whole time.”
Season two of Westworld premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. For more on the show, watch the video below.