Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul joins Westworld season 3 - and everything else you need to know

Westworld season 3 might seem like a long way away right now, but news about the upcoming series is already starting to trickle through. Not only is Deadline exclusively reporting that Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul is joining the show as a series regular, but we've even had a few hints from creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy as to what to expect from the new season.

Now that we're all (mostly) recovered from Westworld season 2, it's time to start talking about Westworld season 3 and you'll find everything we know about the upcoming series so far right here. Whether it's discussing what the Westworld season 2 ending means for the future of the show, or dissecting every post-finale interview to work out what comes next, we've got you covered with all the latest rumours and theories, as well as all the official news relating to the Westworld season 3 release date, cast, locations, and more. And with Nolan recently describing Westworld season 3 as "terrifying and exciting in equal measure," let's just say that you're going to want to be prepared... Read on for everything we know about Westworld season 3 so far!

When is the 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 Westworld season 1 and season 2 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,” showrunner Jonathan Nolan told 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.” 

Fellow showrunner Lisa Joy told THR something similar: “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. Our current obsession with Westworld is ruining what's supposed to be a European vacation. [Laughs.] I woke up early this morning and started talking about it. We just had a pleasant lunch in between interviews, and all we did was talk about season three. We're well underway.” 

Read more: The best new TV shows coming in 2018

Who is in the Westworld season 3 cast?

An image from Westworld season 2

The big Westworld season 3 casting news right now is that Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul is apparently joining the show as a series regular, according to Deadline. "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 if this announcement turns out to be true, who will be joining him from the original 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.” 

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. 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? 

EW asked Nolan if he already knew who those five memory balls belonged to or if it was still undecided and the showrunner was very noncommittal. “We’ve had some interesting conversations," he said. “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...

Where will Westworld season 3 be set?

An image from Westworld season 2

The end of Westworld season 2 saw Dolores break out of the park and into the world - 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 said. “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 are 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. 

When will the Westworld season 3 timeline be set?

An image from Westworld season 2

Westworld 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.” 

What will the Westworld season 3 story be about?

An image from Westworld season 2

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

"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."