As Westworld heads into the homestretch of its third season, HBO has officially ordered a fourth installment of the popular sci-fi series. The penultimate episode of season three is set to air this Sunday, April 26, likely setting the table for a potentially explosive finale—if the final minutes of last week’s episode are any indication of things to come (there was an actual explosion, you see). The network sent out a press release announcing the renewal of the Emmy-winning series, with this statement from HBO Programming president Casey Bloys:
From the western theme park to the technocratic metropolis of the near future, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn from the minds of master storytellers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. We can’t wait to see where their inspired vision takes us next.
Theme... park? Oh, yes. Some of us around here are old enough to remember when Westworld was a show about a robot theme park. It’s been four years—which is, like, 80 in today’s time-economy—since Westworld debuted with its reimagining of Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi film. In the time since, the HBO series has ambitiously expanded its narrative beyond the reaches of the park to a not-too-distant fictional future, in which robo-protagonist Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is angling to liberate humanity from its own enslavement to technology. Or something. Listen, there’s a lot going on in this very silly show, and although HBO waited until now to issue a renewal, it seemed inevitable given that there’s no way in hell Westworld is gonna wrap this bonkers narrative up in two more episodes.
It’s unclear exactly when the next season might premiere: Given the scope and requisite VFX, Westworld already has a longer production schedule than most television series; two years elapsed between the second and third seasons airing. With the pandemic preventing TV and film production, we might be in for a much longer wait this time around.