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Westworld season 3 finale explained: what the big post-credits twist means for season 4

(Image credit: HBO)

The Westworld season 3 ending may have been inching towards feature-length territory at 74 minutes long, but it still found time to add in a post-credits tease. The final stinger not only helps set up the next chapter for Westworld but proved to be utterly unmissable as it seemingly featured the death of one of the HBO series’ long-standing characters.

Below, we’ll run through exactly what happened in the Westworld season 3 post-credits (in case you missed it), how it ties into the ending, and what it all means for season 4 moving forward.

Spoilers for Westworld season 3 follow

(Image credit: HBO)

A whole lot happened by the end of the Westworld season 3 finale: Dolores apparently died, Serac himself was left for dead, Rehoboam was destroyed by Caleb, and Maeve was freed from being a pawn in the ongoing war between Delos and Incite. But it’s two major players who didn’t factor into the episode’s final 20 minutes that ended up playing the most intriguing part, though you had to stick around until after the credits to find out for yourself.

Westworld season 3 post-credits scenes explained: what the ending means for season 4

(Image credit: HBO)

In the post-credits scene, William – having seen the light and now intent on ‘saving the world’ (whatever that may entail) – is seen travelling to a Delos facility and killing a security guard. He makes his way down to the depths of an underground lab, only to be met by Charlotte Hale’s Dolores (Tessa Thompson).

There, ‘Halores’ tells William that he will indeed be the one saving the world but, in a surprise twist, The Man in Black steps out of the shadows and cuts William’s throat, supposedly killing him.

A second, briefer post-credits scene features what appears to be a significant time skip. Bernard, having spent an undefined amount of time in The Valley Beyond looking for answers to how the hosts, including James Marsden’s Teddy, have been spending their time in the robotic equivalent of the afterlife, jerks his head forward and re-awakens. Gibbs is nowhere to be found and a heavy layer of dust covers Bernard as the screen cuts to black, indicating he’s been out of commission for several years.

Westworld season 3 post-credits: the biggest questions

(Image credit: HBO)

We have questions. So many questions. Not least of which, what does this all mean for the recently-announced season 4?

If indeed Evan Rachel Wood departs the show – and nothing has been confirmed in terms of casting just yet – the post-credits sets up Charlotte Hale’s version of Dolores (who says she’s now something not-quite-Dolores) as the Big Bad, with the host version of William at her side.

The shock death is ironic considering actor Ed Harris’ remarks on how he didn’t sign up to play the Man in White – he’s now set to be playing the Man in Black for good. While we didn’t quite see William slip away (drama 101 dictates you've got to see a body for a character to be dead, and even then don't be so sure), we wouldn’t bet on seeing the soft, fleshy human version of Ed Harris' character surviving that attack.

Potentially, even more previously-dead characters could also be returning as hosts to help Halores wrestle control back to the side of the machines after the free will-inducing destruction of predictive AI Rehoboam. Expect that to form the crux of some of next season’s big mysteries. Don’t be surprised to see the OG Dolores brought back under Hale’s control, either.

So, who’s on the side of the angels? Westworld is never quite that black-and-white, but Maeve and Caleb are primed to lead a rebellion, especially given Aaron Paul’s position as de-facto leader of any possible resistance. When coupled with the fact that Bernard is now kitted out with some secrets behind either the Hosts’ designs or what awaits them in The Valley Beyond, Westworld season 4 could see host and human working in tandem to bring down Halores and her vision of the new world.

Phew. Five minutes, two post-credits scenes, and an infinite number of possibilities involving some of the show’s key characters. Some may not look like anything at all right now – but the shift in power dynamics on display here could be the key to next season and whatever the future holds beyond that.

Need something to watch in a post-Westworld world? Check out these picks of some of the best series Netflix and Amazon Prime have to offer.

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).