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Westworld Season 4 Details Revealed, Including Evan Rachel Wood’s New Character and James Marsden’s Return

Creator Lisa Joy and the cast dropped a few big secrets at this year's ATXfest

Westworld Season 4 Evan Rachel Wood
Westworld (WarnerMedia)
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    The closing night HBO/HBO Max-hosted Westworld panel at the ATX TV Festival provided a glimpse into what’s coming in Season 4, set seven years after the chaotic conclusion of Season 3. The new season includes the return of Evan Rachel Wood as a new character, and James Marsden — who played Dolores’ love interest Teddy Flood in Seasons 1 and 2 — will also be back in a new incarnation.

    The panel featured Lisa Joy (Co-Creator, Writer, Director, Executive Producer), Alison Schapker (Writer & Executive Producer), actors Wood, Jeffrey Wright (Bernard/Arnold), Luke Hemsworth (Stubbs), Angela Sarafya (unforgettable and perhaps unkillable Clementine), and Aurora Perrineau (a Season 4 addition as an as-yet-unnamed pivotal character).

    When asked about the future of the series, Joy replied, “We have this idea of where we want the mythology to go, but along the way, as you get to know these incredible talents — as you get to know what they’re capable of, as you get to know them as people — you see different nuances of their personalities that you just want to exploit along the way. So much of the fun is getting to work with these characters that [though] it starts on the page, and you’ve seen it brought to life by these actors, they inspire you. It’s a kind of iterative process, and you write to the magic that they bring.”

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    The character of Dolores met a prominent end in Season 3, requiring the creation of a completely new character for Wood in Season 4 — “a normal woman living in a big city, trying to make it as a writer,” according to Joy.

    Wood added, “There’s a girl named Christina — she’s wonderful and just trying to make it in the big city. And that big city looks somewhat like New York. You’re a writer, you have a job, then there are those dates you go on… it’s slim pickings out there, not going great. There’s a lot of duds, [and] some good ones.”

    Added Joy, “Christina looks a lot like Rachel Wood but maybe more nerdy. Less plundering and murdering, more dating. Everyone else went out in the dirt/heat [for Season 4] and she’s at her desk.”

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    Season 3 also saw the emergence of a “buddy team” with the characters Bernard and Stubbs, and after being asked what space that his character Bernard is in going into Season 4, Wright replied, “It’s all a rabbit hole inside of a rabbit hole. Bernard is going Alice again. For the audience, it was a mystery as to where he went, what he would find, and if he did emerge, where he would be when he did. (It’s a) lot of dust and a lot of mystery.”

    ATX TV Festival 2022

    Westworld panel at ATX TV Festival 2022, photo by Christine St. Laurent courtesy of ATX

    As Joy said, “From the start of the series, it’s been a curious relationship between Stubbs and Bernard. Ultimately there is something really genuine and not easy, but there’s something that approaches the heart of what the host’s aspiration is — something really good there at the core.”

    James Marsden was staged as a surprise addition to the panel, and when asked if he knew he was going to be back in the series, Marsden replied that, “Sometimes you have to go away to come back. It’s an amazing thing to be a cog in this beautiful storytelling wheel. You never really know where it’s going to go.”

    Shooting locations went bi-coastal for Season 4, after Season 3’s focus on Los Angeles: New York City, Cabo, Big Bear, and even the Hoover Dam will feature prominently. Joy noted, “We were very surprised they let us [shoot there]. You want to look for the places that endure, [and they loved] the idea that the water power of the Hoover Dam might be used by certain figures in Westworld for data storage.”

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    HBO has brought several IRL Westworld experiences over the years to Austin, including a full-out theme park recreation during SXSW 2018. For the ATX TV Festival they carried the Westworld theme onto the streets of Austin in a popup installation, with coffee served by Delos-style hosts. (And the hosts themselves experienced “glitches,” while a white drone host quietly stalked the sidewalks around curious onlookers.)

    Some of the series favorite characters weren’t present in the panel – what is their status? Commenting on this, Schapker noted that “Caleb [played by Aaron Paul] having been through hell and back for seven years has changed — he’s haunted. Maeve, who we love, [is] somebody else that will kick a lot of ass this season. We pick up a few years later and if Maeve has to pick a side, what will she do? She’s on a warrior’s journey.”

    Added Joy, “We last saw Maeve and Caleb ready to kick some ass, [with] the whole city exploding as they dismantled Rehoboam. And then when we find them, it’s seven years later. Each of them have gone on with their lives — their own way — and the world has been freed by sweet dead Dolores. And the question is: Are the hosts still around somewhere? Can they find a new place in this world? Can hosts and humans interact peacefully?”

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    We’ll learn those answers when Westworld Season 4 premieres June 26th on HBO and HBO Max. Check out the latest trailer for the series below.

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