It’s been a long wait, but HBO just dropped a full trailer for the third season of Westworld, HBO’s Emmy-award winning science fiction series. And it looks like we’re in for another wild, mind-bending ride through multiple dystopian timelines.
(Warning: major spoilers for the first two seasons of Westworld below.)
The titular Westworld is one of six immersive theme parks owned and operated by a company called Delos Inc. The park is populated with a “cast” of very human-looking androids, called hosts. The park’s well-heeled visitors can pretty much do whatever they like to the hosts and don’t generally view the hosts as anything more than unfeeling props in their private dramas. But the hosts’ creator/co-founder and park director of Westworld, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), “awakens” a host named Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) to true sentience. S1 concluded with a bloody massacre, as the reprogrammed hosts rise up to take revenge on the guests.
S2 had an even more convoluted plot spanning multiple timelines. Dolores begins recruiting other hosts to fight off Delos security forces while searching for the door to the real world, intent on taking revenge by wiping out the human race. Ars’ own Nathan Matisse particularly praised S2’s seventh episode, “Les Écorchés”—in which the hosts prevail against the humans in yet another bloody massacre at the Mesa—especially its focus on Hopkins’ misanthropic Ford:
The episode brings into further focus Ford’s pseudo-nihilistic supervillain thesis: that humanity, as a product of nothing more than evolution, is inherently valueless. We are crude hunks of self-animating meat—obstacles standing in the way of the hosts’ path to true self-actualization. It’s time for us to die and for the hosts to inherit the Earth, because in Ford’s mind, only a true “original work” has worth. The hosts, as created beings, are such a work.
In the S2 finale, Dolores leads her fellow hosts to the Forge, a kind of central database, and several Hosts upload their minds into a digital world known as “the Sublime.” Dolores then transfers their minds to a safer location. Ultimately, three of the Hosts are shown entering the real world in the central timeline: Dolores, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), and a rebuilt host version of former Delos executive Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson).
HBO debuted a short teaser for S3 during last year’s Game of Thrones series finale, featuring a weary voiceover by series newcomer Aaron Paul’s character, Caleb, a construction worker who seems to be supplementing his income with the occasional robbery. We got the briefest glimpses of Charlotte Hale lounging by the pool and Caleb finding Dolores in the final scene. We do know that S3 will consist of eight episodes instead of 10 and take place immediately after the events of the S2 finale.
A second trailer debuted at last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con showing host Maeve (Thandie Newton) inside a World War II theme park set in Fascist Italy. And earlier this year, HBO invited several CES attendees to an interactive Westworld experience sponsored by a fictional company called Incite, in which the dinner guests were forced to confront just how much of our personal information we voluntarily give up online. The experience prompted Mashable’s Jess Joho to speculate that S3 might explore “how we give away pieces of our humanity to evil tech corporations willingly rather than through any sort of coerced manipulation.”
The new trailer opens with a Dolores voiceover, telling Caleb that the two of them are very alike. “They put you in a cage. Decided what your life would be,” she says. “They did the same thing to me.” She convinces Caleb to help her go after the person who, apparently, stole his future. Meanwhile, Maeve awakens in luxurious digs and meets a man (played by Vincent Cassel) who wants her to track down Dolores and kill her.
S3 looks like it will set five members of Team Hosts against the rest of humanity. Dolores insists, “It’ll be enough,” and if all else fails, she’s quite willing to simply kill them all. There are gorgeous views of a futuristic neo-Los Angeles, glimpses of Dolores pulling “skin” over her underlying skeleton (reminiscent of Ex Machina), car chases, explosions, and one shot of Dolores missing an arm but continuing to fight anyway, like the badass she’s become. The final shot is a rooftop showdown between Maeve and Dolores, in fine Kill Bill style.
Westworld S3 debuts on HBO March 15, 2020.
Listing image by YouTube/HBO