Although we’re right on the cusp of HBO releasing the second season of its hit sci-fi drama Westworld, some of the most exciting news about the series’ third season has already been announced. It’s not a new, batshit crazy murder park being built right next to Samurai World, though (even if we’re still holding out hope for It’s Thanksgiving, But You Get To Tell Your Relatives What You Actually Think Of Them World). Rather, it’s a behind-the-scenes change, with star Thandie Newton confirming that HBO has literally put its money where its mouth was in terms of addressing pay gaps between male and female performers on its shows.
This is per a recent conversation between the actress, who plays rebel robot Maeve on the HBO show, and Vanity Fair. “They’re all happening right now,” Newton said of the show’s latest round of contract negotiations, “And yeah, we’re all equal across the board. It’s really exciting. It’s unprecedented. It’s—goodness; it shatters so much calcified pain, resentment, frustration. It just shatters it.” (She was more blunt when asked if she’d ever willingly go back to the old ways: “Fuck that.”)
Newton’s comments match those from fellow series star Evan Rachel Wood, who made a similar confirmation to The Wrap earlier this month. HBO publicized its intent to equalize pay between its male and female stars a few weeks ago, not long after Netflix received heavy criticism for paying Claire Foy less than Matt Smith for their roles on The Crown. (Big Little Lies star and producer Reese Witherspoon was also involved, because you know Elle Woods isn’t fucking around with this shit.)
Of course, to get those finally-equitable paychecks, Newton and Woods’ characters are both going to have to actually survive in the chaos of Westworld season two. We’ll see how that’s likely to go when the new season debuts tomorrow night on HBO.