More characters survived the Westworld season 1 finale’s mayhem than you might think. The upcoming second season of HBO’s acclaimed sci-fi hit dives headlong into Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) leading a robo-revolution to seize control of the futuristic theme park. But last season’s finale mayhem, the lack of certain characters in season 2’s trailers — and the silent hush around the show’s new narrative in general — has led to some uncertainty among some fans about who exactly is coming back this year, and who is not.
We spoke to showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy and managed to get a few tidbits on what we can expect for some of the characters whose fates were left uncertain:
The Man in Black (Ed Harris) and William (Jimmi Simpson): The theme park’s VIP guest is very much alive and has a new mission in season 2 (“He gets a bit of damage done to him, that’s for sure,” Harris teases). We’ll also see his younger incarnation, William, as we explore the early days of the park and discover how he gained so much influence over Delos Incorporated.
Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) and Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth): Smart-ass programmer Hughes vanished near the end of season 1, while wary security chief Stubbs was captured by a tribe of Native American hosts when he went looking for her. Both are alive, but not exactly doing so hot. “They’re finally getting to experience Westworld as guests and not in the managerial halls, but I’m not sure they’re enjoying their experience,” Joy says dryly.
Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson): Delos’ icy corporate villainous also survived the board meeting from hell. “She is back and causes trouble,” Joy says. “She went from this controlled person playing this chess game with Ford. He takes out her king and queen in one fell swoop. Now she’s left at the mercy of the hosts like everyone else.”
Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman): The park’s arrogant head writer becomes Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) hostage at the start of the new season. “He’s found himself in the most uncomfortable position he can possibly be in,” Quarterman says. “These hosts have always been props to his stories, and now it’s like he’s become a player in one of his own stories.”
Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum): Dolores’ creepy, Shakespeare-quoting father was last seen being brought out of cold storage as part of Charlotte Hale’s scheme to smuggle data out of the park. He was supposed to be put on a train to leave. Did he make it out? We’re told he will be in the season and has become “an important asset,” one of only two characters that Dolores has any attachment to (the other, of course, is Teddy).
Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan): Brothel worker Clementine was effectively lobotomized and put into storage, but then she unexpectedly popped up again during the finale mayhem to take a shot at The Man in Black (she’s barely recognizable in the scene). We don’t have much intel on this one, but the showrunners have previously noted that last season’s operation resulted in the previous version of her character being changed forever.
Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins): Ford was really and truly killed by Dolores in the season 1 finale. He’s not expected to return as played by Hopkins. We will, however, see a younger version of Dr. Ford in flashbacks played by another actor at some point.