We’re now just a few weeks away from the return of one of the best shows on TV: Westworld. And I am very, very excited. The first season was absolutely thrilling, with amazing special effects and compelling acting from an incredible cast including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood.
The next ten-episode season will return on 22 April, airing on Sky Atlantic at the same time as the US - and it’ll be shown again in the UK a day later for people who can’t be bothered to stay up into the small hours of the night.
Here, we’ve rounded up everything we know so far about the next season.
*Mild spoilers ahead*
The teaser trailer
Last year, we were treated to this awesome teaser trailer that shows a marauding Dolores hungry for revenge and Bernard inspecting a dead tiger washed up on the banks of a river. Why? We’re not exactly sure - maybe it hints at the other worlds in the park infiltrating each other. Could be very interesting.
What does the full trailer tell us?
The full trailer (below) aired during the Super Bowl and sneakily included a hidden code that unlocked a hidden Westworld website.
Firstly, the site gave us a glimpse at Samuraiworld, which was hinted at during the first season. On the site, you can see traditional Japanese buildings and a mist-filled mountain with the ‘SW’ Samuraiworld logo. Looks pretty cool.
The website also reveals that there are four more worlds in the park - but at the minute they simply say “Reservations closed to the public”. Intriguing? What could these mystery worlds be? Well, in the original Michael Crichton movie from 1973 there was a Medievalworld (medieval Europe), and Romanworld (the ancient Roman city of Pompeii) so that might be a clue.
The site also gives a bit more information about the park’s mysterious founder, James Delos. The website says: “Decades ago, a man had an idea as old as human ambition itself, that the only limit to progress is imagination. The ability to see a better world. Delos Inc. was formed from that goal and nothing else, because James had nothing else. He used to joke that where he grew up, having dreams was like fighting gravity. But he never lost faith that his dream could take off, and now Delos is more than a name. It’s a legacy.”
It goes on: “We continue to believe in our Delos Destinations arm because we also understand that you are more than the sum of your daily routine. We’ve used our position at the forefront of biological engineering to print and code dream worlds that you can touch and feel. A place where you can escape yourself to know yourself. A freedom that exists only in your wildest dreams - and our parks.”
And one of the creepiest parts of the trailer was the weird white faceless robot lurking behind Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Westworld’s showrunners have revealed what they’re called and what they mean.
According to EW, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy revealed that the white robot is called a ‘drone host’ - and there’s apparently more than one of them.
“The drone hosts relate to the corporation’s secret project which is hidden in plain sight in this park,” Nolan said. “As we talked about in the pilot, the park is one thing for the guests, and it’s another thing for its shareholders and management — something completely different.
“We’ve used the Google analogy — for consumers, it’s for search and email, yet for the company, it’s for advertising. There is an agenda here that Delos has undertaken for a very long time. As Bernard is making his way through the wreckage of the fallout from the first season, he’s discovering things about the park that even he doesn’t know and coming upon creatures like the drone host.”
What’s going to happen in the next season?
The showrunners have already shared some tantalising hints about what we can look forward to in the next season.
“If the first season was defined by control, the second season is defined by chaos,” said co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan during an HBO Go segment last year. “That’s part of what we come to understand Ford [Anthony Hopkins] has been planning all along.”
“Ford has set in motion what he thinks is a plan. The nature of that plan is something we explore in the second season,” said Nolan.
“What his intentions are: are they to let Dolores or the other Hosts escape? Are they simply to teach the human guests a lesson?”
Who is definitely returning?
Along with the core cast of Maeve (Newton), Dolores (Wood), Bernard (Wright) and Teddy (James Marsden), the showrunners recently revealed which other characters are definitely returning:
1. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) and William (Jimmi Simpson)
Nolan and Joy said we’ll be seeing William exploring the early days of the park and finding out how he gained so much power of Delos Incorporated.
2. Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) and Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth)
The showrunners confirmed this pair are alive but not exactly doing well – instead they’re experiencing Westworld like a guest. Gulp!
3. Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson)
This corporate villain is now “at the mercy of the hosts like everyone else,” Nolan and Joy said.
4. Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins)
Ford was killed off at the end of the first season – but he’s expected to return in flashbacks revealing more about his fascinating backstory.
Are there any new characters?
The Leftovers star Katja Herbers will be joining the show – he’s described by Deadline as “a seasoned guest in Westworld whose latest visit comes at the park’s darkest hour”.
Others confirmed by Variety include Gustaf Skarsgård (from Vikings) who will be playing Karl Strand, “a white-collar guy comfortable in the field”; Fares Fares, who is playing a new tech wizard called Antoine Costa; and Betty Gabriel who is starring as Maling, a new enforcer in the park.