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Westworld Season 4 - What We Know So Far

Michael Crichton had an affinity for futuristic theme parks that go off the rails and shine a light on the darker side of humanity. While the author is primarily known for writing the novel "Jurassic Park," he also wrote and directed movies as well, most notably with 1973's Westworld. It's a noteworthy addition to the genre of science fiction, the least of which is that it's the first film ever to utilize 2D digital computer animation (via filmsite). 

Fast-forward over 40 years later, and the HBO series of the same name would make the CGI in the original film look like child's play. "Westworld" took the premise of the film, namely a group of androids in an amusement park go haywire and start demonstrating their own free will, and cranked it up to 11 with a cavalcade of insane moments over the last three seasons. That idea of wish fulfillment and predestination come up often as characters ruminate on what it truly means to be human (a common thread in many science fiction properties from "Blade Runner" to "Ex Machina"). 

If you just can't get enough of this intersection of sci-fi with philosophy, then there's good news on the horizon. "Westworld" will be back for a fourth season, and here's everything we know about it so far. 

What's the release date for Westworld Season 4?

"Westworld" has been a main attraction of HBO's original programming for several years now, and after the end of "Game of Thrones", it's filled the void for a fantastical, high-concept thrill ride. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the series was renewed for a fourth season before Season 3 had even ended (via The Hollywood Reporter). Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, released a statement to coincide with the renewal, stating, "From the Western theme park to the technocratic metropolis of the near future, we've thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn from the minds of master storytellers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy."

Now there's just the question of when exactly it will come out. No release date has been set yet, and it's important to remember that there was a two-year break between Seasons 2 and 3, which came out in 2018 and 2020, respectively. For such a VFX-heavy show, it makes sense that it needs enough time to get everything to look perfect, so if we were to make a guess, we'd think Season 4 would come out in 2022. That time frame was potentially confirmed when series star Jeffrey Wright posted a set photo in June 2021 heavily intimating that "Westworld" Season 4 was back in production (via Collider). Assuming everything stays on track, that 2022 estimate seems entirely viable.

Who's in the cast for Westworld Season 4?

Spoilers ahead for the Season 3 finale of "Westworld"

As fans of "Westworld" know all too well, a character dying doesn't necessarily mean that actor is out of work. Considering a good portion of the characters are androids, it's always possible for someone to die and then have their personality uploaded into a different unit. 

No new additions to the main cast have been announced yet, but audiences should expect some familiar faces to return, including Thandie Newton as Maeve, Aaron Paul as Caleb, Jeffrey Wright as Bernard, Luke Hemsworth as Ashley, and Ed Harris as The Man in Black. The biggest question mark of all remains the fate of Evan Rachel Wood's character, Dolores, who had her mind completely erased during the season 3 finale

In an interview with Variety, co-creator Jonathan Nolan confirms that, "Dolores is gone." However, that doesn't mean Evan Rachel Wood is done with the show as he goes on to explain, "I think it's important with a show in which death can be impermanent — these are robots, after all — to mark the occasion with Dolores. That version of that character is gone." It sounds like Wood could very well return but as a different iteration of the one we've seen grow these last few seasons. 

According to Deadline, one new addition to the cast has been confirmed: Aurora Perrineau. No details are currently available about her character, but she will apparently be playing a key recurring role in at least five episodes of the new season.

What's the plot of Westworld Season 4?

Naturally, details have been kept sparse about any future plans for "Westworld." Star Thandie Newton did share some intel at The Paley Center for Media: "I have no idea what they have planned for me," the actress said. "I'm teamed with Tessa [Thompson], I know. Hopefully, we can do some rightful damage." If your wheels are already turning, dreaming up what kind of damage Newton and Thompson will do together, you're not alone.

In that Variety interview mentioned above, Nolan was asked whether they're going into the real world or back into the park for the upcoming season, and he responds, "We love you, and we say this with the greatest respect, but there is no earthly way we're going to answer that question!"

That doesn't mean he won't say anything. In an earlier interview for The Hollywood Reporter following the conclusion of Season 2, Nolan discussed, "The hosts have a different version of mortality, a different outlook. I think clearly with Dolores, as she's laid out, there is a longer view here, a larger set of goals. They're existential. They span eons. And that's a fascinating level of story to engage in." It's possible for Season 4 to pick up decades or centuries later when the planet looks vastly different. It's a big world out there, and "Westworld" has only begun to scratch the surface.