6:45am PT by Josh Wigler
'Westworld': What to Remember Before Season 3
It's the word that haunts Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores all through the first season of Westworld, as she embarks on a journey toward consciousness. It's also a word that's likely reverberating in the minds of the Westworld fandom ahead of the HBO drama's season three premiere, airing March 15. Those who have not returned to the series since its season two finale in May 2018 are justified in their own puzzlement about the events of the past, especially as an uncertain future looms.
For season three, creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy plan on charting a new path through "The New World," their title for the new eight-episode story arc as well as its setting: the hosts have fled the park and are headed straight for "our" world, albeit a version set some decades down the line. Their massive impact on the series' overall story aside, the future events of season three won't matter much at all without memories of the past — and it's a complicated past to be sure.
Ahead, The Hollywood Reporter rounds up the last known story points for the main cast of Westworld, as a means of remembering the show's recent history. For more, listen to the return of the Series Regular podcast below, which will be covering Westworld all season long, with recaps posting Sunday nights after each episode of season three.
Dolores: Alive, and at large. After attaining sentience in season one, Dolores spent season two violently crusading against human guests in order to liberate the hosts. Despite her noble intentions, some questions surrounded her militant methods, including from Teddy (James Marsden), who killed himself rather than participate any further in Dolores' rampage. Dolores ultimately escaped the park, by way of a host body modeled after Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), armed with a few key assets: five unidentified control units with which to create new (or resurrect old) hosts, plus an astonishing amount of data on all of the humans who ever visited a Delos property.
Bernard: Alive, and at large. Jeffrey Wright's bespectacled host was the audience's messy viewpoint into season two, muddled as he was by his own faulty memories. The finale reveals the source of Bernard's battered perspective: himself. In order to stop the eradication of the hosts, and fueled with fury after watching Charlotte Hale kill Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), Bernard took on the job of thwarting Delos' attempts at digital resurrection, while also building the Hale host body for Dolores. In response, Dolores killed Bernard, only to rebuild him in the outside world as a means of maintaining a moral check on herself — a Professor X to her Magneto, as it were. The season ended with Bernard finally free from the park, his next steps unknown.
Charlotte: Dead, with a twist! Dolores and Bernard's collaboration resulted in the Delos board director's death, but that's far from the end of her story. Dolores escaped Westworld through a host body modeled after Charlotte, and at the end of the finale, someone else was occupying that very same body. Who is walking around as Charlotte Hale in season three? It's one of the biggest burning questions on the board heading into the new string of episodes.
Ashley Stubbs: Alive, with a twist! Luke Hemsworth's tough-as-nails security expert allowed "Charlotte" to escape Westworld, and it wasn't an accident, either. It was quite literally by design, as the season two finale revealed (or at least heavily implied, with ancillary material finally confirming) Stubbs' status as a host. His whereabouts beyond the finale are unknown.
Maeve: Dead, for now. Thandie Newton's all-powerful host served as the viewers' eyes and ears on season two's most anticipated setting: Shogun World. Her quest through the new park was part of her attempt to link back up with her daughter from a previous build. Maeve and her child were briefly reunited, only for a series of violent acts to separate them once again. In the end, Maeve used her newfound abilities to control other hosts through their shared mesh network in a last-ditch effort to save her daughter and others trying to make it to "the Valley Beyond," a digital afterlife of sorts. Maeve succeeded, but was gunned down in the process. The finale made it clear that she would be brought back online for future use in the park.
Teddy: Alive, but gone. James Marsden's good-hearted hero entered the aforementioned Valley, and only Dolores knows how to access it. Teddy and everyone else there with him, including Maeve's daughter and most of the Ghost Nation tribe, are likely to be out of sight for the vast majority of season three, if not all of it, and potentially even the rest of the series. In Teddy's absence, a new leading man is set to emerge in season three: Caleb, played by Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, a human on a collision course with Dolores.
Robert Ford: Dead, or so we think. Murdered by Dolores at the end of season one, the Westworld co-founder returned in season two as a ghost in the machine, primarily haunting Bernard with a moment to spare for Maeve. Bernard cleansed his system of Ford, which means all sentient traces of the man are gone … right? It would be unwise to underestimate the late Doctor Ford; who knows if he's left aspects of himself embedded within Maeve, for example. For another thing, Westworld has featured scenes set in the past with Anthony Hopkins as a young version of Ford; should the need to revisit that past arise again, Hopkins' return is virtually assured. For now, there's no news on the actor reprising the role. Best to assume that he, like the park, is a relic of the past heading into season three.
The Man in Black: Alive, but … OK, this one's complicated. Not that they aren't all a little complicated, but the Man in Black's final fate in season two requires some maze navigation all its own. In his journey through the park to find "something true," the gunslinger occasionally known as William descended into madness, thinking everything and everyone was part of Ford's design, shooting it all down with reckless abandon — including his own daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers). The result: two different endings. One takes place in "the present," in which an injured Man in Black was evacuated during the Delos rescue operation. The other takes place at some point in the unknown future, as a new version of Emily guides what appears to be a host version of the Man in Black on a new quest to attain "fidelity." The twist riffed on the Man in Black's original Westworld movie origins as a host, finally bringing the man to his robotic roots — but is it a twist that will come into focus in season three, or will we have to wait a while longer before its true nature comes to light?
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