Westworld season 3 release date, cast, location, timeline, and everything else you need to know

We've got a loooooooooooong wait for Westworld season 3, but that's doesn't mean we can't start getting excited now, right? After all, Westworld season 1 was ground-breaking TV that changed the landscape of storytelling on the small screen, and it's follow up series, Westworld season 2, did not disappoint. Given this, it's fair to say that Westworld season 3 is one of the most hotly anticipated shows around, but do we actually know anything about the returning series yet?

Well, surprisingly, yes. You'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the secretive nature of the show, but we've already had a few hints from creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy as to what to expect from Westworld season 3. Long story short, it's going turn everything you think you know on its head...

As well as these tidbits from the showrunners, there's also a number of rumours about new Westworld season 3 cast members, a possible Westworld season 3 release date, and more. If you're experiencing some serious Westworld withdrawals, read on for everything we know about Westworld season 3 so far. 

Westworld season 3 release date

An image from Westworld season 2

Westworld season 3 was confirmed via the show’s official Twitter page midway through its second season, but don’t expect it any time soon. If you thought the year-long gap between the first season and the second was unbearable then prepare yourself for what sounds like an even longer wait for season 3. 

“There’s going to be a bit of a wait for a third season,” Nolan tells EW. “We’re still talking it through, honestly, with our friends at HBO, and with the cast and the crew. We want to take the time to make every season as exciting as possible. And we have an enormous challenge going into season 3 with the worlds that we’re building going forward. We want to make sure we have the time to do that right.” 

Joy tells THR something similar, saying: “It's early days to know the exact timeline of when it will come back. We haven't nailed anything down yet. We don't know our release date. But we've definitely started breaking the story.” 

Read more: The most anticipated new TV shows of 2019

Westworld season 3 cast

An image from Westworld season 2

The latest news about the Westworld season 3 cast is that HBO is eyeing Antonio Banderas for a regular role, according to TheHashtagShow.com. Although this is by no means confirmed at the moment, the report says: "Details on the role are being kept under wraps but we can tell you the role is for the show's villain, and is said to be in the same vein as Javier Bardem’s character in Skyfall." While this is a very exciting possibility we'll have to wait and see what happens... watch this space. 

In other news, Deadline is reporting that Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul is joining the Westworld season 3 cast as a series regular. "The producers are being tight-lipped on the character but I hear Paul will be a series regular," reads the report, but there's been no confirmation from HBO so far. Paul is already a three-time Emmy winner thanks to his turn on Breaking Bad, so he'll feel right at home amongst the high-calibre talent already a part of the Westworld cast.

But what about returning members of the Westworld cast? As with any show - but especially a HBO show - not everyone makes it from season to season, and given the number of deaths, apparent deaths, and 'deletions' in season 2, there’s a big old question mark hovering over the Westworld season 3 cast list right now.

We can probably safely say that Dolores and Bernard will be back for season 3 given the set up at the end of the season 2 finale, but will there actually be two Dolores in the new season given that there’s one who looks like Charlotte Hale (known as ‘Halores’ to the showrunners) who broke out of the park and one who looks like Dolores who Halores built in the outside world? Not so according to Nolan who tells EW: “Ehhh, not really. The question of who’s who and what we’re looking at is something we’re excited to play with. We’re excited to withhold a little from the audience but… it’s complicated." You don't say?

Fear not though because Tessa Thompson will definitely be back for Westworld season 3 with Joy telling THR that they have big plans for her character... whoever that happens to be. “It's something we're really excited about, especially because Tessa is such a fun, amazing and versatile actress," she says. "When you have someone like her, it just opens up limitless possibilities. So we always knew that we were going to do this reveal and let her expand into this new role. We have a very diabolical arc for her planned out. Part of the fun for the character will be self-realization. She will be realizing the things we know about who she is." This might mean that after she built… herself, Dolores put someone else inside the Charlotte Host body. Perhaps one of those memory balls she’s took out of the park with her? 

