Skip to main content

What to expect from Westworld season 4

The Westworld season 3 finale, evocatively titled Crisis Theory, was a 77-minute joyride, littered with its fair share of stunning reveals, emotional amends, action-packed fighting sequences, and ever-symbolic callbacks to its predecessors. From the unknown potential in its initial trailers to the last few seconds of its 28th episode, Westworld carved a new name for itself with its third season, despite its negligence of a surprise revisit from Ford (Anthony Hopkins). As in previous seasons, the most revealing glimpse of the series’s future took place after the credits rolled — a post-credits scene teased the show’s potential direction for the next season within an air-tight vacuum of ambiguity.
While the season 2 finale left fans in speechless anticipation for what Dolores had planned for the real world while simultaneously wondering what Bernard could possibly do to stop her, this season is even more forthcoming. With the season 4 renewal already in the bag, Westworld’s imminent fourth outing gets a much-needed flashlight to the face with some questions provided via the season 3 finale. Strap in and take an eVTOL ride through the many potential Westworld season 4 plotlines, yet don’t dive too far into this spoiler-riddled rabbit hole without experiencing the season 3 finale and its additional post-credit scenes.

Is William (The Man in Black) still alive?

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Arguably one of the most jaw-dropping moments in the final few minutes is when a host replica of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) takes a knife to the human William’s throat and sliced clean through. The real William, previous Delos owner and Westworld massacre survivor, spent an entire season 3 plotline dedicated to a redemption arc, shedding his monstrous form for a more humane one. Season 3 is Westworld at its most ambiguous when it comes to its main antagonist, and while it still drew one of the show’s most blatant villains from previous seasons into the role of a hero without muddling the narrative, his untimely end feels dissatisfactory, to say the least.
All of his well-built character development turned null and void upon the close shave received at the hands of his more ruthless clone just doesn’t sit right. As such, William is still alive until proven otherwise. He did, after all, finish out the second season in a similar situation, resting precariously on a thin line of survival and death. No featured corpse likewise leaves his destiny open to speculation and a surprise season 4 return reveal. Then, there’s the still mind-racking post-credits from the season 2 finale, depicting what may very well be a host version of William undergoing a fidelity test in a dilapidated and far-future Westworld. Keep those fingers crossed. As the uncertainty of William’s livelihood weighs on fans, yet another character’s departure brings us to our next Westworld season 4 unknown.

Is Dolores gone for good?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Prior to the post-credits, at the climax of the Westworld season 3 finale, viewers are privy to the Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) duo as they exit the Incite building, leaving Dolores’s lifeless shell behind still strapped to the now-deleted Rehoboam. Despite the erasure of her entire memory log, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) could still very well be back in action for Season 4. The crushing of Hector’s data ball by the Dolores in Charlotte’s body (Tessa Thompson) in episode 6 is proof that hosts can survive until their minds are completely compromised, allowing only a small glimmer of hope for her continued survival. With no indication of her being alive or dead at the end of season 3, Dolores emulates the similarly situated William, existing in a Schrödinger’s cat predicament of uncertainty. Like opening the box in that thought experiment, only season 4 can alleviate the data-clogged confusion.

A Variety interview with Westworld co-writer and creator Jonathan Nolan casts only more unknowns upon the character’s future role in the series. Upon being asked if Evan Rachel Wood would be leaving the show, Nolan states, following a six-second delay:

“I f—– hope not. Let me clarify. Dolores is gone … I think it’s important with a show in which death is impermanent — these are robots, after all — to mark the occasion with Dolores. That version of that character is gone.”

What happened to Stubbs and why is Bernard covered in dust?

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Obviously, an exorbitant amount of time has passed since Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) left Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) to bleed out in a bathtub armed with only a select few miniatures of cheap liquor before taking a quick trip to the beyond. The very last scene of the season 3 finale, however, shows Bernard reawakening from his virtual excursion with a film of dust blanketing him and his entire surroundings. Questions of varying importance abound: How long was he inside the virtual escape? What and who did he discover there? Is he capable of bringing occupants back from that world to the real one and vice versa? More importantly, is the beer-chugging Stubbs still alive and well?
The culminating few moments of Westworld’s third outing leaves little to speculate upon. Still, given the age-old blanket of grime covering the entire hotel room, including Bernard, it’s safe to assume his lengthy time there was spent learning Dolores’ ultimate plan for human recalibration. Bernard’s experiences inside the host’s virtual Eden could even play a major part in the following season, what with Teddy Flood actor James Marsden hinting at an eventual return to the series following his season 3 hiatus. No matter how it’s presented, Bernard’s survival is an absolute necessity given his access to the host’s cloud world. Already, avid-eyed fans on Reddit have pointed out some striking details from that final scene, specifically some footprints left in front of Bernard and the absence of his pistol, alluding to Stubbs’ survival or the arrival of an unwelcome guest.

Will Halores continue copying the plot of Futureworld?

