If there's one thing that Westworld is particularly good at doing, it's leaving you with more questions than answers. HBO's sci-fi/western-turned-dystopian series has kept viewers in suspense for three seasons running at this point. That's not gonna end anytime soon. Back in April, HBO revealed that the high-budget show is returning for a fourth season — though there weren't too many details provided in this renewal announcement.
Considering how Westworld wrapped up its latest season finale, a lot of fans were understandably left with questions about the status of Season 4, especially given the many growing concerns related to COVID-19. Let's take a look at some of the things we do and don't know about Westworld Season 4.
Westworld Season 3 spoilers ahead!
When Should We Expect To See Westworld Season 4 Premiere On HBO?
We know that Westworld is set to return. But one big question remains: when will we see it? Given the heavy special effects, tremendous scope, and the high-concept premise at the heart of the show, it does take longer than the average series to produce an entire season.
Westworld Season 2 arrived in 2018, two years after its first season. Likewise, the third season came out this year, two years after the previous season. If we follow that logic, one would presume that Season 4 would be released in 2022 at the earliest. Perhaps in the spring season. However, with the dangers being faced with the novel coronavirus pandemic, there's a chance that Season 4 might not make it out that soon. We could be looking at a later start date than normal for the show's newest season.
When Can Westworld Season 4 Expect To Begin Production?
Like many current productions, it's hard to know when Westworld Season 4 will actually roll in front of cameras. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many productions left on pause until it's healthy for the cast and crew to return to set again. Since Westworld is presumably in the writing process for the newest season, there's a chance that their production process might not be too seriously affected if productions are able to begin again by next year. But that's certainly a big gamble at this point, especially when we're talking about a novel widespread virus.
Though, since Westworld Season 3 was shot in Spain and several other European locations, there may be other challenges to over come for Season 4, should the hope be to film overseas, when factoring in potential travel restrictions in the current climate.
We Still Don't Know How Evan Rachel Wood Will Return (If She Will Return)
In Season 3's finale, Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores decided she wanted to give the humans their free will by allowing Thandie Newton's Maeve and Aaron Paul's Caleb to completely erase all the data within Rehoboam. In doing so, Dolores sacrificed her own existence, leaving only Dolores' body as all of her memory and data were stripped away from its circuits. By doing this, we're left with one of our biggest questions moving forward: will Evan Rachel Wood return for another season(s)?
The actress said that she wants to return to the show, hoping this isn't the end of the road for her involvement. But executive producer Jonathan Nolan claims Dolores is rather definitively "gone," which casts some doubt. Will Evan Rachel Wood return as a new character in Season 4? Will she return at all?
Will Aaron Paul Return?
At the start of Season 3, Westworld reworked its structure significantly by not including a few actors seen throughout the past two seasons but instead included Aaron Paul in a prominent role. As Caleb Nichols, we were introduced to a blue-collared construction worker who took on extra criminal jobs. Or so we thought. When he was introduced, it wasn't totally clear if he was actually a human.
In Episode 7, we learned that Caleb was once a soldier who underwent a reconditioning procedure to make him forget about his troubled past. By the end of Season 3, Caleb was standing alongside Maeve as riots ensued and explosions went off in skyscrapers. The future is left uncertain, and it's not clear what will happen next. While Paul certainly was a main cast member for this season, it's not entirely certain if he'll be returning for Season 4.
Thandie Newton Is Eager To Act 'With More Purpose' In Season 4
When we left Thandie Newton's Maeve at the end of the third season, she was left standing alongside Aaron Paul's Caleb preparing to face a new world that was free from the algorithmic reign of Vincent Cassel's Serac. Where she goes from here is uncertain, both for us and the character, but when it comes to what Newton wants from her character in this newly-announced season, the actress told Deadline that she wants to see Maeve act "with more purpose" in her steps forward, whether that means exploring this new world she helped create or venturing off to the Valley Beyond in order to try to find her daughter.
She wants her to have a focus and determination in whatever direction she ventures next. Here's what Newton said:
Will Season 4 Continue In The Real World Or Will Everything Return To The Parks?
In that vein, one is left to wonder, will Westworld continue to focus on the real world, particularly if it's on the verge of a revolution, or will the show find a way to return to the parks? One could reasonably imagine it going either way — or maybe going in a completely different direction.
In an interview, Jonathan Nolan responded to comments about Westworld "rebooting" itself by claiming that it was always in the showrunners' intentions to "reinvent itself every season." He claims the show has a plan and that they've stuck with the plan through the process, pushing against any arguments that suggest that Westworld is striving for something that wasn't in their original design. If that's the case, no matter where it goes next, Nolan suggests that there's a destination in mind.
How Many Episodes Can We Expect In Season 4?
In Season 1 and Season 2, Westworld provided 10 episodes for each two-year block. But when Westworld premiered its third season earlier this year, HBO only showed eight episodes in total. In truth, the season was scaled back in other ways, including a tighter cast and a reworked genre, but when it comes time for Season 4, should we expect the show to return to ten-episode seasons or will eight episodes be the new norm moving forward. The answer isn't known at the moment, though both seem rather possible. If we had to guess, HBO will probably stick with the eight-episode format from this point forward. Though the paid cable station hasn't ultimately confirmed how many episodes fans should expect to find in this upcoming season.
Will Westworld Season 4 Be The Final Season?
When HBO announced that Westworld would be returning for another season, it admittedly took a few people by surprise. While it wasn't a shock, it's a high-budget, concept-heavy series which hasn't found the same success — both critically, commercially, and ratings-wise —throughout successive seasons. That's not to say that the well has gone sour, but the sci-fi series hasn't found the same phenomenal heights as its first season.
Ultimately, this decision makes one wonder if this recently-announced fourth season is, in fact, actually meant to serve as a final season, providing an end to one of the most audacious and most elaborate shows in HBO's history (which is saying something). Certainly, given the show's desire to end each season with big questions and shocking twists, the alluring promise of a fourth and final season could prove tantalizing for viewers who dropped out.
Neither the showrunners, the actors involved, nor the station has suggested that Westworld Season 4 will be the final season, but it would certainly be an intriguing option. Ultimately, like everything related to Westworld, we're left with major questions about what's left in store for this hyped-up series. When — or if — we get the answers to any of these constantly-lingering questions, you can always be sure to check back at CinemaBlend to find out.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.