Westworld season 2 release date, cast, trailer, episode clues, and everything else you need to know

With the first season airing back in 2016, it's been a loooooooong wait for Westworld season 2, but it's finally here. It's Westworld week! And the first episode will air on HBO this Sunday at 9pm ET in the US and a day later on Sky Atlantic in the UK, so you better make sure you're ready for it. 

If you're in no way ready to reenter the world of Westworld because you completely forgot about the start of the new season - come on guys, you need to be more organised than this - then don't worry because we've got everything you need to know heading into season 2, including a full Westworld season 1 recap, which you can watch above. 

Keep on scrolling for everything else, from the release date and trailers, to the plot theories and casting details, but don't worry because, while we've definitely speculated on what might be coming, HBO have done a very good job of keeping everything under wraps so there's no spoilers here. Plus, keep checking back once season 2 starts for our weekly recaps and analysis, so you never miss a thing!

Fast Facts:

  • Westworld season 2 release date: April 22, 2018 (US)/ April 23, 2018 (UK)
  • Directors: Lisa Joy and others TBA 
  • Cast: Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright
  • Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy

The Westworld season 2 release date is THIS WEEK!

As confirmed by the Westworld season 2 Superbowl trailer (which you can watch below), we finally have a release date for the premiere episode, which will be airing this April 22 on HBO in the US and a day later on Sky Atlantic in the UK (with streaming on NOW TV). After a long, long wait, that's suddenly not very long at all, so prepare your simmering hype for imminent unleashing. 

The Westworld season 2 trailers bring spectacle and poignant story themes 

There are three main Westworld season 2 trailers now. The first (above) is the lightest, using 'I Gotta Be Me' by Sammy Davis Jnr. over a montage of big, broad-strokes imagery depicting the park in the aftermath of season 1's finale. 

Later though, the trailers get a lot darker, a lot more delicate, and a lot more Westworld. The Superbowl trailer (above) is a far more sombre affair, detailing Dolores' overall ambition of destroying Westworld as it stands now and rebuilding it as a new world for the Hosts, a bloody declaration of independence that will probably define much of the season. 

And the third trailer? Bleaker still. Using a conversation between Bernard and Dolores as its frame, it shows the fallout from the rebellion in slower detail, explaining the ongoing philosophical clash over how 'real' Hosts are, as Maeve explores the corpse-strewn control area, and Dolores and Teddy go on a ten-mile odyssey of death across the park. There are also strong hints that Dolores' understanding of the outside world is going to accelerate, leading to some serious, bigger picture business rapidly being afoot. Westworld season 2 is not messing about. Watch it above now. 

The Westworld season 2 cast sees plenty of familiar faces returning

Most of the main cast return in one form or another. We know that Ed Harris is back as William, though his allegiance seems to be shifting a bit, now that the Hosts' freedom has reinvigorated his earlier dream of what Westworld could be. His dialogue in the trailers certainly hints at a return to a more sympathetic, nurturing role, after the increasingly twisted 'support' he's given them over he last few decades. Do expect more flashbacks to the 'young William' period though, as actor Jimmi Simpson has tweeted about returning. 

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Bernard is also back for season 2, and will have "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, though of course it's also debatable just what level of functionality the park will even have in season 2. Dolores is definitely back, and acting as the figurehead of the uprising, and Maeve looks to be acting as a kind of parallel counterpoint, continuing the quest for her daughter having broken out of her own loop.

Security personnel Stubbs, who had an ambiguous fate at the end of the first season, is present in the Westworld season 2 trailers, so clearly survived. While we haven't seem her yet, the similarly miss-in-action Elsie has been confirmed by producers to be alive, so she'll be back too. And two new characters are confirmed. Variety is reporting that Jonathan Tucker and Neil Jackson are both on board for season 2. Tucker plays "Major Craddock, a commanding military officer" - thus lending credence to the idea that Westworld is now at war with the outside world - and Jackson is "a charming and resourceful man who finds himself in uncharted territory". 

The 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 in full effect, then, and will probably define the entire season. 

In the teaser trailer we see Maeve and Sizemore exploring the behind-the-scenes areas and finding heaps of bodies. The Hosts have very much taken over the facility in season 2. With other parks in the resort - such as the samurai-themed Shogun World, teased at the end of season 1 - now in play, expect the insurrection to spread like a virus, potentially leading to a full-blown civil war. 

And of course, in the open park, the newly unleashed, genuinely sentient Dolores will be the biggest - and probably most dangerous - driving force. Now entirely self-aware, and bonded with the personality of murderous park storyline villain Wyatt, she's likely to be the main instigator of the revolution. Though it's worth remembering that all of this, in a round-about way, was pre-planned and written by Ford. As he says in his final speech, when explaining his new storyline at the end of season 1: "It begins in a time of war. With a villain named Wyatt. And a killing - this time by choice." Dolores is free now, but Ford led her to where we are now, so don't be surprised to see the now-dead park founder's long-term plans resonate throughout the whole of Westworld season 2. 

The Westworld season 2 theories range from the sensible to the stupid

Given the density of the first season (packed as it was with twists, turns, reveals, and major philosophical pondering), not to mention the significant wait for more, a huge number of Westworld season 2 theories have been spat out of the specul-o-tron over the last 18 months. Some - like the existence of a Host version of Ford - have survived since the first season. Others, like Elsie not being dead, have already been proved true. But plenty more are still up in the air. 

We could list them all here, but there are so many interesting ones, and so many big, umbrella master theories that tie everything together, that we've given them their own article, so that you can check out the very best Westworld season 2 theories all in one place in the link above. 

The Westworld season 2 episodes pack a few clues into their titles 

We currently only have the titles for four of the ten Westworld season 2 episodes, but a couple of those are rather interesting indeed. The first, Journey into Night, as well as sharing a title with Ford's new park narrative, is clearly a reference to Eugene O'Neill's 1956 play Long Day's Journey into Night, a drama concerning the doomed internal strife of a dysfunctional family struggling to deal with long-standing frustrations, failings, fears, addictions, and mutual blame. The father is a failed actor who killed his career by staying in the same role too long, and the whole family repeatedly attempt to smooth over their conflict by dwelling on nostalgic past times. As a thematic analogue for Westworld, there's a lot going on. 

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Episode 2, Reunion, could refer to pretty much anything, though the return of Elsie and Stubbs might be a good bet. Things get more interesting with episode 3, Virtu e Fortuna, which refers to Machiavelli's philosophy of success in public life (long-story short, it's about maximising the influence of the "virtu" part - one's personal strength and ability to impose will - and minimising the part played by luck). Again, there are big parallels here to both the Hosts' growing independence and the park management's attempts to keep control.

And episode 4, Riddle of the Sphinx, refers to the Greek legend of the Sphinx that guarded the city of Thebes, and would eat any traveller unable to solve its puzzle. The puzzle itself? As formalised by the myth of Oedipus: "Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?" The answer is "Man", who crawls as a baby, walks upright when older, and then uses a cane when elderly. Given the first season's theme of the long journey to existential identity and understanding of the human condition, it seems that this is going to continue in season 2, with a major boost in episode 4. And given the theme of the riddle, expect the Hosts' wrangling with the idea of mortality to be prominent too. 

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