[This post contains SPOILERS for the Westworld season finale.]
HBO's Westworld has been a considerable hit both critically and commercially, smashing network records and amassing a host of positive reviews in the process. Unsurprisingly, a second season was commissioned before the first had even ended - and although figuring out all the show's intricacies and character arcs isn't always an easy ride, the season 1 finale answered some of the show's mysteries (even as it created a whole bunch of new ones). The season 1 finale also opened up a number of exciting potential directions for the show to head in when it returns.
One character who will no doubt be eager for season 2 to arrive is Ed Harris' Man In Black - or as we now know him, William. Having been a long-time visitor to the park - as well as the majority shareholder - the mild-mannered gent-turned-psychopath had grown tired of what Westworld had to offer and was on the hunt for a greater challenge that would essentially allow the hosts to "fight back". Although his quest would initially go unfulfilled - The Maze wasn't meant for him after all - the finale saw an army of decommissioned hosts and a self-aware Delores attack the members of Delos Corporation's board, who were visiting the park.
Actor Ed Harris, in a discussion with THR, has now spoken about the ending to the show's first season and what this could mean for William going forward. Harris states:
"I think it’s more him wanting to play this game on extreme mode. He wants to find out what he’s about. He wants to find out if, in fact, these people are lethal, how’s he going to deal with that? How’s he going to face that? And we’ll see. I don’t know exactly what’s going to be going on in the second season, but I’m sure it’s going to be wild. It’s probably the most excited he’s been. I mean, he’s pretty happy when he’s in that little Mexican village and he tells Lawrence, “This is what I come here for.” And he has a big smile on his face. Then he blows about 10 people away. He was pretty happy at that point too (laughs.) But this is a little bit more. This is deeper. The game’s starting now. Let’s see what happens."
Of course, Harris' final scene in season 1 left his survival far from certain; though given that the actor is now confirmed for Westworld season 2, it's highly likely William will live to fight another day. More interestingly, viewers last saw the character sporting a huge grin while the host army approached, as he realized his wish for a more extreme Westworld experience had been granted. As Harris states, William wants to find out how he will react when the people he has been continuously hurting and killing can hurt and kill him and this fits in perfectly with what viewers know about the character so far. William's transformation from a bastion of morality to the 'Man in Black' happened because Westworld showed him his true nature and it'll be interesting to see how the park's new developments evolve William further.
Quite how Bill's story arc will fit into the show's wider narrative remains as unclear as you might expect. With the hosts of Westworld seemingly increasing in autonomy, the park will no doubt be a very different place come season 2 and this will surely mean William will be spending as much time there as possible. He may, however, be the only human present in the park as, given recent developments, the place is now a health and safety nightmare and will likely be closed from the public. Perhaps season 2 will see a William in a huge game of survival against the park's violent hosts?
With that said, Delos - or what Delores has left of them - are unlikely to take the massacre lying down - and after the season 1 finale hinted at the existence of another parks with different historical themes, it's entirely possible that the company will launch an attempt to wrestle back control, now that the inmates have taken over the prison. However, with Arnold and Ford both dead (probably) do they have the scientific knowledge to fight back?
Westworld season 2 is currently slated to premiere in 2018 on HBO.
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