Dropping a three-minute trailer at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday, HBO’s Westworld amped up the mystery surrounding its third season with a cavalcade of compellingly decontextualized imagery. There’s Thandie Newton’s Maeve kicking Nazi-android ass in what appears to be German-occupied World War II Europe. There’s Aaron Paul being dangled from the edge of a tall building. Tessa Thompson shows up to tenderly caress a massive red riot-control robot. Et voilà! French actor Vincent Cassel looking dapper, marching through a gleaming white futurescape trailed by a bunch of turtleneck-wearing thugs. For good measure, Ed Harris’s Man in Black and Geoffrey Wright’s Bernard also make fleeting appearances (albeit both looking rather anguished).
The third season embarks in the wake of the last android-host rebellion/jailbreak from the Wild West park and into the outside world. In neo-Los Angeles, we meet new cast member Aaron Paul’s Caleb, a construction worker who pals around with a lo-fi, bleep-bloop robot named George. A blue-collar dude with a complicated past, he soon finds himself in dramatic confrontation with the misanthropic runaway, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood).
For most of the panel, a palpable paranoia prevented showrunners and cast members alike from betraying all but a trickle of new info about the AI gone wild in season three. “I don’t know how to talk about this show because I don’t know what I’m allowed to say!” Thompson admitted.
But Wood acknowledged her vengeful, human-hating character experiences some personal growth courtesy of her connection to Caleb. “Her interactions with Aaron kind of make her challenge her assumptions about humanity.”
Creator Jonathan Nolan — the guy who in all likelihood enforces the iron dome of secrecy surrounding the cable series, a trait he shares with his brother, Christopher — provided the clearest indication of where the new season is headed. “When we started, Westworld was a dystopia,” he said. “And now, three seasons in, it’s kind of a best-case scenario. The form of AI we have on the show is thoughtful. Murderous, but thoughtful. I think we’re headed into the world of artificial stupidity.”