Westworld season 2: Similarities with The Handmaid's Tale, extras casting call hints at story, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Westworld season 2 release date: Spring 2018
  • Directors: TBC
  • Cast: Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright (TBC)
  • Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy

Update: October 19, 2017 - Westworld’s season 2 is "bigger and more frightening"

You might not think there’s much correlation between Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale, but according to costume designer Ane Crabtree - who works on both - the two shows are more alike than you might think... despite the hugely different time frames.

“Both shows for me are rather punk and have a lot of anarchy,” Crabtree said in an interview with Gold Derby. “They’re bizarrely similar. I don’t see them as totally opposite, which is weird maybe, but visually, they’re so different.”

When asked to comment on Westworld’s upcoming second series, Crabtree said: “The stories are even bigger and perhaps more frightening and powerful.” 

Unfortunately, Crabtree didn’t drop any hints about what other costumes she might be making... but we still have hope we'll get to see other themed Worlds in season 2.

Update: October 10, 2017 - get “naked with strangers” and become a Westworld extra

While HBO isn’t giving away much when it comes to Westworld’s highly anticipated second season, a statement sent to local Utah press has given us a sneaky peek at what we might expect to see.

“We are looking for Native American Indians, Chinese, Western men and women, military types,” states a press release, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. “All types needed, all ethnicities and all ages.”

Stated to be filming “around mid- to late October 2017 in southern Utah”, the presser is pretty specific on what it needs extras to look like; Men must have 1890s-appropriate facial hair or be clean-shaven, and women must have long, natural hair that’s a single colour.

“Do I get to be naked with strangers? Sign me up!” commented one reader. 

Is this proof we'll finally see places like Samurai World?

Update: October 4, 2017 - here’s what other Worlds we might get in season 2

Westworld season 2 may introduce us to other theme park zones, including a Roman World and Medieval World.

At the 2017 Vanity Fair Summit, Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were asked if we were likely to see any of the other park environments in the second series. Whilst Nolan wouldn’t be drawn on a definitive answer, he did say, “we had to save something for season 2.”

This, of course, ties in with the original movie, in which guests could also visit Roman World and Medieval World. 

With the brief glimpse we saw of “SW” (probably, but not definitely, Samurai World) during the climax of season 1, the tiger that washed up on the shore, and Thandie Newton’s character, Maeve, being directed to “Park 1” to find her daughter, the question remains: how many parks are there, and how many will we see in season 2?

Update: September 29, 2017 - Teddy is "very excited" by the season 2 scripts

James Marsden - who plays Host Teddy in the HBO show - has revealed that he’s “very excited” by the first two scripts for season 2.

“It’s pretty special,” James told ET Online. “It was a long journey getting this show up and running, but it was because we wanted it to be great, and now, people have seen that and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.”

And that’s not all he shared. With sometimes as little as three-days notice of nude scenes, Marsden also set out what he does (or, more accurately, what he doesn’t do) when he knows he’s got to strip down on set.

“It’s more about not eating,” he said. “I try to go easy on dinners leading up to those scenes. Not too many late-night meals and I drink a lot of water. It definitely helps to be training for a triathlon. If those two merge, it’s nice timing. It keeps you in shape!”

***Original article continues below***

Westworld season 2 sees the robots rebel

Westworld season 2 is slated for some time in 2018, and filming has already begun on this second run. We've even had a teaser trailer for it too, which shows off... well, quite a lot actually. You can watch it below. The original season, which was our best TV show of 2016, was always going to get a second outing, but while it has been green-lit by HBO, Westworld season 2 won't finish shooting until the end of the year. Hopefully, this second outing will start to answer some of the show's biggest questions: are we heading to Samurai / Shogun World? What happens now with Maeve? Have we seen the last of The Man in Black? Actually, the teaser trailer has got that last one covered. While you'll need to wait until 2018 for the answers, we’ve got all the information you need to stay bang up to date, right here. Here’s our review, if you still need to catch up on all things Westworld season 1.

Westworld season 2 release date is 2018, so you have to wait a while…

Bad news, folks - Westworld season 2 isn’t arriving until 2018. Given the shooting schedule, and the timeline we've seen for HBO's other fantasy epic - Game of Thrones - we'd expect it to hit around April or May. We know that it has already started filming, thanks to various Tweets from the cast, and that it'll finish some time in late 2017 / early 2018. That means nothing until April, when HBO likes to air one of its premium shows. 

