The next wave of violent delights have violent beginnings.
With only a few weeks standing in the way between now and the launch of the new season, HBO have dropped several new photos from the second year of Westworld, the high-stakes drama from Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy that mashes the science fiction and Western genres into one massive robot-fueled epic.
Given how the first season ended — with central character Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) not only achieving self-awareness, but consciously making the decision to violently rebel against the humans dwelling within the Delos-owned park — it should come as no surprise that season two (which premieres April 22 on HBO) will focus on the manmade lifeforms known as hosts in the midst of evolution and revolution in equal measure.
The first images from the series back these notions up. In one still, Dolores and her predestined lover Teddy (James Marsden) sit side-by-side on horseback, staring out at something in the distance, the purple and pink-stained sky in their rearview. The final moments of the first season featured Teddy worryingly watching as Dolores became Wyatt, the fabled and deadly revolutionary with “crazy ideas” about battling back against oppression.
Given the new dynamics between the characters, it’s incredibly likely that Dolores will attempt to take Teddy under her wing with her new vision of the future — a vision that might take the often gentle-hearted Teddy some time to fully embrace, if he ever embraces it at all.
Just as Dolores was on a collision course with consciousness in season one, so too was Maeve, the witty host played by Thandie Newton. In her final moments of the season, Maeve was moments away from leaving Westworld behind forever; instead, she decided to stay, seemingly fueled by a need to find a young host who was once cast in the role of her daughter. The latest look at Maeve sees her standing alongside one of the more repugnant human inhabitants of the park…
…Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the man who aspired to be the next new narrative genius in the mold of Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins); in reality, he was stuck in a creative rut. If this look at the two of them together is a sign of what their season two storyline will entail, then perhaps Sizemore will have some serious fuel for a new storyline, should he survive long enough to implement it, and should the park ever get back under control.
Speaking of which, another central host became aware of his true nature in season one, under some very brutal circumstances: Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), modeled after the late park co-founder Arnold. It’s unclear yet what Bernard thinks about his “human nature,” such as it exists, as well as that of the hosts at large. Given his dedication to studying host behavior, will he have a different viewpoint on their destiny than someone like Dolores or even Maeve? At the very least, several early indications see Bernard maintaining his human cover alongside other humans like Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) and other members of the Westworld security staff, including two new characters played by Betty Gabriel and Gustaf Skarsgard, pictured below…
And a brand new human figure played by Fares Fares, of whom we know very little:
Meanwhile, seemingly off on his own is William, also known by a more menacing moniker: the Man in Black (Ed Harris). Word persists that Jimmi Simpson will once again reprise his role as the younger version of William, in flashback form at least, though one can certainly imagine a synthetic version of William running around in the present day; consider it one of Ford’s final gifts to his gunslinging adversary.
Whatever the future holds for the most easily agreed upon antagonist in Westworld lore, it at least looks like William is back to his old tricks, seen below surrounded by a pile of bodies.
Also included in the latest batch of photos: our first new look at Talulah Riley’s Angela, who has been upgraded to series regular for the year ahead. Last we saw her, she was beating the drum for the arrival of Wyatt, who we now know is Dolores. One can only imagine the damage the two will incur in the episodes ahead, with their alliance now front and center.
Additional featured characters include Bernard alongside Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte Hale, the high-powered executive trapped inside the chaotic park…
…and Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), Charlotte’s occasional lover, last see blowing a bunch of human aggressors to smithereens…
As for Shogun World, the new theme park teased at the end of the first season? No sign of it here, at least not in any obvious way. With that said, expect the location once known among fans as “Samurai World” to factor prominently in the season ahead.
What do you make of the latest look at Westworld season two? Sound off in the comments section below and keep following THR.com/Westworld for more coverage.