'Westworld' Season 2 Is Coming, So We're Answering All Your Burning Questions


HBO’s Westworld instantly captured the imagination of millions during its first season and became one of our favorite TV shows, but it raised all sorts of burning questions we now have for what's next. And just you know, about the show in general if we're being honest here. We just need some basic facts.

Well for starters, the innovative sci-fi series is about an adult amusement park where fantasies come true. Think of it as Jurassic World, only you can sleep with residents of the park without getting ripped apart (unless that's your preference), and you can pretty much shoot anyone you want. Sounds like fun, but, as we all know, these things tend to go horribly wrong.

In the first season, we saw what was basically a discussion of the relationship between people and machines, with the machines seemingly attaining some level of independent thought. Or do they? Yet another maddening question about the show, as is whether or not we’re on the verge of a machine uprising as these things usually go, either like Skynet in the Terminator films or on television in Battlestar Galactica with the Cylons.

"Will we be destroyed by our creations?" co-creator and executive producer Jonathan Nolan asks FHM. "We’ve seen a lot of stories that have dealt with that question and, frankly, that’s how the question of AI [Artificial Intelligence] has primarily been dealt with over the ninety years that people have been making movies. Robots are usually destroyers; they don’t take very kindly to us. Here there’s a little bit of that, but we really wanted to consider the gray area in between in how that story would play out.... The idea is that they are literally programmed, so they can be reprogrammed. They can take ownership of that reprogramming themselves. Their nature is part of their destiny; their ability to change is a given. That’s what software does. We wanted the series to be about the origin of a new form of life, and all the complexity of a rivalry between that new form of life and the life that created them."

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros)

Science fiction is often used as a prism through which we view ourselves, which makes one wonder what exactly Westworld is saying about us and our current society.

"Nothing good," Nolan sighs, to which co-executive producer Lisa Joy elaborates, "Jonah has a more pessimistic outlook of this than I do. I think, certainly, it explores a spectrum of human behavior in a park designed to indulge the Id; in a park designed to indulge with impunity every impulse, no matter how taboo its visitors want to indulge in. So of course there’s a part of this that is a critique of human nature, because a lot of the guests indulge in some pretty dark behavior. But at the same time, I think there’s glimmer of hope and kindness."

Nolan doesn’t feel the show is an indictment of human beings, but, even going back to the pilot, it's instead the idea that humans are "stuck."

"We wanted the series to be about the origin of a new form of life, and all the complexity of a rivalry between that new form of life and the life that created them," he offers. "That said, it’s a very tricky relationship and a story that hasn’t been played out in the world as we know it. The history of human beings at this point has been one of eliminating other species from this planet, not creating them."

How all of that plays out remains to be seen, but we're answering a number of burning questions about Westworld Season 2. You're welcome.

When does Westworld Season 2 begin?

The series will (finally) be returning to HBO on April 22, over 16 months since season one came to an end in December 2016. We're all for creating quality television, but c'mon, guys!

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros)

Is there Westworld Season 2 trailer to hold us over?

We simply can't imagine that if you're a fan of Westworld that you didn't see the trailer for the new season (which aired during this year's Super Bowl), but just in case you didn't, here it is again:

In either case, it presents an intriguing look at what's to come, plus a glimpse at some of the new actors joining the show.

Which 'Westworld' characters are coming back?

Returnees from the first season include Clifton Collins, Jr. (Lawrence), Ed Harris (Man In Black), Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), Ingrid Bolse Berdal (Armistice), James Marsden (Teddy Flood), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard), Jimmy Simpson (William), Jonathan Tucker (Major Craddock), Katja Herbers (Grace), Louis Herthum (Old Peter Abernathy), Luke Hemsworth (Ashley), Neil Jackson (Nicholas), Rodrigo Santoro (Hector Escaton), Simon Quarterman (Lee Sizemore), Talulah Riley (Angela), Tessa Thompson (Charlotte Hale), and Thandie Newton (Maeve Millay). So, a lot of them.

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros)

Where can I watch Westworld?

First run episodes can be watched on HBO, however Season 1 can be streamed on the cable network's streaming app, HBO Go. Additionally, Amazon has been offering access to HBO. But for those who are wondering, it is not available on Netflix.

Where was Westworld filmed?

The first season of the show was all shot in various locations throughout California, like Santa Clarita; Melody Ranch in Newhall; the Paramount Ranch and Universal Studios' Mexican Street Backlot in Los Angeles. Other filming locations included Castle Valley and Fisher Valley, both in Utah.

