'Westworld' Season 2: 7 Surprises From the Comic-Con Trailer

Violent delights abound in the first new look at 'Westworld' since the first season ended in 2016.
Screengrab/HBO

HBO wowed Comic-Con attendees this week with a shockingly full teaser trailer for the next season of Westworld, returning in 2018 more than a year after the breakout series last journeyed into night.

A refresher for those who don't vividly recall the first season finale: Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) made the conscious choice to become Wyatt, a killer personality with an eye toward robot revolution. She fired off the first shot of war directly into the brain of Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), signaling that hosts can now kill guests.

Elsewhere in the park, Maeve (Thandie Newton) ditched her escape attempt in order to roam the park looking for the host who once served as her daughter. Before that, she wandered into a section of the Mesa designated "SW," alternately referred in the fandom as "Samurai World" and "Shogun World," our first confirmation that the show, much like Michael Crichton's original movie, contains parks beyond Westworld itself.

Few people walked into Hall H on Saturday expecting to learn much about what's coming next, now that Dolores has gone full Wyatt and the guests' lives are in true jeopardy. But Westworld creators Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy excel at surprises (when you're not following along online, at least), and they delivered a massive one in the form of the first season two teaser. Here are just a few of the trailer's biggest shocks worth pondering:

1. It Exists

This is the biggest shock of all. Westworld has only been back in production for a single week. That means everything glimpsed in the season two teaser comes from a week of shooting. There's a lot going on in this teaser, and it's all from a single week of production. It's possible the show is shooting out of sequence, but it's also possible that this is essentially a teaser for the season two premiere — and if all of this action is happening in one solitary episode, then we're staring down the barrel of a truly epic season of television.

2. The Music, Man

The teaser begins with the familiar and comforting image of the player piano, a source of so much joy throughout the first season. This year, it's broken, covered in blood, sputtering to life like a gut-shot cowboy crawling through the desert. When it finally spits out some tunes, it's Sammy Davis Jr.'s "I've Gotta Be Me," a classic to be sure, but a song choice that doesn't fit comfortably with the rock music found throughout the first season: Radiohead, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, The Cure. The lyrics certainly fit thematically given where the hosts are on their journey toward consciousness, ("I want to live, not merely survive"), but is it also a signal about the kinds of music we'll hear in season two?

3. Tiger World

Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was last seen witnessing Ford's death. When we first see him in the teaser, he's far from that action, standing beside a river... and towering over a dead tiger. What the heck is a tiger doing in Westworld? Is this a stray animal from Tiger World, if such a theme park exists? While the trailer stops short of mentioning "SW," the tiger corpse could be a signal that some of the disparate parks are starting to bleed into one another. Unless, of course, the tiger hails from Pariah, where rules of reality don't seem to matter all that much.

4. Power to the People

Sticking with Bernard, the mild-mannered host is last seen in the teaser riding in a vehicle alongside some of the Delos employees who have survived at least the first wave of violence — including Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who was last seen surrounded by Ghost Nation, his fate unknown heading into season two. Now we know he's alive and well enough to drive around Westworld. Also, who is that sitting next to Bernard? Is that Elsie (Shannon Woodward), who we haven't seen in several episodes? The footage moves too fast for a decisive answer, though it's safe to assume the upbeat programmer will remain a factor in season two.

5. Wyatt's Way

Actually, this one isn't so much a surprise, as much as it is a violent delight: Dolores riding horseback, running down guests, pumping shot after shot after shot in their direction, in what's pretty easily the single most stunning image of the whole teaser. Maybe that's the shock, that Dolores' new life as Wyatt is such a thrill to watch, given how dark a turn it is for her character. If we're ever going to see the Dolores of old return, it won't happen without a whole lot of bloodshed.

6. Nature vs Nurture

On one level, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Teddy (James Marsden) is set to join Dolores in her quest to kill guests. He's programmed to worship the ground she walks on, after all, and he's had some extremely violent moments himself, what with how he dispatched the Union soldiers toward the end of season one. Still, it's haunting to see Teddy break bad on Dolores' behalf. On the flip side, it's oddly comforting to see Bernard riding alongside Stubbs and maybe-Elsie. Even though he's a host, he's lived most of his life as a human. Will Bernard sympathize with the guests and Delos workers who are fighting for survival? And if so, will any of these people know who and what Bernard really is? None of these people know Bernard's true nature, with the possible exception of Elsie, and even then it's not a foregone conclusion. It's not impossible the show will once again keep Bernard's host status a secret in season two, albeit from the characters instead of the audience.

7. Back in Black

The teaser ends on a familiar face: William, aka the Man in Black (Ed Harris), though who knows what he wants to be called these days. (Whatever you do, don't call him Billy.) The Man in Black was last seen nursing a gunshot wound to the arm, hours after suffering a dislocated shoulder thanks to Dolores. Looks like those injuries, plus a full-on host revolution, aren't enough to keep the Man down, if we're judging by the blood splattered all over his face, and the sinister smirk that sneaks up on his face at the end of the teaser. There was no question that he would ride back into Westworld for season two, but who could have predicted he would do so with so much gusto? 

Watch the season two teaser trailer below:

Follow THR.com/Westworld for continuing coverage of the HBO series.

comments powered by Disqus