If you thought Game of Thrones was the only prestige fantasy TV show we’ve been clamoring for over the last year, think again. We’re still eagerly awaiting the return of Westworld, which has been greenlit for Season 3.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Westworld took us into the near future, where a Wild West theme park called Westworld was built with Turing test-passing robots that look like actual humans. Guests went there to do whatever it was that their hearts desired, be it participate in a dual, go on a raid with rogue Confederate soldiers, or spend the night gambling their cares away at the local tavern. But over the course of two seasons, Westworld became a show dedicated to exploring the nature of consciousness, what it means to be a sentient human, and how humans evolve. In this way, the hedonistic set-up the show was built on gave way to a story that tracked the battle between the humans who run the park and the robotic hosts who want to escape.
With Season 2 ending on a dramatic cliffhanger, let’s look at what Westworld Season 3 has lined up for us when the release date arrives, from plot speculation to the latest casting updates.
Spoilers for Westworld Season 2 (and possibly Season 3) below
When Will Westworld Season 3 Be Released?
In April 2019, Collider reported that Westworld Season 3 will be released in 2020. This isn’t too much of a surprise since there was a 2-year gap between Seasons 1 and 2, which premiered in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
It’s tough to say whether HBO will schedule Season 3 for a spring or fall premiere. In the past, Season 1 premiered in October 2016, and Season 2 premiered in April 2018. It’s worth keeping an eye on both of those slots for 2020 — but maybe we should lean toward fall 2020, which would allow Westworld the chance to become a strong contender for the 2021 awards season.
Is There a Trailer for Westworld Season 3 Yet?
No trailer has been released for Season 3 yet, but that’s because production on the season has yet to begin. Depending on the exact month and day HBO plans to set the season premiere, we can expect the first teasers and trailers to arrive at least 6 months ahead of schedule.
HBO chose to go this route for its 2019 Super Bowl ad, which featured teaser footage from hugely popular returning series like Game of Thrones, Veep, and Big Little Lies, as well as highly anticipated new series, including Watchmen, Chernobyl, and His Dark Materials, which will all debut later in 2019. It’s likely that HBO could do this again with Westworld early in 2020 (it helps there’s more precedent for this since HBO included Season 2 footage in a 2018 Super Bowl spot, too) before releasing a full-length trailer in the spring or summer.
Who Will Be Returning for Westworld Season 3?
There’s been no confirmations made on who is returning for the third season, but we can make some educated guesses based on how Season 2 ended.
If all goes the way we think it will, then Tessa Thompson and Jeffrey Wright will return as Charlotte Hale and Bernard, respectively. We know Bernard escapes Westworld and joins Charlotte back at Westworld park creator Arnold’s home, so he’ll have to come back so we can learn how he’s getting on. Season 2 also ended with a host version of Charlotte escaping Westworld after Dolores uploaded her consciousness into the alternate Charlotte’s body. Given this, Evan Rachel Wood will likely also return as Dolores and could be incorporated into some trippy interior host monologues that take place within Charlotte’s head — or she could appear in flashbacks.
Despite making a sacrifice to get her daughter — along with other hosts —to safety, ultimately dying in the process, it’s possible Maeve will return with Thandie Newton playing her once again. It’s also possible Maeve will be resurrected as a new host with a different backstory. Newton’s performance over the course of two seasons has been so memorable and integral to the show that it would be unimaginable for her to not also be lined up for Season 3.
It’s also a strong possibility that Ed Harris and Katja Herbers could come back for Season 3 as William aka the Man in Black and his daughter since we saw them both appear in Season 2’s post-credits scene. The pair’s fraught relationship was unpacked in Season 2, with William shooting his daughter, believing she was a host, as he sunk deeper into madness trying to escape Westworld. That post-credits scene shows that possible host versions of these characters survive far into the future, which means these two will likely come back in Season 3.
Are Any New Actors Joining the Westworld Cast for Season 3?
We know that Ready Player One and Master of None star Lena Waithe has been cast in Season 3, as has Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul. Details around their characters are being kept under wraps, meaning they could pop up in the show as hosts, humans, or something completely different. It’s known that Paul will be a series regular, meaning he’ll appear in a majority of the episodes and will likely figure prominently into the season’s story. It’s unknown whether Waithe will also be a series regular or appear for just a few episodes in a supporting role.
What Is the Plot for Westworld Season 3?
Details around the expected story arc for Westworld Season 3 are being kept under wraps, but we know that the story will be expanding greatly in the next 10 episodes, thanks to previous spoilers about Season 3 from series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and based on where we left off at the end of Season 2.
A June 2018 interview Joy did with The Hollywood Reporter contains hints about what’s next for Dolores and Charlotte, who both escaped Westworld. At the end of Season 2, Dolores uploaded her consciousness into a host version of Charlotte. This allowed the host version of Charlotte/Dolores to escape Westworld as the park was being evacuated, and we saw her set up shop in Westworld park creator Arnold’s old home with the intention that she would begin creating new hosts.
Per Joy’s comments to THR, there will be at least three main hosts. She teased, “We technically have three [hosts] because Hale is out there, too, or someone who certainly looks like Tessa Thompson!”
Similarly, we know that Season 3 will have to plant lots of narrative seed to bridge the gap between its current day, which involved Charlotte escaping Westworld, and its future setting, which was glimpsed in a Season 2 post-credits scene showing the Man in Black eventually being turned into a host. As the series creator later revealed, that scene takes place in a post-apocalypse scenario. Should we be preparing for a Skynet-level host takeover?
Joy touched on that in her chat with THR, too:
The world is dramatically different. Quite destroyed, as it were. A figure in the image of his daughter — his daughter is of course now long dead — has come back to talk to him. He realizes that he’s been living this loop again and again and again. The primal loop that we’ve seen this season, they’ve been repeating, testing every time for what they call “fidelity,” or perhaps a deviation. You get the sense that the testing will continue. It’s teasing for us another temporal realm that one day we’re working toward, and one day will see a little bit more of, and how they get to that place, and what they’re testing for.
Chances are also good that we’ll finally (finally!) get a glimpse at the other Delos parks, like Medieval World and Roman World, which we know exist based on the fact that we went into Samurai World and, briefly, the colonial India-themed park in Season 2.
How Many Episodes Will Season Westworld 3 Have?
As with Seasons 1 and 2, Westworld Season 3’s episode count will almost definitely be 10 episodes. You can also expect each episode to hit the 1-hour mark, undoubtedly making for another dense, twisty season.
Where Can I Watch Westworld When It Returns?
Since Westworld will remain at HBO for Season 3, you will be able to tune in every week as a cable subscriber. If you’ve already cut the cord and ditched TV once and for all, you’ll still be able to watch in real time with HBO Now or catch up on each new episode the day after it airs with HBO Go.