Katja Herbers, a familiar face to HBO viewers from The Leftovers, will be joining the second season of the cable network's hit sci-fi series Westworld. The hit HBO series, masterminded by producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, takes place in a near future amusement park, where people are allowed to indulge in their most violent and hedonistic vices as the park's remarkably lifelike robots, called Hosts, inch closer toward sentience.
Herbers made a memorable mark this season on HBO's other critically acclaimed, sci-fi-flavored drama, The Leftovers. She portrayed Dr. Eden, a scientist who claimed she could send people to another dimension where they would be reunited with the loved ones they lost in the Great Departure. It was a smart, understated performance, which seems like it would be a good fit for the dark, foreboding tone that permeates Westworld.
Details on the upcoming second season of Westworld have been scarce, but are starting to come to light. According to a report from Deadline, Herbers will be playing Grace, a veteran guest of the park who gets caught up in the chaos that was beginning to play out during the first season's explosive finale. She joins former recurring players Talulah Riley and Louis Herthum (who played two of the more ominous Hosts) as new series regulars for season 2.
It's unclear at this point which members of Westworld's all star first season cast will be returning. Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and Tessa Thompson formed the backbone of a powerhouse ensemble that became the animating force for a first season. While the series' utilization of lifelike robots means characters could theoretically remain a part of the show long past their deaths, it's safe to assume at least a few first season stalwarts will not be back in any major way. Herbers' casting is a strong sign that the show is reloading its ensemble for its much anticipated return.
Nolan and Joy have been extremely tight lipped about the plot of the second season, and the first season finale not only resolved many of the series' central mysteries, it simultaneously blew up its main premise and opened up the possibilities for a potential story with a much greater scope than was initially offered. With HBO's flagship series Game of Thrones nearing the finish line, Westworld seems poised to take on that responsibility, as long as it can avoid a sophomore slump.
Westworld's second season will air on HBO in 2018.