And speaking of those memory balls, when EW asked Nolan if he already knew who they belonged to the showrunner was very noncommittal. “We’ve had some interesting conversations," he says. “It’s a large ensemble cast and sadly we’re saying goodbye to some people at the end of this season. But as always with this show, who remains and who doesn’t is something we’re having a lot of fun with.” As for other season 2 characters, Nolan added that it’s “on the safer end of things to presume” that Akecheta and the other Hosts who entered the Sublime wouldn’t be returning for season 3. Having said that, there’s no reason why Dolores, DELOS, or someone else couldn’t make copies of some of them, such as Teddy, if they wanted to...

Westworld season 3 location

An image from Westworld season 2

The Westworld season 2 ending sees Dolores break out of the park, so does this mean that the majority of Westworld season 3 will be set in the real world? According to Nolan the answer is yes! He elaborated to EW, saying: “We’re very excited about where the third season goes. It’s been a long build-up to get outside the park. And we’re incredibly excited about what that looks like and sounds like and what exactly our Hosts discover out there.” 

While that all sounds well and good - and I personally can’t wait to see Dolores take on the real world - can a show like Westworld really leave… well, Westworld behind? Thankfully, Joy told THR that we haven’t seen the last of the park. “I don't necessarily think that we've seen the last of these artificial worlds that are central to the concept of our series as a whole,” she says. “But the major lens that we will have is going to be the real world. If the park does emerge and come back, we would plan on explaining how that could be, and why.”

And it’s not just Westworld, Raj World, and Shogun World Dolores (and potentially the show) is leaving behind in season 3. There's also three other DELOS worlds yet to be revealed AND the Hosts’ virtual paradise known as the Sublime. When asked about why those three other parks weren’t revealed in season 2, Nolan replied: “Well, not all of our favorite characters have managed to escape yet, so…” implying that Maeve and some of the other Hosts who are still in park might wander into these new worlds during season 3. (Ok, Maeve and co are currently dead, but they’ve been dead before!)

As for the Sublime, it’s not as obvious whether we’ll be exploring that world in season 3. “It's locked away. Humans can't access it anymore. They're gone. They're in a place we can't touch,” Joy tells THR. “The stakes and the finality of it are important. It's not something where I think the humans can type it up and get back in and start messing with them anymore. It's what so many Hosts sacrificed so much for, to see their kind to this safe space.” It’s interesting that Joy specifically says humans can’t access it and with her also confirming that Dolores is the only one who knows where she’s sent them, if we are to return to the Sublime in season 3, it’ll be because Dolores wants to. 

Westworld season 3 timeline

An image from Westworld season 2

Westworld's timelines have caused us all more headaches than we care to admit and have become a hallmark of the show, so it’s safe to say that season 3 will feature a few different timelines. Based on the Westworld season 2 post-credits scene, could one of them be set in the far flung future? “Not necessarily,” Nolan tells EW. “We just love the ability to play in perceptual terms with the Hosts being immortal.” Of course that post-credits scene is more of a mind-blowing WTF tease rather than an actual indicator of what’s to come! 

Don’t despair if you’re desperate to find out what’s going on in that end-credits sting though, because if Joy is to be believed, we will return to that timeline... at some point. “I think that storyline is something we'll get to eventually.” Joy tells THR. “But season 3, the main story will not be leaping that far forward. I'm really curious creatively to see what happens to Bernard and Dolores, now that they've finally earned their freedom. I think we'll see a lot more of that.” 

Westworld season 3 story

Unsurprisingly, the showrunners are unwilling to go into specific details about the Westworld season 3 story, but Nolan did have this to say when THR questioned him on the plot of the upcoming season:

"I think it's a radical shift. What's compelling and appealing about these characters is that they're not human. As we said in the show, humans are bound by the same loops the Hosts are, in some ways even smaller. You couldn't expect human characters to withstand and survive the kind of story that we're telling. The Hosts have a different version of mortality, a different outlook. I think clearly with Dolores, as she's laid out, there is a longer view here, a larger set of goals. They're existential. They span eons. And that's a fascinating level of story to engage in."

Joy added (also via THR): "The first season was a more intimate look at the park from within the loops. In the second season, the hosts broke out of their loops and were able to explore more of the park. In the third season, they've broken out of the park itself. We're in a new terra incognita. From the beginning, when Jonah and I were thinking about the series as far back as the pilot, we knew we wanted to explore other worlds in the park, and we also knew the one world we would start to see little glimpses of throughout the first two seasons was the real world, and that we would get there eventually — and when we did, it would be a whole new experience."