dead alive, or host?

Where We Left 7 Major Westworld Characters Heading Into Season 4

Photo: HBO

HBO’s Westworld has come so far since its relatively simple first season that it can be almost impossible to follow its increasingly convoluted plot threads, especially with a two-year hiatus since the last season. Long gone are simple questions like if William is a host or a human, and it’s difficult to even place characters in a specific time and place anymore. The end of the third season raised more questions than it answered, seemingly destroying the very setup of the year’s arc and separating most of its characters across its universe in a way that made the show’s future unpredictable.

And that’s exactly how creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan want it. They’ve basically given themselves a wide-open sandbox, which makes it unclear not only what is important to remember from season three but who’s even coming back to play. The trailers have given away the return of one beloved familiar face, and it’s safe to say that certain major players will pop up. Here are seven characters who could play a role in season four of Westworld, and where we left them.

Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood)

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The face of Westworld spent most of the third season on a mission to destroy an advanced AI system known as Rehoboam, controlled by the almost Bond villain–esque Serac (Vincent Cassel). The system was basically a human version of the controlled host narratives of Westworld, with a computer that could decipher and predict the entire species after collecting millions of pieces of data. What would Dolores do with all of that information? Well, much like she did with her kind in the park in season two, she released it. The season ended with a massive showdown between Serac and Dolores that culminated with Serac getting a hold of Dolores and plugging her into his system to find the virtual key to Delos’ Forge, which is where Westworld’s valuable user data was stored. The move basically destroyed Dolores from within, wiping her memories. Serac essentially killed Dolores, leaving her role in season four the biggest question mark (she’s all over the previews so don’t worry about an absence). Will she even remember her time in Westworld? (Note: If you turn on the subtitles on the trailer for season four, Wood’s character name is Christina.) Is someone else controlling her now? Will we ever see the Dolores of the first three seasons again? Of course, there’s kind of another Dolores out there already in …

Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson)

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The real Charlotte Hale of season one was a Delos employee who was initially trying to sneak data out of the park, but was killed at the end of season two by a host replica of herself created and controlled by Dolores. The Charlotte of season three, and presumably season four, is sometimes referred to as Chalores because the control unit within this host replica is a copy of Ms. Abernathy. However, Chalores has become her own character, a vicious predator in the boardroom and outside it. In the third season, she was initially controlled by Dolores into manipulating Delos, where she still worked, pretending to be the original human Charlotte. She was sent by Dolores to find William, but the entire plan blew up (literally) during a board meeting with Serac where Charlotte’s host status was revealed. Later, when human Charlotte’s family was killed, the host Charlotte decided that Dolores had been manipulating her and broke from her own programming. The key thing to remember about Charlotte is the last time she was seen in a post-credits scene, she was building hosts again in a Delos building in Dubai. What’s her plan now with a host army? And what does she still need from …

William (Ed Harris)

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In season three, William a.k.a the Man in Black was a shell of his former self, the powerful antagonist who dominated the park for years. He opened season three in a dark place, still haunted by the loss of his daughter and what he used to be. When he discovered that the Charlotte that was working at Delos was a host, she basically kidnapped him, sending him off to be reconditioned at an institution. His time there made him into a strident enemy of Delos, the hosts, and everything that had ruined his life. When he was released by Bernard and Ashley, he turned on them, claiming that he wanted to destroy everything he helped build. The post-credits scene led him to Dubai, where he finally found Chalores, seemingly thinking that he had the upper hand … until a host version of William emerged from the darkness and appeared to kill him. Does this mean that the William of season four is a host? Working for Charlotte? William might have the power to get places that Charlotte can’t, and if the human version of him had a low moral center, imagine what the host version could be like. The Man in Black could be even darker in season four.

