As this year’s SXSW wraps up its final day in Austin, Westworld fans have been blessed with a new round of vague yet intriguing hints about the upcoming second season. Of course, as is tradition, the creators and stars avoided divulging any types of details that could shed light onto the narrative, but from what they did share, it sounds like the season will be nothing less than a mind-bending, script-flipping, anxiety-inducing roller coaster that is sure to leave its viewers satisfied, confused, and perhaps a bit emotionally shot.
During yesterday’s Westworld panel, series co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were joined on stage with stars Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), James Marsden (Teddy), Thandie Newton (Maeve), and Jeffrey Wright (Bernard). According to The Hollywood Reporter, those who were lucky enough to attend the panel got to see some new footage from the upcoming season, including a first look at the recently-announced Shogun World, as well as Maeve dressed in a kimono, hinting that the awakened host may be crossing from her native Westworld park into its newly-introduced counterpart. The footage has yet to be made public, but perhaps HBO will do us a solid and post it sometime before the season premieres?
As the conversation progressed, Wright commented that Bernard is now in the process of figuring out everything that went down with the season one finale. “Season two for Bernard is ‘what the fuck just happened?'”, said the actor. Wood added that she thinks Dolores and Bernard swapped roles between seasons one and two. “I feel like we swapped narratives,” said the actress. “Now you’re the one that’s lost and trying to figure it out.”
It’s curious that even though Bernard himself is a host, he still seems to be grouped with his human Delos colleagues as they try to comprehend the android uprising that Dolores has started. Will he decide to switch teams at some point to support his fellow machines?
Check out THR’s full article, which dives into Elon Musk’s surprise appearance at the panel, and take a look at this YouTube video Austin Smith posted of the SpaceX founder’s entrance and remarks:
After the panel, the show’s stars made their way over to SXSW’s studio for a Facebook Live interview about their thoughts on the show and how they felt upon learning about all the twists and turns that season two holds.
When asked what the actors were looking forward to the most coming into season two before learning the fate of their characters, Wood said that she was most looking forward to Dolores continuing full-speed on her vengeful uprising, a thought that was subsequently tempered after shooting began:
“Where we left Dolores at the end of the first season, a switch has been turned on. And I was like, ‘I want to see now what she’s like!’ And I was excited to sort of get my vengeance. And then we started shooting season two, and I remembered, oh right, the show is incredibly realistic. This isn’t just about, ‘Yeah I’m the bad guy now!’ – there’s a reason why she’s doing this, and it’s deep, and it’s dark, and it’s a lot heavier than I had anticipated.”
Dolores had a pretty deep emotional dive through her first season story arc, so the fact that Wood was surprised by how heavy the show dives back into her character’s narrative can only mean that we’ll be going even deeper into her emotional state to understand the motivations surrounding her Wyatt-assisted actions.
Even for the actors most familiar with the show, some of the curveballs that Nolan and Joy have thrown into the new season took them off guard. Wright commented that right off the bat the show messes with your preconceived notions of where it’s supposed to be going. “Almost immediately out of the gate [Jonah and Lisa] kind of slip one of the legs from under the chair,” says the actor. “And you go ‘Oh yeah, I forgot, they’re ruthless.’”
Wood added that there’s one shocking twist in particular that took her completely by surprise. “I’m pretty good about foreseeing certain things, but [Jonah and Lisa] always have one sucker punch that just blindsides me. And there was one where I was reading [a script], and I just went, ‘Of course! Oh my god! They’re terrible!’”
It remains to be seen how ‘terrible’ things will get as the season progresses, but it sounds like we’re certainly headed in that direction – each actor described the upcoming season in one word, and the results? Chaos, mayhem, fire, and a loud scream (from Wood).
Check out the entire Facebook Live interview, during which the actors also chat about the philosophy behind Westworld and the no-expenses-spared SXSW show activation, and let us know what you think!