The long wait for more Westworld is nearly over—season two is scheduled to premiere on April 22, when we’ll learn what the next steps are in the robo-revolution. Entertainment Weekly spoke with the cast and producers about what’s on the horizon for Dolores, Teddy, and yes, the Man In Black, in what co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan calls a “journey outward.”
If you’re spoiler-averse, it’s not too late to turn back for a sarsaparilla.
First off, Jeffrey Wright, who plays the newly-awakened host Bernard, says the “scale of season 2 is just nuts, literally right out of the gate.” Though the second season’s production schedule hasn’t been quite as protracted as the first’s, Wright describes the new episodes as “so much more expansive, [they] makes the first season look like a genteel kitchen drama.” As for his character, Wright says Bernard’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.” The actor, who was nominated for an Emmy for his work in season one, also touched on the creepy new “drone hosts” that Delos will roll out.
Though the first season introduced plenty of storylines and mysteries, Dolores’ arc from docile host to avenging revolutionary stood out among all the other puzzle pieces. Evan Rachel Wood says her character is now “playing the chess master. 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.” The actress also notes Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” painting was the inspiration for Dolores’ new look and demeanor (you can see for yourself in the header image, which is a still from the new season). As for Teddy, James Marsden says the oft-butchered gunslinger is “trying to catch up” with Dolores, who’s always been “further along in her advancement.” Her vengeful agenda gives him some pause, so he tries to “make sure the manner in which we proceed still feels like the good parts of Teddy that he remembers.”
And what about Maeve, the brothel owner turned, well, it’s not entirely clear what the upgrades she gave herself last season will mean for her in the new episodes. “I was kind of freaked out at first because I had no idea where my character was going this season,” Thandie Newton says. “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.” Apparently, no one really anticipated where their character arcs were going—Wood says she’s still uncovering the meaning behind some of her season-one lines.
The Man In Black, a.k.a. William, will be back, though he’ll have to play the park’s game according to the hosts’ new rules. The ’bots have little consideration for human life now, something that William’s all too familiar with. “It’s a pretty trippy second year, man, I gotta tell you that,” Ed Harris says. “Hopefully somebody can explain it all to me after it airs. But it’s going to be tremendously watchable.” It actually sounds like he has a pretty good handle on things, though. “What is memory, what is real, what is now, what is then, and what is the future?” Harris tells EW. “I’m not sure if you always know, if Jonah and Lisa care if you know, or if you’re supposed to know. It’s part of the mystery and challenge of it. The show is making a statement about life, memory, time, and dimensions.” We’ll journey further into William’s past, so you can expect more Jimmi Simpson in season two.
As for the bigger picture, Nolan says the goal hasn’t been to “endlessly build mystery; we like to settle our debts by the end of the season.” So forget the puzzle box for now: “We want to feel like the show is rocketing ahead. The first season was a journey inward; this is a journey outward. It’s a search for what else is in the park, and what else is beyond the park.” Co-showrunner Lisa Joy teases the mindset of the characters going forward: “Not everybody in the revolution is on the same page.” As the Man In Black and other park visitors will learn, “the leashes are off” in the new season. But Joy says the central question applies to everyone, including the hosts: “How far are you willing to go until you become a reflection of the evil you’re trying to fight?”