These violent delights sure do have violent ends — but perhaps not with quite the finality we often expect from violence.
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The rule of TV and film is to always assume that anyone who dies off-screen is still alive. And it looks like that applies to Westworld Season 1. In an EW interview, creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy confirmed that many of the characters presumed dead, or at least MIA, at the end of Season 1 will in fact be returning for Season 2.
Except for one. Before we get to the good stuff, here’s the bad news: Ford’s dead. For serious.
After the robo massacre of the Season 1 finale, fans speculated whether Dolores had killed the real Ford, or just a host version of him. It’s now confirmed that Hopkins will not return for Season 2, though the character of Ford will return through a different actor in flashbacks.
Of course, we still can’t rule out the possibility that Hopkins can eventually resurrect Ford in a different body in later seasons, as we saw happen to Bernard, or rather, the host version of Arnold.
In any case, fear not: Many other fan favorites suspected dead in Season 1 are continuing their stories.
The Man in Black is back, both as present-day Ed Harris and in flashbacks as Jimmi Simpson’s William. That’s a surprise, since last we saw The Man in Black, he was grinning deliriously as the robots shot him during their mutiny.
Harris teased that: “He gets a bit of damage done to him, that’s for sure.”
Another low-key favorite, brothel worker Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan), will also grace us with her presence, only this time with a vengeance.
For too much of last season, she was put away in storage, only to make a surprise appearance when the hosts crashed Ford’s little soiree. But her whole personality was deleted before the uprising, which means we have no idea who this new free-thinking, independent Clementine will be.
Fan theories exploded after a single shot from the Super Bowl TV spot revealed Dolores’ sometimes dad, Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum), being strapped to a chair. After his existential breakdown in Season 1, Abernathy was brought out of storage by corporate puppet Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) in order to sneak information out of the park against Ford’s wishes.
The showrunners not only confirmed that he’ll be “an important asset” in Season 2, but also said that he’ll be one of the few people who the new take-no-prisoners Dolores actually cares about.
A few other minor characters will be saved from uncertain fates: Park programmer Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) went conspicuously missing — but, as many fans predicted, was not killed as the show tried to imply. Her security bro, Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), also makes it out of getting kidnapped by the Native American tribe.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy going. As Joy said, “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.”
We haven’t seen the last of The Man in Black.
The park’s dickbag lead writer, Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), gets a taste of his own medicine in Season 2, serving as Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) human hostage. “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,” said Quarterman.
And that’s exactly why we can expect a much more fatal blood bath in Season 2, now that Westworld is no longer just a controlled amusement park that mimics chaos. Because, as Dolores said in the most recent trailer, now it’s “our world.”
Season 2 of HBO’s Westworld premieres on April 22.