Image used with permission by copyright holder
The sequel to the original Westworld, 1976’s Futureworld was critically panned and derided for unsuccessfully taking the franchise in a new direction without the aid of theme-park-gone-wrong mastermind, Michael Crichton. Its flimsy narrative about a Delos-led cloning scheme involving the replacement of international politicians and generals with hosts quickly drove the sequel into realms forgotten. That is, up until the post-credits of Westworld’s season 3 finale, when a real-world William goes toe to toe with a “can opener” Man in Black, who in the end comes out seemingly victorious.
Following the bout, the Charlotte-Dolores offshoot now gone mad is displayed at the helm of an almost-infinite room filled with host-printing machines. Chilling in its reminiscence of Terminator and the world-dominating Skynet as well as demonstrative of Halores’ ever-burgeoning reach, the scene also conveys one of the finale’s most hard-pressed questions: What is her end goal? Like a convex mirror of her own existence, a host in the likeness of a powerful businesswoman (and Delos associate at that), Halores could very well redeem the narrative of Futureworld with her own complicated and twisted spin on its plot.
As previously mentioned, Season 3 of Westworld kept viewers guessing at its true villain up until the very close, revealing Halores among the post-credit scenes in the early stages of a mass host-manufacturing initiative. Endlessly birthing killer hosts in the guise of important and powerful individuals would grant Halores an unruly edge in the rebuilding of society following its post-apocalyptic present. Akin to the Emperor in Star Wars, Darth Sidious himself, the Dolores-Charlotte offshoot could amass global dominion well before the world could even know to stop her.

What of Maeve and Caleb?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The unlikely pair share the screen at the end of Westworld season 3 with little to go on other than a world now cracked open to their choosing. As Maeve relates to Caleb under the backdrop of a city split asunder, echoing her past lines from Season 1 as the park’s brothel madam:

“This is the new world and, in this world, you can be whoever the f— you want.”

It’s anyone’s best guess what Maeve and Caleb might be up to in season 4, though it’s entirely dependent upon if they remain attached at the hip. With a host-wrought future presented by the menacing Halores, Caleb and Maeve might be better off together in staving off yet another far more gruesome apocalypse. Though, even when joining forces, can they expect to beat the Dolores-Charlotte offshoot and her forthcoming host army? Thus, a speculatory door opens upon the potential return of Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), whose brief appearance in the season 3 finale most certainly leads into a more pivotal season 4 role.

Venturing with uncontrolled abandon into speculation town, various Reddit users elicit an even more critical question on when the follow-up might take place: Shortly after the events of season 3 or exponentially further into the timeline? Harkening back on the Westworld season 2 post-credit scene and even the plot of that season taking place in the near-future span of two weeks, a hefty time-jump isn’t beyond the bounds of the HBO series. Fan conjectures still swirl in the background and will continue to grow as the wait for Westworld season 4 only just now starts ticking.

With a slated two seasons following its fourth outing, Westworld is in for one wild if not harrowing future, blending its ever-present sci-fi tropes with post-apocalyptic horror and cyberpunk noir to deliver a promising new batch of content hopefully by 2021.

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Epps
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Writer at heart and gamer in mind, Ryan Epps loves using creativity and imagination to inform the masses on everything…
What’s new on VOD and Digital in December 2023
Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon.

December is a very quiet month for VOD (Video on Demand) and digital releases. Of this month's titles, only Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, Trolls Band Together, and Killers of the Flower Moon are widely known. Although the premise of It's a Wonderful Knife is so amusing that it seems likely to draw both horror and comedy fans.

The rest of December's VOD titles are either experimental films or low-budget horror flicks that didn't make much of an impact in theaters. New VOD arrivals aren't cheap, but they do tend to be less expensive than buying two or more movie tickets if you are planning a night out with your friends or loved ones. Sometimes, it just makes more financial sense to stay in and watch a new movie from the comfort of home.

Read more
The best shows on Max (formerly HBO Max) right now
A man looking dirty and disheveled, teeth weirdly at the side of his mouth in a scene from 30 Coins.

From The Last of Us to Succession, The White Lotus to Barry, the best shows on Max (formerly HBO Max) right now include plenty of Max originals. It's no surprise that HBO and the Max streaming service dominate in nominations come awards season. Every month, new shows or seasons are added to the list, so there's always something entertaining to check out on Max.

If you don't know where to start, we're here to help. This list of the best shows on Max right now is always updated with new shows as they come out. But we only include the shows that are truly worth watching.  We also want to keep you apprised of when your favorite shows return with new seasons. Bottom line: this list is a one-stop shop for helping you decide what to watch next.

Read more
The best movies on Apple TV+ right now (December 2023)
Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Zoe Margaret Colletti, and Van Crosby in The Family Plan (2023)

One may not think of Apple TV+ as a premier destination for movies, but let’s not forget that CODA took home the Oscar for Best Picture in 2022. This isn’t to say that every flick on the streaming platform is cinematic gold, but Apple TV+ has certainly established quite the track record for noteworthy A-list releases. We’re also big fans of the Big A, and we’re constantly combing its film library to bring you this rotating roundup of the best movies on Apple TV+. 

With selections from numerous genres, there’s something for everyone on our list, and Apple TV+ shows no signs of stopping. Here’s everything you can look forward to watching in December 2023.

Read more