Meet the new cast members.
Westworld hasn’t been on our screens since December 2016, which has given us a lot of time to speculate about what the HBO hit might have in store for us during Season 2. Notoriously spoiler-averse showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have kept plot details for the sophomore season locked up tight, but with the promise that the series will return in Spring 2018, it won’t be long before we’ll have a whole new set of mysteries and theories to obsess over.
In the meantime, here’s everything we know about Westworld Season 2 so far — and if you bookmark this page, we’ll update with the latest intel as it materializes.
When will Season 2 premiere?
“Spring” is pretty vague, but star Jeffrey Wright may have accidentally let the premiere month slip in a January Instagram post, originally captioning the photo “3 days of filming left, and then we’re circling back online in April… hard.” The post was quickly edited to switch “April” to “Spring,” but given the fact that April used to be the launch month for Game of Thrones, which won’t premiere its final season until 2019, it makes sense for HBO to shift its newer tentpole to that prime timeslot in its absence. If we had to bet, odds are good that HBO might use a huge televised event — like, say, the Super Bowl — to make an official announcement about the show’s return, perhaps with a snazzy new trailer?
We may not know the premiere date yet (watch this space), but we do know the Season 2 premiere title — or at least half of it, since Nolan posted a photo of the episode’s script on Reddit, with the last word of the title obscured by a toy maze. “Journey into Night” is a safe guess, since that’s the title of Dr. Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) final narrative.
Where we left off and what’s ahead
Season 1 ended with a bloodbath, as Westworld’s hosts — led by Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores — broke free of their programming and rebelled against the park’s guests and board members. We also saw Maeve (Thandie Newton) abandon her escape attempt to instead search for her “daughter” from a previous storyline, after she came across a backstage area designated “SW,” with a workshop full of hosts dressed as samurai warriors.
Yep, we’re headed to Samurai World in Season 2 — and maybe some other parks too, although Nolan already confirmed that we wouldn’t see Medieval World or Roman World (two locations featured in Michael Crichton’s 1973 film) this season.
One thing Nolan did confirm is that “we are definitely not picking up right where we left off,” which means there’ll be a time jump in the Season 2 premiere.
We’ll also get more insight into what Ford had planned for the hosts, and the culmination of his new narrative. In an interview following the Season 1 finale, Nolan explained that “chaos” will be the overriding theme of Season 2: “Ford has set in motion what he thinks is a plan. The nature of that plan is something we explore in the second season — what his intentions are: Ae they to let Dolores and the other hosts escape? Are they simply to teach the human guests a lesson?”
If you’re curious about the mechanics of the hosts themselves, you’re in for a treat in Season 2. Per Nolan, “Their construction and their power source is something we’re really going to get into during Season 2… They’re closer to biological than they are to mechanical, but they don’t suffer brain death the same way we do. They’re largely indistinguishable from a human beings, but their brains don’t require oxygen — which opens up interesting possibilities.” Underwater fight scenes, perhaps? Or maybe we’re heading for space.
Who’s coming back?
The first Season 2 teaser trailer featured all the usual suspects, including Dolores, Maeve, Teddy (James Marsden), Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), Lee (Simon Quarterman), and The Man in Black — fka William (Ed Harris), along with Westworld’s head of security Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who was last seen surrounded by Ghost Nation hosts, leading some to wonder if he’d met an untimely end. The footage didn’t directly show Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), last seen getting choked out by Bernard, but HBO has been dropping clues about her status via its easter egg-filled Discover Westworld and Delos intranet sites, including an audio file and the location of her tablet.
Characters not seen in the trailer but teased via social media include Ben Barnes’ Logan and Jimmi Simpson’s younger iteration of William, as well as Rodrigo Santoro’s gunslinger Hector, Clifton Collins Jr.’s Lawrence/El Lazo, Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte Hall and Ingrid Bolsø Berdal’s badass Armistice.
HBO has also announced that Louis Herthum (who stole all his scenes as Dolores’ father, Peter Abernathy) and Talulah Riley (who played Angela, the blonde host who first welcomed William to the park) have been promoted to series regular status for Season 2, indicating that both will play bigger roles this year.
Anthony Hopkins is probably a longer shot, given Ford’s dramatic and catalyzing death, although Nolan did tell fans to “assume nothing” when it comes to who might stay dead or somehow be resurrected.
Who’s joining the show?
But Season 2 will also feature plenty of newcomers. Perhaps the most intriguing new addition (with the most unorthodox announcement) is Hiroyuki Sanada as Musashi, a character who was revealed to be a samurai host thanks to a limited edition Funko that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con.
Vikings fans will be pleased to see Floki himself, Gustaf Skarsgård, making his debut as series regular Karl Strand, described as “a white-collar guy comfortable in the field,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Also cast as series regulars for the new season are Fares Fares as Antoine Costa, a tech expert, and Manhattan alumna Katja Herbers as Grace, teased by Deadline as “a seasoned guest in Westworld whose latest visit comes at the park’s darkest hour.”
Get Out star Betty Gabriel will recur as Maling, whom THR describes as “trying to restore order on the ground,” and Jonathan Tucker and Neil Jackson also have recurring roles. Tucker will play Major Craddock, “a commanding military officer,” while Jackson will portray Nicholas, “a charming and resourceful man who finds himself in uncharted territory.”
Laura Prudom is the Executive TV Editor at IGN. You can talk to her on Twitter at @LauinLA.