Three new cast members have been announced for Westworld, and together, the trio suggest what kind of show we’ll be looking at next year.
According to Variety, Gustaf Skarsgård (Floki from Vikings) will be Karl Strand, “a white-collar guy comfortable in the field. Fares Fares, of Tyrant and Rogue One fame, will be Antoine Costa, who is simply described as “a tech expert”. Finally, Betty Gabriel (Get Out) will appear as Maling “who is trying to restore order on the ground”.
So, in other words, Westworld season two just gained three actors who’ll be playing members of the damage control team, attempting to shut down and reset the robots that are now running around the titular theme park shooting humans.
This isn’t really that big of a surprise – the initial teaser that we got to see during Comic Con made it clear that the direction for the next season of the show is essentially going to be Jurassic Park with cowboys instead of velociraptors, as surviving park guests are being hunted by a very “clever girl” and her underlings.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, and it’s certainly a lot easier to root for the robots in this show than in the original Jurassic Park. Nobody wants to see a couple of innocent kids get mauled to death because of their grandfather’s mistakes, but a bunch of rich, entitled people who want to live the Wild West power fantasy? It’s somewhat easier to get behind watching them all suffer from karma finally putting them in their place.
That said, it’ll be a real shame if the entirety of Westworld season two sticks to just showing us the Wild West-themed amusement park.
We get hints throughout the first season that other worlds exist – out there somewhere is Samuraiworld, Fantasyworld, Superheroworld, heck even some version of robotic Jurassic Park no doubt! George RR Martin even wants Westworld to feature a Game of Thrones theme park filled with robots played by Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa, and others.
It makes sense thematically to keep Westworld season two locked down among the tumbleweed and the cacti. The show’s narrative needs to serve its characters, and the story would feel weak if we kept getting worldbuilding for the sake of expanding this universe.
That said, it’s hard not to think of what could be, should the cowbots (see what we did there? Cowbots?) start bleeding through into other parks, invading Samurailand or riding on giant dinosaurs as part of their crusade against their human oppressors.
There’s no way these ideas haven’t occurred to HBO and showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. If we are going to see some other areas in the park, it’ll no doubt be either kept as a closely guarded secret for a late-game plot twist for the season, or announced in a big, bold way in order to make the show more interesting. This kind of this isn’t going to be quietly half-mentioned in a casting announcement.
If anything, it’s probably worth assuming that should we get any other parks in season two, it’ll be brief and fleeting; hinting at the wider world that exists when the robots peek behind the curtain, but not explored too deeply until season three – at which point, Samurai and robot Jon Snow can become a large part of the marketing campaign.
Or, perhaps HBO will hold off on showing us these worlds altogether during Westworld. Considering the challenges that the network is facing in finding the perfect spin-off for Game of Thrones, it might make sense to keep things vague as to what other robot theme parks exist, in order to have several instant hits to pick up and run with when Westworld itself starts winding down.
Regardless, though, it would be a lot of fans to get a peek at some of the other parks in the upcoming season. We don’t need to see a lot, but just a few key teases would be enough to help Westworld feel even bigger and better.
Plus, deep down, we all really want to see Thandie Newton riding a giant robot dinosaur into battle.