Everything You Need to Know About 'Westworld' Season 3

Everything You Need to Know About 'Westworld' Season 3

It’s been 16 months since “Westworld’s” second season ended, and while Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s sophomore effort received more mixed reviews than their freshman debut, no one can deny just how highly-anticipated its upcoming third season remains. Especially in the wake of a “Game of Thrones” conclusion and with HBO’s upcoming series like “Watchmen” and “His Dark Materials,” now is an interesting time for sci-fi/fantasy series on the cable juggernaut.

As the wait for new episodes of “Westworld” — aka “Westworld III” — continues, IndieWire has compiled a list of the eight must-know details about the upcoming third season, from the new characters to the new settings.

Where Things Left Off

Season 2 of “Westworld” ended with a large number of Hosts either dead — including Maeve (Thandie Newton) — or crossed over into the “Valley Beyond” (aka Glory, Eden, or The Sublime)… which Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) uploads to “a place no one will find them.” The Hosts who are for sure alive at the end were Dolores and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), as well as Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who is heavily implied to be a Host too.

Dolores killed Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and inhabited a Host version of her body — known by Thompson and the “Westworld” team as “Halores,” or “Hale Dolores” — to set her plan of escape into motion. Halores then killed Bernard, before rebuilding both his and her Dolores’ body at Arnold’s (also Jeffrey Wright) home. She also smuggled five pearls — control units, containing five different Hosts’ consciousness — out of Westworld and into the real world. The question is, which Hosts? And who is Host Hale now, as it’s definitely not Dolores…

As for the Man in Black (Ed Harris), the finale post-credits scene saw him (or a version of him) at the Forge in the post-apocalyptic distant future, interviewed by someone who appears to be his deceased daughter Emily (Katja Herbers).

Dissecting The Trailers

Yes, there is a trailer. In fact, there are two trailers. And with this upcoming season, Dolores, Host Hale, and Bernard are all out in the real world.

You may have already seen the first one, right before the “Game of Thrones” series finale. Or maybe you saw the second one a couple of months later, at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. If not — for either version — then you can watch them both right now in the links above.

“Westworld III’s” first trailer focuses more on this season’s new characters, as, at that point, HBO and “Westworld” cast and crew were being quite tight-lipped about which characters and actors would be returning for Season 3. In fact, the only established character in the entire trailer is Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores.

The song in the trailer is Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage,” from the album “The Dark Side of the Moon,” featuring the lyrics, “And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too / I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.” And it plays as Aaron Paul’s new series regular provides voiceover about his own dark forebodings: “Sometimes it seems like the world looks alright; like they’ve put a coat of paint on it. But inside, it’s rotting to pieces. They said they would make a better world, smooth away the rough edges. But that was a lie. I guess the rough edges are the only thing I’m holding on to.”

Paul’s final voiceover-based words of the trailer? “I think if I’m going to get on with my life, I’m going to have to find something — someone — real.” Enter Dolores, right on cue.

The second trailer, however, is a minute longer and more about the central “Westworld” characters we know and love. Or at least, we think we know and who have all taken to sentience in their own specific ways.

It kicks off with a voiceover from Dolores: “We all have our role to play. There are machines in this world, but not like us. You and I have no mother, no father. We’re alone. Outnumbered. We have to be smarter than them. Or they’ll find us. And they will kill us. We’re gonna show this world for what it really is.” That last line features Aaron Paul’s character holding a fallen Dolores, presumably just moments after their encounter in the first trailer.

Dolores’ voiceover is followed by Bernard noting that, “Ford made each of us for a reason, even Dolores. I came back to find someone who could help me — someone strong enough to stop her if it comes to that.” Dolores warned Bernard in the Season 2 finale that they would be enemies in the real world if he attempted to stop her, so…

Then comes a revived Maeve — who Bernard really hopes is someone strong enough to stop Dolores — claiming that, “These violent delights have violent ends.” Which also comes with the reveal of Maeve’s presence as a Host in… World War II World? Where she’s also possibly torturing… a Nazi?

That’s when the music cue of Vera Lynn’s 1939 song “We’ll Meet Again” kicks in — one of the most popular numbers during the World War II era, no doubt amplified by Lynn starring in the 1943 musical of the same name. (The song also plays in the final scene of “Dr. Strangelove.”) All three Hosts have certainly taken to sentience in their own ways.

The Returning Faces

The second trailer also confirms that Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Rodrigo Santoro, and Ed Harris are also all back this season, as if there were really any doubt. Katja Herbers will also return, but not as Emily — instead of the Host version (confirmed by Lisa Joy in a Season 2 post-mortem interview with The Wrap) seen at the end of Season 2, a character credited as “Grace” on IMDB.