Maeve Millay (Thandiwe Newton)

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Will Westworld end as a battle between Charlotte and Maeve? One of the show’s most beloved characters started the third season in a state of confusion, thrust into a place called Warworld, a WWII version of the parks with her love Hector (Rodrigo Santoro). Or did she? Maeve discovered that she was not in a park but a simulation being run by Serac. He needed her to find Dolores to find the key to the Forge, and he basically turned her into his soldier, setting up a battle between Maeve and Dolores. The second half of the season saw Maeve hunting the host queen (and even versions of Dolores in other hosts), with the assistance of Hector and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman). There’s three things to remember about the end of Maeve’s arc. One, Charlotte destroyed Hector’s control unit in the final showdown, an act of violence that will likely lead to a vengeful Maeve. Two, she seemed to make peace with Dolores Prime at the end of the season, finding other common enemies. Finally, she ended the season heading off into a brave new world with a new partner …

Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul)

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In many ways, what Dolores was to season one, Caleb was to season three. Whereas she was the host discovering that she was a pawn in a narrative outside of her control, Caleb learned that even human beings can be predictably controlled when he discovered that he was but a piece on a chessboard himself. A veteran turned freelance muscle, Caleb encountered an injured Dolores at the beginning of the season and became her closest ally. He learned that he was an “outlier,” a human who can’t be so easily predicted by Serac’s systems and who threatens the very fabric of existence because of that condition. Caleb’s memories, including the death of his friend Francis (Kid Cudi), had been manipulated by Rehoboam, and he ended the season as angry as Dolores did when she learned her truth. He basically destroyed Rehoboam, leading to an explosive revolution in the streets, and he fled off into the night with Maeve by his side. Caleb is the wild card of season four. Who will he align with next? Where will his story go now that he’s writing it?

Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright)

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A host version of Delos founder Arnold Weber, Bernard has always been one of the most fascinating characters on Westworld, and where he ended season three holds the most promise for what could be a crazy season four. Like a lot of characters last season, he spent most of it on the run. He made his way to Westworld, trying to find Maeve to stop Dolores, but he stumbled instead on Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), presumed dead but only injured. The two become the dynamic duo of the final arc of season three, releasing William from his institution before the Man in Black turned on them and shot Ashley. He’s last seen bleeding in a hotel bathtub but appears very alive (or possibly a host) in the season-four preview. Bernard discovered that the key to the Forge that Serac sought in Dolores was actually hidden in his code all along. In his final scene, he accessed it so he could view something called the Sublime, a sort of great beyond for the hosts and possibly even humankind. He woke up covered in dust, implying that his trip to the Sublime took years in the real world. What did he discover there? And what will he do now with this knowledge?

Teddy Flood (James Marsden)

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Did Bernard see Teddy in the Sublime? Fans were excited to learn that James Marsden was returning to Westworld after no sight of the charming cowboy in season three. What role could he possibly play in the future of Westworld? The creators are being quiet about it. The last time we saw Teddy, he was headed off into the Sublime, seemingly finding a happiness that hosts like Dolores and Maeve would be denied in the real world. Does this mean Teddy himself returns from the Great Beyond? Or, more likely, is there a new host version of Teddy Flood? The fated connection between Dolores and Teddy anchored the first couple seasons of the show, so expect Marsden to be paired with Wood again, bringing back a romanticism and chemistry that was arguably lacking last season.

Other Faces to Remember

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In a world where any human can be turned into a host, there’s really no such thing as death. So Westworld’s narrative director, Lee Sizemore, could return in another accomplice role. The Hector that Maeve loved is dead, but no one would be surprised to see him in a new form in season four. Spotted in the previews, Maeve’s regular enforcer and BFF Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) will return, but it’s unclear who will control her now. It seemed like Serac was killed at the end of season three, but his actions last year will ripple through the end of the show, and he could even return in some form. Finally, will we ever see Sir Anthony Hopkins as Robert Ford again? Fans are constantly theorizing over if he could make a return at some point before the show ends. Anything is possible on Westworld.

Where We Left 7 Major Westworld Characters Before Season 4