[Warning: Spoilers for 'Boardwalk Empire' season 3 follow!]
While audiences are likely still wrapping their heads around the late-season events of Game of Thrones, the great Sunday night television factory that is HBO is pushing ahead, presenting a new teaser for the season 4 premiere of the award-winning period drama Boardwalk Empire.
Few details are available on what season 4 will bring, but it's clear in this new teaser that the storyline will involve a mix of familiar faces - like fan-favorite Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) and mother-of-the-year-candidate-turned-New-Jersey-madam Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol) - along with two prominent newcomers in Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Source Code) and Ron Livingston (Office Space).
Wright will be playing Valentin Narcisse, a Harlem-based philanthropist and "Doctor of Divinity" who clearly has plans involving Nucky Thompson. And while Wright's depiction of the character, and his earlier appearance in the ultra-short teaser – which included the spine-tingling line: "Only kings understand each other" – suggest there's some interest on his behalf in joining forces with Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), it would not be surprising if Dr. Narcisse had some convincing do to, considering Mr. Thompson's dealings with Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) likely left him on the defensive.
Meanwhile, even less is known about Livingston's character – who appears in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him shot in the trailer – but according to HBO, he will be playing a wealthy out-of-town businessman who finds himself getting involved with Gillian Darmody. And since a relationship with Gillian hasn't worked out too well for anyone in the past three seasons, there's a good chance Livingston's character will find himself under the influence of "rather a lot" of heroin, or being dispatched in some other warped fashion.
As for the returning players, fans were likely quite pleased at the appearance of Richard Harrow, as the climax of season 3 could have easily served for a heroic (and bloody) send-off for his character. Although the teaser provides precious little to go on regarding his arc, many fans have speculated that Richard's skills and aversion to idle chit-chat would make him well-suited for employment in Nucky's organization, so we'll have to wait and see if such a pairing is in the works.
Last season, New York mobster Joe Masseria (Ivo Nandi) and his touchy, rage-prone associate Gyp Rossetti, brought war to Atlantic City and Nucky Thompson nearly found himself to be a king without a kingdom. It was a grim situation until a last-ditch effort from Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams), Eli Thompson (Shea Whigham) and Chicago's rising star Al Capone (Stephen Graham) helped turn the tide and reinstate Nucky at the head of East Coast bootlegging empire. And while Canavale's appearance turned out to be a one-and-done kind of deal, it's a good bet all the other players will be making an appearance in season 4.
For the past few years, Boardwalk Empire has been HBO's go-to series to facilitate the transition from the delightfully overcooked camp of its long-running summertime series True Blood to the cooler, more somber tones of the fall. And after Cannavale's spectacular turn last season, it looks like the series is upping the ante in terms of powerhouse guest stars making life on the other side of the law a little more interesting.
Boardwalk Empire season 4 premieres Sunday, September 8 @9pm on HBO.