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros)

Will Westworld visit other worlds?

According to executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the focus of the show in the second season will remain on the western world, however we may get glimpses of others. In fact, we did get a quick look at "Samurai World" during Season One. Says Nolan, "The center of our story remains the title of our story, Westworld. It’s really where our story lives, but starting with the idea of the Hosts having a very limited knowledge of their world, we wanted, every season, to gently expand their understanding of the world to encompass not just Westworld, but their immediate surroundings and the world beyond that. So we’ll see a little more in the second season, but Westworld remains the heart of our story."

Who are the new characters in Westworld Season 2?

There are actually a ton of new faces joining the series that you'll get to know once the episodes start airing and we're breaking them all down.

Betty Gabriel as Maling

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Known for her role in the film Good Girls Revolt, the actress will play the recurring Maling, who is described as trying to restore order at the Westworld facility.

Fares Fares as Antoine Costa

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

He was the star of the FX series Tyrant before but on Westworld, his character is a tech expert, but someone who also has an "objective perspective." Does that mean he's a lamb being led to the slaughter or someone who's sympathetic to the Hosts' cause?

Gustaf Skarsgard as Karl Strand

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Gustaf's (seen in the photo above with his brothers, Bill and Alexander) character is apparently a while-collar worker who doesn't have any problems working within the confines of Westworld. We'll see how long that lasts.

Hiroyuki Sanada As Musashi

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

There has been no information regarding the nature of this recurring role just yet. The actor's previous film roles include The Catcher Was a Spy, Mr. Holmes, The Railway Man, and The Wolverine.

Peter Mullan as James Delos

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the promotional page for the show Delos Incorporated, there's a description of this character: "Decades ago, a man had an idea as old as human ambition itself, that the only limit to progress is imagination. The ability to see a better world. Delos Inc. was formed from that goal and nothing else, because James had nothing else. He used to joke that where he grew up, having dreams was like fighting gravity. But he never lost faith that his dream could take off, and now Delos is more than a name. It’s a legacy..."

Sound, intense?

Zahn McClarnon

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

He's playing a recurring character, though no information has been released about him or the character's name either. The actor has appeared in numerous films, and 29 episodes of Longmire.

Who created Westworld?

(Photo Credit)

The man who originated the concept for the 1973 film, which he wrote and made his directorial debut on, is Michael Crichton. It's a name you may find familiar as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of TV's long-running ER. On the late writer's official website, he's quoted as saying about the concept, "It [Westworld] didn’t work as a novel, and I think the reason for that is the rather special structure of this particular story. It’s about an amusement park built to represent three different sorts of worlds: a Western world, a Medieval world and a Roman world. The actual detailing of these three worlds — and also the kinds of fantasies that people experienced in them — were movie fantasies, and because they were movie fantasies, they got to be very strange-looking on the written page. They weren’t things that had literal antecedents, literary antecedents. They were things that had antecedents in John Ford and John Wayne and Errol Flynn — that sort of thing. In some ways, it’s a lot cleaner as a movie, because it’s a movie about people acting out movie fantasies. As a result, the film is intentionally structured around old movie cliche situations — the shoot-out in the saloon, the sword fight in the castle banquet hall — and we very much tried to play on an audience’s vague memory of having seen it before, and, in a way, wondering what it would be like to be an actor in an old movie."

Is Westworld based on something else?

There have been plenty of versions over the years before HBO gave us the show everyone knows and loves. Here's a breakdown of all the Westworld movies and yes, another series, that came first.

Westworld: The Movie (1973)

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros)

There's no question that the HBO version is much deeper than the film that preceded it, but there are certainly similarities that make this movie worth checking out. Yul Brenner (The King And I) is the Gunslinger (the equivalent of Ed Harris' Man In Black in the HBO show), the first robot that seems to gain some form of sentience and strikes back at the guests of the park.

Futureworld (1976)

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros)

Taking place two years from the events of the first film, the Delos company is attempting to move forward by opening its new park, Futureworld. But a pair of reporters (played by Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner) uncover what's really going on involving robots and human cloning.

Beyond Westworld (1980)

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Delos Corporation Security Chief John Moore (Jim McMullan) is on a quest to stop Simon Quaid (James Wainwright) from using Delos robots to take over the world. The show lasted only five episodes. This was the last creative effort set in the world of Westworld prior to the debut of the HBO series.

As to whether or not the show will pull anything major from the movies and series that came before it remains to be seen, so we'll just be here coming up with our own theories until it returns to our TV screens.

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