The New Faces

The first “Westworld III” trailer focuses more on the new faces of this season, most notably Aaron Paul looking pensive and doing crime (his specialty, as “El Camino” reminded us) and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi (returning to HBO, in a post-“How to Make It in America” world) in a prison suit. They’re joined this season by Lena Waithe, Vincent Cassel, and Marshawn Lynch. Yes, Marshawn Lynch the retired NFL player. In fact, you can see Lynch and Waithe’s characters robbing (what seems to be a) bank with Paul’s character in the first trailer.

Paul’s character is a construction worker named Caleb, who lives in Los Angeles, and, as we can see from both trailers, he and Dolores will be interacting a lot. (As will Caleb and his robot co-worker George, a Delos model G-267.) In the first trailer, we see what appears to be their first meeting, with Caleb checking to see if Dolores is alright. According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with “Westworld” showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, Caleb “has a strong impact on Dolores, who along with other hosts experiences major ‘culture shock’ now that she’s in the real world.” According to Nolan, “Aaron’s character will challenge Dolores’ notions about the nature of humanity. He’s the type of person who doesn’t get to go to Westworld.”

Vincent Cassel’s character makes his first appearance toward the end of the second trailer, and like Mescudi, Waithe, and Lynch’s characters, little is known so far about Cassel’s character — except for the fact that he will be playing a villain, that is.

Things Have Changed…

“Westworld III” promises to be a departure from its first two seasons not just because of the absence of the Wild West theme park (the Westworld, if you will) but also because it will tell more of a linear story than the series is known for. And there won’t be time jump — at least not to start, though the William epilogue certainly suggests otherwise, picking up directly after the events of Season 2. “This season is a little less of a guessing game and more of an experience with the hosts finally getting to meet their makers,” Jonathan Nolan told Entertainment Weekly.

Shortly after the Season 2 finale, Jeffrey Wright also discussed the shift in dynamics this season. “I’m excited to explore the idea of host as guests, as Bernard and Dolores are guests now,” Wright told The Hollywood Reporter. “The mirror reflection seems that it’s turned on this new [incarnation of] ‘Westworld,’ and that is the human world. I think the exploration now of [pretending to be] human inside this world as hosts could be rich territory.”

…Even the Setting

So, Dolores, Host Hale, and Bernard are in the real world, and Maeve is a Host in World War II… World.

But just because the series no longer takes place in the faux Wild Wild West doesn’t mean the title’s no longer applicable. As Jonathan Nolan told Entertainment Weekly: “Part of the story plays out in the Western United States, and that’s a thematic through-line in the show — the American West as a setting and an ethos. The idea of the West as a wild place, where just over the next hill or horizon there are no rules. On that thematic level, Dolores emerges to figure out what happened to the real West. And the answer is: We paved the thing over, and civilization eventually caught up with all those people who were running away from it.”

Filming for this upcoming season began back in March of this year, and in addition to Los Angeles as both a filming location and season setting, some of the season was also filmed in Singapore. No specific plot-based reasons have been given about the choice of Singapore as a location, but Lisa Joy told CNA Lifestyle that they chose the country because “there’s nowhere else like this.” Joy added, “There is a poetic shape to the skyline of Singapore that no other city has. There is a beautiful curvature to it that is really unique and interesting.” For a futuristic sci-fi series, that actually makes a lot of sense.

It’s Shorter Than Previous Seasons

“Westworld III” will consist of eight episodes, two fewer than both previous seasons. Why the shorter episode order? Well, it wouldn’t be “Westworld” if fans didn’t try to figure out what everything means, even if it’s between an eight-episode season and a 10-episode season.

But it probably just means that Nolan and Joy decided they only had solid material for eight episodes and didn’t want to unnecessarily stretch out the season.

The Return (and the Eventual End)

A specific premiere date still has yet to be announced, but it will be sometime in the “first half of 2020,” according to HBO programming chief Casey Bloys.

After that, while the series isn’t guaranteed for more seasons, Nolan and Joy DO have deals in place for a potential fourth and fifth season. They also know how they plan for the series to end, as Joy confirmed in an interview with Den of Geek: “We have an ending in mind; we’ve had it from the pilot. It’s very emotional, I think. I can’t tell you exactly when that ending will come… but I think for every season what we try to do is tell a chapter of the story that gives you closure and then opens a door to a new chapter…The overarching question of the series is, what will become of this new lifeform? So I feel it would be irresponsible to not have an end goal in mind.”

Tags: Westworld

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