A ‘Westworld’ Writer Just Addressed Whether Dolores is in Season 4

Lauren Puckett
Photo credit: HBO

From Harper's BAZAAR

This story contains spoilers for Westworld season 3.

As we've watched Dolores Abernathy complete her evolution from innocent Little House on the Prairie puppet to Blade Runner–styled hero gone rogue, we've slowly begun to understand her endgame. And, stunningly, it's not world domination: She wants freedom for hosts and humans alike.

But things took a violent turn (as they always do) in the Westworld season 3 finale. Both Dolores and the Man In Black were left for dead, Rehoboam and its creator were defeated, Bernard discovered he'd held "the key" to the Sublime inside him all along, and Charlotte/Dolores turned on a dark part of herself. Oh, and the world is plunging into chaos ... so that a new one can take its place. Deep breaths, everyone.

There are still plenty of questions remaining: What did Bernard see in the Sublime? Is Dolores really dead? Is Charlotte building an army? So, like the show has taught us, we’re looking to the future. Here’s what we know about Westworld Season 4.

Season 4 is officially happening.

HBO announced on April 22 that it officially ordered a fourth season.

Show creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan had previously told Variety they hope to make at least one more season to wrap up the Westworld story (and possibly more). "We can’t wait to see where their inspired vision takes us next," HBO's programming president Casey Bloys said in a statement.

The next season will have a different aesthetic.

After the season 3 finale, Joy, Nolan and finale co-writer Denise Thé spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what's next for HBO's big hit. They teased a new "genre" for season 4, one with a different theme and a different feel.

"We felt we had an open invitation to play around, especially in this moment where TV is reinventing itself constantly, to have a show that reinvents itself season after season," Nolan said. "...So the idea that next season will feel different and distinct in genre from the previous seasons? Yes, that's absolutely part of the structure of the show."

We might not see Dolores again.

Dolores is really dead, Thé told THR. "We saw Dolores perish. We saw all of her memories painfully erased...I do think it's the right time to say goodbye to this Dolores."

But notice the keyword there: "this." Westworld is known for bringing back beloved characters in different forms, so there's a significant chance we will see some version of Dolores again—just maybe not the gun-toting prairie dweller we first met in season 1.

Nolan added, "That character is gone. We love working with Evan [Rachel Wood, who plays Dolores]. But we're a long way out from talking publicly about what that fourth season looks like."

The next season probably won’t air until 2022.

Westworld is no single-setting sitcom. The story, sets, and visual effects require an enormous investment, and Joy and Nolan said it’s unlikely any follow-up will come earlier than 18 to 20 months after Season 3’s final episode. Nearly two years passed between the air dates of Seasons 2 and 3.

“As Jonah and Lisa will tell you, I will always say, ‘Can we get it sooner?’” Bloys told Variety. “As shows get bigger and more complicated, I think more time between seasons is probably becoming more of the norm.”

However, the official premiere date for Season 4 remains unknown.

We can expect most of the cast to return in some form.

One nice thing about Westworld: When a character dies, chances are they aren’t really dead. (Either that, or their body will be replicated and used by a host. Semantics.) So that means we often see returning characters, such as Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte, even after their demise.

We have reason to expect our favorite characters, including some version of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Maeve (Thandie Newton), and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), will return, but there’s no official announcement as to who has signed on.

Creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan will be involved.

Variety reported that in April 2019, Joy and Nolan left their deal at Warner Bros. Television, which HBO falls under, to sign a five-year deal with Amazon. But don’t worry too much about their conversion. They’re committed to seeing Westworld through to the end.

Bloys told The Wrap, “They are 100 percent hands on. We have deals with them for a potential fourth and fifth season. So the deal with them [at Amazon] is for, I believe, everything but ‘Westworld.’ And they’re very committed to ‘Westworld.’ So I’m not worried about losing their focus. They don’t lose focus.”

We don’t have any story details … yet. But we can assume a few plot points.

Joy, Nolan and Thé are tight-lipped about any specific details regarding season 4. But we can make a few assumptions: We'll find out what Bernard discovered during his dusty trip to the Sublime. We'll learn Charlotte's plans for her massive host army. We'll understand the fate of William, who had his throat slit by a copy of himself. And we'll see if the new world Maeve and Caleb embrace during the finale is as peaceful as Dolores hoped it would be.

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