Westworld Creator Confirms Major Character Did Indeed Die, Explains Season 4 Return While Also Revealing Returning Star

evan rachel wood and james marsden in westworld
(Image credit: HBO)

Fans can finally look forward to the highly-anticipated fourth season of Westworld premiering later this month on HBO, over two years since Season 3 of the western-dystopian series ended. Following the Season 3 finale, fans were unsure about the fate of Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores. Now we finally have confirmation that the death is permanent courtesy of co-creator Lisa Joy, but Wood will return as another character along with James Marsden.

While appearing at ATX Festival along with the cast over the weekend, co-creator Lisa Joy dropped plenty of hints for the upcoming season of Westworld. Via Deadline, she discussed the new stories and the aftermath of the Season 3 finale, as well as just how Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden will play into Season 4.

Evan Rachel Wood Is Back, But Not How You Expect

The Season 3 finale saw Dolores sacrifice herself in order to give the humans their free will back, and in turn, her memory and data were wiped clean from her circuits, basically killing her. It was unknown then whether someone, like Caleb, would reboot her system and bring her back, but Lisa Joy confirmed that she is dead.

Joy explicitly settled the character's fate by saying "Dolores is dead," but said that they decided to bring Evan Rachel Wood back and "write a whole new character for her." Wood discussed how it all happened and that it was in the works for a while:

She’s a normal woman living in a big city just trying to make it as a writer. Nothing ever happens to her, really. I think that’s all I can say… I was told that Dolores was meeting her rather tragic end in Season 3, so I had some convos with [co-creator] Jonathan [Nolan] and Lisa at the time about what that meant. They said, ‘Yeah, you’ll be back this season and you’ll look a lot like Evan Rachel Wood’ but I’m not me.

This new character is named Christina, who lives in a New York-like city with her roommate, played by West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose. Said roommate might have a thing for Christina. Wood’s new character will also be going on a lot of dates, including one that looks a lot like fan-favorite James Marsden.

James Marsden Is Also Returning

During Season 2 of Westworld, fans already knew that James Marsden’s Teddy was going to be a goner before the season ended. During a climactic scene in the season’s penultimate episode, Teddy shot himself in front of Dolores, and it was heartbreaking to watch. However, in Season 4, Christina will be going on a date with someone that is the spitting image of Marsden, bringing back memories of Dolores and Teddy’s whirlwind romance.

The actor, who reportedly surprised fans halfway through the panel, spoke out about returning after so long, sharing his excitement in being part of something that started for him nearly a decade ago:

Sometimes you have to go away to come back. We learn to speak cryptically on this show. This has been 7 years of our show and yeah, it’s an amazing thing to be a part of and see where the story goes. From the beginning, I didn’t know where it was all gonna go but I’m glad to see it now.

Considering how Teddy went out, it’s unlikely that James Marsden will be bringing that character back. Just like with Evan Rachel Wood, it looks like he will be playing an entirely different character. But at least their two characters will have another chance at love... if something doesn’t go wrong, anyway. With Westworld, you never know.

It will be interesting to see just what will happen in Season 4 of Westworld and just how exactly Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden will be brought back. Fingers crossed that they have more luck than the characters that preceded them, but it will just be good to see them again no matter what happens!

Don’t miss Westworld premiering on Sunday, June 26 on HBO and HBO Max! Check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule to see what else to look out for this summer.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.