After Westworld premiered last fall, it dominated headlines and online communities alike, with Reddit users guessing many of its biggest twists before they were revealed on-screen. The breakout series was HBO’s most-watched first season, accruing an average of a staggering 12 million viewers across all platforms. Reviving the android theme park at the heart of Michael Crichton’s original 1973 Western, it paired the flash of sex and violence with mysterious intrigue and a meta examination of what it means to be human.
The show likely won’t return until 2018, but only three months out from its freshman finale, the second season has already begun to take shape. Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are deep into writing, a game-changing fan theory has been confirmed, and season 1 standout Talulah Riley, who played welcome host Angela, has been promoted to a series regular. Now, another character has also been granted a more prominent role.
According to Deadline, Louis Herthum has been upped to a series regular for season 2. He was as introduced as a recurring guest star in six episodes of Westworld‘s first season, playing Dolores’ (Evan Rachel Wood) father Peter Abernathy. It’s an intriguing announcement, given that the tail end of Abernathy’s story line largely involved him being sent to the dark, dank depths of cold storage, where robots are locked away once they’ve been deemed out of service.
His last appearance, however, left his fate in the air. Toward the end of the season, Delos executive director Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) implanted 35 years worth of data into Abernathy’s head, then tasked Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) with smuggling him out of the park. Later, when Sizemore returned to cold storage to retrieve him, all of the hosts — including Abernathy — had vanished.
When combined with the fact that Nolan confirmed Maeve made her first free-will decision when she ran back into the park to find her daughter, Herthum’s bigger season 2 role further hints that the android revolt we’ve seen inklings of will only escalate in Westworld‘s next chapter. Abernathy had already shown signs of malfunctioning and remembering his “past lives.” Now armed with three decades worth of code, there’s no telling what Abernathy could do with that kind of knowledge, but it’s a pretty safe bet that he won’t be mindlessly following his programmed loop.
An official premiere date for Westworld season 2 has not been announced, but HBO is currently aiming for a 2018 debut.