Westworld season 2: release date, returning characters, plot info, and everything you need to know

Fast facts

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

Westworld season 2 is coming! The surprise hit of last year - which was our best TV show of 2016 - has been greenlit for a second outing, and there are already snippets of news (along with a handful of rumours and theories) online. Its release date has been tentatively pencilled in for early 2018, and shooting starts on the new set of shows in summer of this year. Is Ford really dead? Will the Man in Black return? What happened to Elsie and Stubbs? And are we really headed to a different park? All these questions and more are likely to be answered in the new season, and we’ve got all the information you need to know about it 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. Although it’s going through production much quicker than the original, S2 is still being scripted. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the President of Programming at HBO - Casey Bloys - said: "Westworld is such a big, ambitious show. I don't know if it will be fall of 2017 or into '18. That will depend as we get up and running. With Westworld, because the production is such a big endeavour, I don't exactly know when [it will premiere] yet. I can't speculate other than to say it'll either be '17 or '18. Probably more like '18.” 

While Bloys is non-committal, he does seem to be leaning more towards 2018. This is backed up by an interview given by Luke Hemsworth, who plays Stubbs (the missing-in-action Head of Security) in season 1. Speaking to The Independent, he explains why there’s such a lengthy delay between the green-lighting of season 2 and the actual shooting, which is due to start in the summer. “They are trying to get it right. They don’t want to go in doing what they were doing last time where they were under the cosh the whole time. They want to go in with a clear plan – A to Z and everything in between – at least have drafts in place”.

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 chances are we’ll also spend plenty of time in Westworld itself. After all, that’s the name of the show, and the creators have been quick to point that out. 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.

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.”

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. 

Aside from that, there is very little actual info on what’s going to happen. Heck, the script hasn’t even been written yet. However, we’ll apparently find out more about how the Hosts are made, and more about what powers them and makes them ‘live’. The rest of the plot is all theories and rumours at this point, but we can clear a few things up: Maeve definitely broke her programming, and Ford - the human - is most definitely dead. As for the rest of the characters...

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 has been invited back for the second season. 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, although we do know that Jimmi Simpson, who plays William will not be coming back for season 2, according to this interview with Vanity Fair. When asked about it he simply replies “No”. That’s pretty definitive, although it wouldn’t be the first time an actor in an HBO show had lied about appearing in a season of a hit show. Looking at you, Kit Harington. Looking at you. Does this mean Logan is out too? Well, actually it might not, as the duo are very much separated by the end of season 1. 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. 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?

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… doesn’t exist

Sorry, but just to clear things up for you - there’s no official trailer yet. Not even a teaser or behind-the-scenes thing. Nothing. The very minute it happens, we’ll add it right here, but for now all we can do is save you some fruitless Google searching. Rest assured - we’re as desperate to see something as you are but, given filming won’t start until summer, don’t expect it any time soon.

Even Bernard hasn't seen the first Westworld S2 trailer yet. He's pictured here, staring in disbelief at the 2017 Golden Globe winners.

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 actively speaking about 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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