Westworld season 2 setting is likely to be across multiple parks

At the end of Westworld S1 we get the big reveal that Westworld isn’t the only park in the complex. In fact, there are a hell of a lot. We know that Maeve’s daughter is currently in Park 1, Sector 15, Zone 3 implying that Westworld itself isn’t even ‘Park 1’. The leading contender for Westworld S2’s setting is Samurai World - and we see some of the behind-the-scenes labs that serve Samurai World in the final episode of S1. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have heavily hinted that we’ll see more of that world in the next season, during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Well, I've been practicing with my samurai sword,” says Nolan, when asked about SW. “And I've taken years of martial arts that have suddenly fallen by the wayside now that we're showrunning,” laughs Joy. “But it's wonderful to work with actors we haven't worked with before. This allows us a lot of access to Asian actors and the Asian community, which is very important to me as part Asian myself.”

Seems pretty definitive, but we’ll also spend plenty of time in Westworld itself. The entire teaser trailer is set in the Westworld (both park and behind-the-scenes area) we know from season 1, and it is, er, the name of the show. Let’s not forget that we have loads of unfinished business in Westworld itself, like the small matter of a Host uprising that concludes the first season. Again, this is something that the teaser trailer leans heavily on.

And it may be just a nod to the season 1 finale, but Funko has released a new Pop figurine called Musashi. Who is a Samurai. Either it's a very lavish connection to the end of season 1, or a hint at what's to come in season 2. We're guessing it's the latter.

Will we see any other parks in the next series? Very likely. Maeve’s quest to find her daughter could well see her travelling to different parts of the overall complex, and the Showrunners themselves have admitted that they’d like to broaden the scope of the world as the show continues. Just don’t expect it to happen all at once. “I think the fun and challenge of this show is that season upon season, we'll only get more ambitious,” says Joy, continuing her interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “We will ultimately encounter other worlds. Just when and where remains to be seen.”

In the teaser we see Bernard staring at a dead tiger in the river. That didn't come from Westworld, so it has floated down from... somewhere else. In the original Westworld movie, a hapless Peter Martin simply runs beyond the bounds of Westworld by crossing a river, and finds himself in Roman World. The dead tiger in the river seems like a smart nod to this, and it's not inconceivable that the beast has come from some Roman amphitheatre narrative in Roman World.

And finally: where and when is Westworld actually set? The prevailing fan theory is that it’s set on earth in the year 2052 - more on that theory later - thanks to an Easter egg found on an official Westworld website. Having said that… one of the wilder theories suggests this might all be taking place on Mars.

Westworld season 2 plot is all about chaos

While commenting on Ford’s rousing speech at the end of Westworld episode 10 (in an HBO Go featurette), Showrunner Jonathan Nolan said the following: "If the first season was defined by control, the second season is defined by chaos. That's part of what we come to understand Ford has been planning all along". The Host uprising is very much in effect, then, and is unlikely to just get shut down. Expect it to spread throughout Westworld and some of the other worlds within the overall complex. 

In the teaser trailer we see Maeve and Lee Sizemore, the story writer, exploring the behind-the-scenes areas and finding a heap of bodies. The Hosts have very much taken over this place.

In the park, Dolores and Teddy ride around shooting what we assume are Guests, from horseback. Dolores - having had her narrative merged with major villain Wyatt - is on a rampage. This is what Ford is referring to in his final speech about his new story: "It begins in a time of war. With a villain named Wyatt. And a killing - this time by choice."

Rachel Evan Wood, who plays Dolores, has described her character as "unleashed" while speaking to Entertainment Weekly. "I’m really curious to see the unleashed version of her that we caught a glimpse of at the very end of the finale," Wood says. "Those final seconds, I think we were seeing a completely different side to her, completely different programming and completely off of her leash, so I don’t think she will be the same person; she’ll be an evolved version."

Linked to this, Talulah Riley has a bigger part (according to Deadline) as Angela, who is the right-hand woman of Wyatt. So, this means we’ll be seeing more of Wyatt, which means more human killing.

Westworld season 2 cast sees plenty of familiar faces returning

First off, the villain. Well, kinda. The Man in Black is back for S2, and we know it’s the present-day version of him because Ed Harris is literally in the teaser trailer with all kinds of blood splattered on his face. Will we see his life journey from the more innocent William to the twisted older guy that owns the largest share of Delos? Very likely.

We  know that Jimmi Simpson, who plays William will be coming back for season 2. Despite denying it in a post-season 1 interview with Vanity Fair, he later Tweeted about his first day back on set in Westworld, with Evan Rachel Wood.

