'Westworld': How the Shocking Robot Reveal Could Impact the Future

Westworld Still - Peter Mullan - H Publicity 2018
Courtesy of HBO

[This story contains spoilers for season two, episode four of HBO's Westworld, called "Riddle of the Sphinx."]

Someone's in for an upgrade. The only question: who?

Okay, there are a bunch of other questions surrounding the latest big reveal on Westworld, including but not limited to: "How?" "Why?" "Holy expletive!" The last one isn't a question, but it's a worthy exclamation all the same, given the reveal: William (Ed Harris and Jimmi Simpson) dedicated much of his life outside the park to pursuing a form of technology that would map a person's consciousness onto a "control unit" — or "host body," if you prefer — effectively conquering the matter of eternal life

Of course, the experiment hasn't exactly succeeded with flying colors. "Riddle of the Sphinx" largely focuses on the trials and tribulations involved with extending the life of one James Delos (Peter Mullan), who succumbed to his illness but became the product of multiple resurrections thanks to William's work. Multiple decades and nearly 150 iterations later, the test didn't take, and William seemingly abandoned both the project and the mission statement. Alas, he did not abandon Delos himself, leaving the last iteration of his late father-in-law alive, long enough to unleash holy hell upon the attending lab technician, himself, and very nearly Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Elsie (Shannon Woodward).

Even with Delos now destroyed, Bernard and Elsie are left with a deadly reality: Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) had once tasked Bernard with overseeing the creation of another control unit for another human, though Bernard can't quite remember who. 

It's the big mystery of the show at the moment: someone is about to get roboticized — and here are some of the people we think could be in line for the job.

1. Robert Ford

The obvious pick on the board, at least in terms of the story. Ford all but walked right into Dolores' (Evan Rachel Wood) line of fire in the same breath that he unchained his creations. Was his willingness to die tied to his knowledge that death would be little more than a fleeting dream? It flies in the face of Ford as a benevolent champion of the hosts, albeit a late one, and it also would require the full-fledged return of Anthony Hopkins; unlike the way in which Westworld relies on two different actors to play William across time, Hopkins provides his likeness for the younger Ford. Then again, his voice and likeness were already featured earlier in the season, so perhaps that was just a taste of a much bigger reveal to come.

2. Arnold Weber

How much more complicated can Jeffrey Wright's role with the series get? Potentially much more complicated, considering Bernard's central role in the creation of this unknown human-host, and given the Westworld architect's central role in the mythology of the series. Adding a third full-fledged role played by Wright wouldn't do much to simplify the series, especially with where he stands in the various different timelines. Maybe there's a simpler answer. Could Arnold's consciousness map onto Bernard's body and merge with his own brain? A Bernard who suddenly has access to and mastery over all of Arnold's memories and personality traits could be a very compelling figure indeed.

3. Charlotte Hale

Nobody has expressed more devotion to the search for Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum) than the young leader of the Delos board. Why might that be? Well, there's the obvious matter of Delos refusing to rescue the park's guests until Abernathy and the IP contained within him are secured. The bigger picture conspiracy could involve Charlotte herself needing that technology for personal reasons, if she's the one who is seeking to achieve immortality. If there's one single body that Ford is aiming to create, then Charlotte isn't a great guess; if we're dealing with multiple high-powered people lining themselves up with everlasting life, then Charlotte's a clear candidate.

4. The Man in Black

Outside of Ford, he's the top pick on the board. Ford's game, the search for the door, revolves around the Man in Black, the person who always boasts about searching for "something true." In his own words, William is currently seeking his "greatest mistake." In "Riddle of the Sphinx," we learn that William was directly overseeing the immortality project. The odds are high that William has built a body of his own that could come into play this season — one that Ford would want to put into action as a means of torturing the grizzled gunslinger. It's easy to imagine a scenario in which the Man in Black reaches his final destination, only to confront the spitting image of his younger self: a host, played by Jimmi Simpson. Should Ed Harris wish to leave the series, this would be a way to keep the Man in Black firmly within the ongoing Westworld mythology, bringing the character even closer to his original inspiration: the mechanical menace played by Yul Brenner in Michael Crichton's 1973 film.

5. Emily 

Previously known as "Grace," Katja Herbers' character was revealed this week as Emily, the daughter of the Man in Black. We know she understands the park in intimate detail, showing apparent respect for the hosts and disdain for her fellow humans. Unless these aren't her fellow humans? If Emily and her father join forces moving forward, one can imagine the especially brutal reveal if William reaches the end of his game, only to learn that his daughter has been replaced by a host.

6. Juliet

The double-whammy reveal for William and Emily would involve their wife and mother respectively being revealed as the park's latest human-host hybrid. Claire Unabia's character has been involved in Westworld from the very beginning, first appearing in the form of a Getty stock photo that triggered Peter Abernathy's long ago malfunctions. Could she be in store for yet another central role in season two — one that triggers new malfunctions for the husband and daughter she left behind?

7. Logan

It's wishful thinking, most likely; there doesn't seem to be much reason to bring Logan back from the dead, narratively speaking. With that said, Logan returning as an all-knowing and all-powerful host and going up against the Man in Black would be a scene for the ages. And of course, the park has no shortage of personal data and DNA records of Logan on hand...

What are your theories surrounding the human-host hybrid? Sound off in the comments below and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more.