Warning: This story contains spoilers for Westworld.
Grab a pitcher of milk, because the hit HBO drama about everyone’s favorite robot takeover is officially set to return. The Westworld season 2 release date, April 22, was confirmed when the Westworld season 2 trailer aired during Sunday night’s Super Bowl. The sprawling, twisting, mind-boggling show — which garnered 22 Emmy nominations, a 92% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, critical recognition and Game of Thrones-topping ratings — is back to ask that age-old question: What happens when artificially intelligent hosts in an amusement park for rich people stop being polite and start getting real?
Season 1 took fans for quite the ride through the Western theme park, where violence against (and sex with) humanlike androids are the main draws for high-paying customers. At the close of the season, the series dropped us off with an ending that left viewers in awe of the show’s scope, and thirsty for Westworld season 2.
Luckily, the thriller’s just warming up, as the Westworld season 2 trailer confirmed. Here are all the important details you need to know about Westworld season 2.
When does Westworld season 2 come out?
Westworld season 2 will premiere on April 22, HBO’s Super Bowl trailer confirmed. After well over a year of waiting, obsessive fans finally have an official Westworld release date to look forward to — and a deadline for catching up on all those season 1 theories.
Is there a Westworld season 2 trailer?
There is, indeed. HBO aired a Super Bowl commercial for the first time in 20 years (see above). Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan directed the trailer, and it’s a revealing one. The ad brilliantly begins like an ad for the theme park, but like most things on this show, everything pretty much goes to hell. In this case, it happens when Westworld‘s enforcers face off against artificially intelligent bulls.
Most importantly, the trailer confirms that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) wants to build a new world according to her own vision. “We can burn it to the ground,” she says in the eerie voiceover. “From the ashes, build a new world — our world.” It would also appear that she is just as done with the park’s rules as she is with those curly side bangs.
If nothing else, one thing is clear: The game belongs to the hosts now, and the season 1 finale was just a preview of Dolores exacting revenge on her makers.
Which actors are going to be a part of the season 2 Westworld cast?
Now that we know the Westworld season 2 air date, it’s time to find out which Westworld actors are back for more.
It looks like most of your favorite major players, including Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), Thandie Newton (Maeve), Jeffrey Wright (both Bernard and Arnold), James Marsden (Teddy,) Jimmi Simpson (William, who we know evolves into the Man in Black, played by Ed Harris) and Tessa Thompson (Charlotte Hale) are back for more adventures and mind games. Also of note: Louis Herthum (Dolores’s father, Peter Abernathy) and Talulah Riley (Angela) will be back to fill out more prominent roles.
Several of the actors have been busy dropping hints on social media.
Evan Rachel Wood tweeted about the Westworld premiere date back in the fall.
Simpson shut down the idea that he would not be back as the young Man in Black, William.
There’s still no word on whether Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford) will return to brilliantly weird us out another day. Nolan hasn’t ruled out the possibility, only telling the Hollywood Reporter, cryptically: “I think with this show, you want to assume nothing.”
Marsden has clearly been thinking about Teddy during the off-season.
Which actors are new to the show?
Katja Herbers, Gustaf Skarsgård, Fares Fares and Betty Gabriel — best known for her head-turning role in Get Out — will all make their debuts as human characters.
Herbers plays a “seasoned guest,” according to Variety. As for Gabriel, she’ll be an enforcer facing off against the newly powerful bots, according to Deadline.
Which Westworld season 2 theories are worth paying attention to?
Already, fan theories about how the mysteries introduced in season 1 will deepen in season 2 have been making the rounds online.
One of the most popular? The idea that Hopkins’ Dr. Ford survives, because the park creator was building a host version of himself to live on in robot form all along. Another possibility: When we thought we were watching Dolores extinguish Dr. Ford with a shot to the back of the head, we were actually watching her kill that bot clone of his own making.
Fans have been busy theorizing about more than a few parks in this franchise, and Nolan confirmed that we’re about to “encounter new worlds” in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
And as for when exactly the show is set, one fan captured a possible clue on the show’s promotional “Delos” site, thanks to this shot of Maeve’s exit trip in the season 1 finale:
The fanatics may be onto something. One hunch was so prescient that Westworld had to rewrite a major plot point. “Reddit has already figured out the third episode twist. So, we’re changing that right now,” Nolan said at Paleyfest, according to Deadline.
The new Westworld season 2 trailer that debuted at the Super Bowl confirmed that Dolores is out to lead the robot uprising, just as TIME predicted in our Westworld season 1 power ranking. Burn it all, girl.
How many episodes will there be in Westworld season 2?
The Hollywood Reporter and Ed Harris say there will be 10 episodes, which would mean the season 2 action will spread across the same number of episodes as the first season. But HBO hasn’t confirmed the episode number, or the length of each installment.
You can take another trip through the show’s maze of dreams and reality by streaming season 1 on HBO’s apps, HBO Go and HBO Now. Alternatively, you can also stream the entire first season of Westworld through Amazon Prime, which offers a 30-day free trial.
Are Westworld seasons 3 and 4 coming soon?
It would be tough to imagine that after a highly anticipated second season, Dolores wouldn’t ride again in future seasons. But HBO hasn’t confirmed anything beyond Westworld season 2 yet.
What should we expect for our favorite Westworld characters?
Tessa Thompson, who plays Charlotte Hale, told Elle that the women of Westworld will be leading the robot uprising in season two. “It really is a season where I think women are king,” she said. “I think they rule the world in the park this season.”
Will we see a battalion of women band together? The Westworld season 2 trailer did confirm that Dolores’ killing spree continues. What’s more, Wood says that her other self, “Wyatt,” has fully taken over Dolores.
When we last saw Maeve (Thandie Newton), she was leaning into her sentimental side and ditching the escape plan she’d hatched to find her daughter. As Newton told Deadline, “In Season 2, we’re going to see her going back into the world that she has abandoned, which felt to me like an incredibly courageous and ultimately rebellious choice.”
Most people seem to be betting on Dolores as the new god of Westworld.
What should we expect from the Westworld premiere?
Jonathan Nolan gave redditors a taste of the premiere episode, which is titled “Journey Into N-.” What does the “N” stand for? While the journey could be headed for Narnia, it’s more likely something simpler, like “night.”
Timelines in Westworld are like plenty of other attractions in the park: a total mind maze. But Nolan confirmed that season 2 is “definitely not picking up right where we left off.”
Is Westworld done filming?
Yes. After new cast member Zach McClarnon suffered a serious off-set injury in November, HBO stalled production. Filming slowed again due to California wildfires in December. But Thandie Newton took to Instagram to let fans know the sophomore season wrapped in January.
How will Westworld season 2 relate to the original Westworld movie?
One redditor details a theory stemming from the Delos Destinations website, which hints that there will be a total of six parks in Westworld season 2. If we get more worlds next season, then that’s one way the show might be venturing more into the territory of the movie it’s based on. Westworld? Yes, Michael Crichton’s original 1973 movie had that. But it also had Roman World and Medievalworld. Either way, there’s still one key distinction between the show and the movie. The HBO series orchestrates sympathy for the machines. With the movie, the audience is meant to fear the robot. In the show, we’re rooting for a robot takeover.
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images and John P. Johnson—HBO