As Westworld prepares to open the gates to the park once more, Jeffrey Wright is teasing some serious health issues for Bernard in season 2 of the HBO epic.
It has been a bit of a wait since Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's show bowed out in 2016's Wild West shootout finale, but with promises of more parks, more big twists, and even more gratuitous nudity, Westworld is going bigger and better this time around. Returning with its all-star cast that includes Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, and of course, Jeffrey Wright, it will be interesting to see how the robots develop now that they are free from their human overlords. One of the biggest questions still remains though: whose side is Bernard actually on?
For those who need a reboot of their memory banks, Wright's character was spectacularly revealed to be a host in one of season 1's biggest twists. Trying to escape the programming of Anthony Hopkins' Robert Ford, Bernard was forced to turn a gun on himself and blast his own robotic brains all over the park's cold storage. While Bernard was resurrected just in time for the bullet-riddled finale, Wright told Deadline that his temporary death has led to "some health issues" and further complications:
“He’s got some cognitive challenges as we enter the first episodes of season 2 and he has additional challenges that come up as he goes on board in terms of him being able to process."
Continuing to discuss Bernard's allegiances, Wright implied that it wasn't as simple as flicking a switch between the side of him that he thought was human and his new life as a robot:
“Bernard is in a pretty peculiar, kind of unique position in that he’s got certain allegiances to both sides and I think that’s part of the consideration for him. I think given his robot brain situation and given kind of the social situation around him in terms of having been human and then discovering he’s a host, but he’s aspiring to kind of an awakening as the hosts are, the question for him at the beginning as you might expect is: ‘Where am I? Where am I in all of this?’ We lead from there.”
Remembering that Bernard was created as a personal version of Ford's deceased partner Arnold, it is highly likely that he is far more complex than some of the other hosts. As the various trailer and promos of season 2 have teased, the robots are running amok in the park(s) and there will be a major loss of human life, but is it really as simple as all the hosts are evil now? Shots of Bernard show him still alongside the Delos security staff, suggesting that he won't go rogue like the other rebellious robots. Given that Bernard shared something of a fatherly relationship with Shannon Woodward's Elsie, he may try and help the staff regain control for at least part of season 2.
It has already been confirmed that the show will introduce a young version of Robert Ford, so Nolan and Joy may also explore a bit more of Arnold's backstory, leading Wright to once again play two roles. However, this being Westworld, fans are expecting the break-neck twists and turns that made the first season such a success. Either way, it is great to see Wright back and taking Bernard on another emotional roller coaster.
Westworld season 2 premieres Sunday, April 22 on HBO.