Ambitious HBO shows love to to take their time until a finished season hits the screen, and Game of Thrones won't be the only network series returning after a long wait in between seasons. The epic fantasy drama's eighth and final season just premiered after nearly two years off the air, and HBO's Westworld will end up following that pattern. Westworld Season 3 won't premiere until 2020, but given the series' intricate focus on androids aspiring to reach the real world, a new story is definitely worth the wait.
As TV Guide points out, Westworld and its fanbase became accustomed to long gaps in between content before the show even began. It took about three years to fully prepare the drama's first season, and after its October 2016 premiere, Westworld didn't return for a second season until April 2018. There's also the likelihood that HBO always wanted to dedicate 2019 solely to the final episodes of Game of Thrones — after all, how many high-concept shows can a network handle at once? It's still unknown when Season 3 will air in 2020, but based on the show's sporadic record, fans' guesses at the premiere date are likely futile.
Details about the storyline are also sparse, but HBO has also confirmed the castings of Lena Waithe (Master of None) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) for the upcoming Westworld season. Their character details are under wraps, but these new people are entering a complicated world. Westworld is notorious for seriously confusing its viewers, so in case it's been too long for you to remember the nitty-gritty, let's break down what happened in the Season 2 finale.
When the series began, it followed the android hosts at Westworld, one of six theme parks in the future allowing guests to experience experience life in the American Old West. Resembling humans, the hosts were limited to a certain number of narratives when interacting with guests, and they lost their memories from past cycles with visitors. But when a few androids began to retain these memories, host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) realized how controlled her life was and eventually kicked off an uprising within the park.
The Season 2 finale "The Passenger" emphasized the show's tendency to veer in confusing directions. The majority of the episode jumped back and forth between various settings and time, so check out this more detailed recap if you need the specifics. The finale culminated with Dolores and host programmer Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) facing each other in a "new world," with Dolores seemingly confirming that she and Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) escaped the park and reached the real world. Before Bernard also entered the real world, Dolores insisted that they had to trust each other to help hosts survive in reality.
The season ended before revealing any insight into the two's newest journey, likely meaning that much of Season 3 might not even take place within Westworld. Co-creator Lisa Joy told The Wrap about the planned focus of Season 3, saying:
It was always the plan to explore the real world and we have Dolores there, Bernard’s there and a creature that is certainly inhabiting [Charlotte] Hale’s body is there. So we’ll come to know more of who “Hale” is. There are three Hosts out in the world and next season will really be an exploration of what they find and who they become.
It may not become easier to follow, but the good news is that Westworld fans have plenty of time to catch up with the series and re-familiarize themselves before its return. Season 3 of Westworld premieres on HBO in 2020.