HBO has told its hit sci-fi series Westworld to bring itself back online for a third season, and with the second season now officially in the rearview mirror, it’s time to begin looking ahead to season 3. The series’ creators have been understandably secretive about the direction the show will head in its third season, but we do know some of the new faces that will be joining the show — including a popular Breaking Bad actor.As fans know all too well by now, the Westworld season 2 finale dramatically changed the paradigm for the show and its cast of characters — both human and synthetic — and now season 3 is primed to go beyond the borders of the park. With some characters poised to return, others seemingly reaching an end to their journey with the show in season 2, and a large number of new characters and settings on the horizon, anything is possible for the show’s third season.
Here’s everything we know about Westworld season 3 so far.
(Warning: Multiple season 2 spoilers below.)
The new cast
The third season of Westworld will add a familiar face for fans of Breaking Bad and The Path, with actor Aaron Paul reportedly joining the cast as a series regular, according to Deadline.
There is no word on the character he will play in the show’s third season, but with three Primetime Emmy Award nominations under his belt already, he adds yet another acclaimed cast member to an already impressive cast.
While there’s no shortage of narrative threads the series could explore in its third season, the relationship between hosts Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is expected to heavily shape the events of season 3. With Dolores attempting to assert the hosts’ dominance outside the park and Bernard standing against her, their dynamic is expected to be at the center of season 3’s overarching narrative.
Another character who appears to be destined for big — and possibly sinister — things in season 3 is actress Tessa Thompson’s diabolical Delos executive, Charlotte Hale. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy teased some very interesting events in Charlotte’s future after the big reveal of her identity (and life after death) in season 2.
“So we always knew that we were going to do this reveal and let her expand into this new role,” Joy said. “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.”
There’s no official premiere date for the season 3 at this point, but it’s widely believed that the third season will debut in 2020. It’s a long wait for fans, but almost two years elapsed between the finale of season 1 and the premiere of season 2.
— Westworld (@WestworldHBO) May 1, 2018
The show’s co-creator Lisa Joy was coy about the premiere date for season 3 in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and for a variety of reasons, there could be a lot to contemplate before writing begins, let alone production. Accordingly, Joy’s co-pilot Jonathan Nolan indicated just after the season 2 finale that “there’s going to be a bit of a wait for a third season.”
The finale of the second season effectively blew out the borders of the park — and the perceived boundaries of the show’s narrative. According to the show’s creators, season 3 will continue to explore the world outside the park.
“From the beginning … 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,” Joy told The Hollywood Reporter.
Although the final scene in the season 2 finale presented yet another timeline to consider in the complicated continuity of Westworld, is expected to have a more traditional timeline for season 3. While the series will continue to play fast and loose with the perception of time — and the narrative surprises that come from creative manipulation of it — there won’t be a sudden change in setting for the third season, according to the show’s creators.
Fans shouldn’t expect the task of tracking the show’s multitude of timelines to get any easier, however. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about season 3, Nolan teased, “We just love the ability to play in perceptual terms with the hosts being immortal.”
The other parks
There’s no official word on whether the remaining parks to be identified will be revealed in season 3, but the Westworld creators have indicated that they won’t remain a mystery forever. We know about three of the six parks so far (Westworld, Shogunworld, and The Raj), but the trio of parks that have yet to show up in the series could play a role in season 3, even as the action moves outside Westworld and the other parks.
Updated on September 13: Added casting news for Aaron Paul.