11:17am PT by Josh Wigler
'Westworld': 7 Season 2 Secrets Revealed
With little more than a month standing before the return of HBO's Westworld, the lid is starting to come off of the highly secretive second season.
The cast and crew behind the hit series, which stars Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton, have opened up about what to expect from the new season when it premieres April 22. The first new episode of Westworld airs a year and a half after the freshman season finale, which means the active imaginations of millions of fans have had plenty of time to theorize about what's next for Dolores (Wood), Maeve (Newton), the Man in Black (Ed Harris) and other denizens of the high-tech theme park.
Based on the new comments from those actors as well as showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, it looks like answers are on the way — some of which will be expected, while others will be very much the opposite. Read on for seven takeaways from the Westworld cast and crew's recent interview with EW.
1. "Guys ... Where Are We?"
It's a sentence that's all too familiar for fans of Lost, and one that very much applies to the world of Westworld as well. Through 10 episodes, viewers still don't know exactly where the theme park is located. Fan theories range from a remote island somewhere on Earth to a remote planet somewhere far away from Earth, but little indication exists one way or the other. But given the setting for season two — hosts versus humans on a very real and very violent level — it's time to expect an answer to the question about the park's location this season.
"If we were to describe the show as one camera angle, it would be a steady pull out revealing more and more context," Nolan says. "So as the hosts learn more about their world — and other worlds, and the real world — the audience is doing the same thing."
Frankly, the answer about where Westworld is located should come as soon as the season premiere, unless the episode is rooted solely in the perspectives of the hosts. Given how the tables have turned in terms of the park's power dynamics, and given that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) looks like he's embedded in humanity's side of the trenches, it only makes sense for the guests to start talking about a specific exit strategy. Any such talk would have to include some concrete information about the world outside of Westworld. It's purely conjecture at this point, but we're expecting this reveal to transpire at some point in the early hours of season two.
2. Mission: Dolores
Heading into season two, all eyes are on the person who brought down Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and launched a revolution: Dolores. In the closing moments of the season finale, she not only achieved consciousness, but actively chose to channel the persona of Wyatt, a violent revolutionary with "strange ideas."
Wood describes Dolores in season two as a "chess master," with more than just the Wyatt side of her personality at her disposal: "She has access to all of her memories, but now she's in control. There are some scenes where she's three different people in the span of a minute."
In some ways, it's not much different from how Wood has played Dolores in the past; within the span of a scene, she would oscillate between deeply emotional recitations and stone-cold analysis. What's more, Dolores was portrayed across multiple periods of time in season one. The difference now? We're about to meet a Dolores in full control over her faculties — a dangerous prospect for all humans in the park.
3. The Accomplice
Dolores isn't alone as she journeys into night, with her one-time knight in shining armor along for the ride: Teddy, played by James Marsden. The classic Western hero archetype was last seen watching in a strange mix of awe and horror as Dolores gunned down guests under the moonlit sky, and that same blend sounds like it will stay in place for season two.
"Dolores is further along in her advancement," Marsden says about Teddy's road toward consciousness, "and he's trying to catch up and make sure the manner in which we proceed still feels like the good parts of Teddy that he remembers."
Based on what we've seen in season-two trailers — namely, Teddy and Dolores side-by-side on horseback, gunning down guests — we're likely looking at a version of Teddy that closely resembles his late season-one arc: uninhibited in violence, fully focused on his mission. As it happens, that mission involved tracking down and defeating Wyatt at all costs. Considering the star-crossed connection between Teddy and both sides of Dolores, it's likely his vendetta against Wyatt will rear its head again.
4. Maeve's Quest
Outside of all things Dolores and Teddy (and of course Shogun World, though details on the new park remain firmly under wraps), the most anticipated storyline of season two belongs to Maeve. The madame of the Mariposa Saloon not only achieved sentience in season one, but also enhanced her abilities dramatically thanks to some help from two hapless scientists.
When last we saw her, Maeve was motivated to find the host who once posed as her daughter in a previous narrative. Season two will follow that thread further down the line, with a story for Maeve that's said to be separate from much of the main action.
"I was kind of freaked out at first because I had no idea where my character was going this season," says Newton. "Westworld stripped us bare of what we had and forces us and the audience to rethink what you've learned from that and what you know about these characters. It's not contrived, though — it's genuine to what they have mapped out."
5. Where Man Meets Machine
It was easily one of the most harrowing scenes of the series to date — second only to Dolores gunning down the guests in the finale, really: Bernard, revealed as a host, forced to murder his own girlfriend with no control over his own actions. Heading into season two, granted the keys to the kingdom by the soon-to-depart Robert Ford, Bernard stands poised to have considerable agency compared to the first year of the series.
With that said, he faces great danger in season two given his precarious place between the humans trapped in the park and the hosts now running the show. The character will reportedly spend much of the season playing the middle between the two warring sides, as he seeks to discover the park's most important secrets.
Bernard's story, in Wright's own words: "He's trying to do a high-wire act on a razor blade with the humans on one side and the hosts on the other, and he's perched dangerously in the middle."
6. Civil War
"Not everybody in the revolution is on the same page."
This is the warning from Joy, who makes it clear that even though the hosts are running the show, not all hosts are on the same page about what's in their best interests. It makes sense; Maeve might not be as amenable to a full-blown massacre as the Wyatt-fueled Dolores, for instance, and both parties might bat an eye at the particularly brutal stylings of someone like Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro). In other words, while the conflict between hosts and guests will be a primary focus of the second season, the hosts have their own internal beef still to squash.
"The leashes are off," says Joy. "But the question is: How far are you willing to go until you become a reflection of the evil you're trying to fight?"
7. The Long Con
With little time left until the first new episode of Westworld, the clock is running out for viewers to dig back into the archives and freshen up on the events of season one — and to hear Wood tell it, that's exactly what fans are going to want to do. The actress reveals there are scenes in season one that play heavily into the second season, with clues still undiscovered by even the most eagle-eyed fans.
"There are things I actually said as Dolores [in season one] that I had no idea of the significance of until filming this season, and now I'm going, 'My God, [the showrunners] were telling us,'" she says. "I think even when we're in season seven, you'll still be able to go back to the pilot and find clues that were right in front of you."
By the way...season seven? We're not even into season two yet! But Nolan gives a tease about exactly how the series could manage to last several years into the future, pointing to the extremely long lifespans of the hosts as fodder for further stories: "If left to their own devices, they could live forever. So our story has some real scope to it."
The scope starts to expand on April 22, when Westworld returns with its season two premiere.
What are you expecting from season two? Sound off in the comments section below and follow THR.com/Westworld for more coverage!