Bernard is back for S2 and “There’s going to be a total awareness of his duality” according to this Jeffrey Wright interview with Esquire. Will he be running Westworld after Ford’s death? That’s the hot theory at the moment, but we’ll have to wait and see. Dolores is definitely back, as she’s currently the centrepiece of the show, as is Maeve who continues the quest for her daughter having broken out of her loop. 

What about the unfortunate pair of Security personnel: Stubbs and Elsie? Given that Luke Hemsworth is talking about his involvement with the season 2 script then it’s safe to say he’s in. He even said this to the Huffington Post: "Physically? He’s well. He’s doing alright. Just taking a sabbatical." You can see him driving one of the buggies in the teaser trailer. But is Elsie dead? This Easter egg uncovered on Reddit suggests that she’s still alive (or wasn’t killed in the theatre anyway), so it’s also safe to assume that her story will be picked up in the next season. You can’t send a transmission if you’re dead, right?

There are two new characters confirmed too. Variety is reporting that Jonathan Tucker and Neil Jackson are both on board for S2. Tucker plays "Major Craddock, a commanding military officer" and Jackson is "a charming and resourceful man who finds himself in uncharted territory".

Finally, if you’re a fan of Armistice… there’s no official word on her, but Jonathan Nolan describes her presence in the end-credit sequence as “more playful than anything else”, and Lisa Joy says that “She’s just rad”. Hey, if the Showrunners are fans, then it looks good that she’ll return.

Westworld season 2 trailer is out there... but what did you miss?

You've already watched the trailer at the top of the page, but did you miss anything? First off, the song used in the trailer is 'I Gotta Be Me' by Sammy Davis Jnr. It plays through the piano, which is now soaked in blood (a metaphor for the birth of the Hosts through violence). 

Lawrence is back! We see him swinging from a tree, implying someone else has been taking advantage of him (or maybe it's just the Man in Black again). Poor Lawrence. We also see that Teddy has returned, as he's following Dolores on her rampage. It's no surprise, but it's nice to have that confirmed anyway.

A quick note on that tiger... some sources on the internet are convinced it's a Bengal Tiger, which would fit with a potential Samurai World. However, this is very speculative at the moment.

Westworld season 2 theories range from the sensible to the stupid

Ok, let’s break down the Top 5 theories for the second season of Westworld:

1) Ford is dead but a Host version of him exists

Do we see that Host in episode 7 when Arnold kills Theresa? Maybe. It all depends on whether the Showrunners want to actually show Anthony Hopkins’ character having a direct impact on season 2, or whether he’s going to be more subconscious, like Arnold. Plus, it’d rely on Hopkins actually signing up for a second outing too.

2) Dolores is Wyatt, and she has surrendered control to that aspect of her personality for now

The whole Dolores is Wyatt theory is pretty solid, and the end of the first season suggests that she may have become that aspect of her personality. The ‘return of Wyatt’ is something that characters talked about towards the end of the season, but it was suggested Wyatt ‘wasn’t ready to come back’ just yet. Is Dolores really Wyatt? Very likely. Is that the default personality for some kind of ‘park purge’ like it was when Arnold killed all the Hosts 30 years ago and then had Dolores kill him? Yeah, probably. 

3) Elsie and Stubbs are still alive

As discussed above, Luke Hemsworth is in season 2, and there’s the Easter egg that supposedly shows a broadcast from Elise that originates from somewhere inside the park. It’s quite circumstantial evidence at the moment, but the fact we don’t actually see either character die suggests there’s still hope for them too. 

4) Armistice will return in some form

The Showrunners seem to be keen on Armistice, and there was a post-credits sequence dedicated to her. Again, we don’t see her die, and Hosts are constantly repurposed. But the big question is whether or not she retains her character, or whether she gets lobotomised like Clem. Very likely the former. One more interesting theory suggests that the breakout at the end of S1 was all staged, and that the security forces were Hosts. It’s all part of Ford’s grand narrative. That would suggest a brighter future for Armistice. 

5) The show takes place in 2052, on earth

So, one big theory is that the date for Westworld’s future setting has already been revealed. According to some bonus security footage of the character break out in episode 10, one of the feeds had a date on it that read 6/15/2052. That date has since been removed, and replaced with X/XX/XXX - implying that fans got a little too close to the truth, before the Showrunners were ready to reveal it. Of course, another fan theory suggests Westworld is actually set on Mars, so the honest answer is that no-one really knows.

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