Westworld season 3 is centered around The New World, but we have a theory that this is actually just another one of Delos' parks. The third season of Westworld will air on HBO in 2020, and pick up where things left off after the season 2 finale, which included Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) leaving Westworld behind.
Dolores, who is being accompanied by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and someone in the body of Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), is heading out of the park and into what's ostensibly the real world, i.e. the one the human characters come from. It's a major shake-up for Westworld if that is indeed the case, with Dolores' robot uprising likely to be an imminent threat to humankind.
However, this is Westworld, where nothing and no one is at it seems. It's a place where humans often turn out to be hosts, and a TV series whose creators want to stay a few steps ahead of the audience. At San Diego Comic-Con, showrunner Jonathan Nolan said the theme of Westworld season 3 is "The New World", much like how season 1 was "The Maze" and season 2 was "The Door." It may well be that the new world really is the real one, but our Westworld theory means that it's just going to be the latest park to be revealed.
Westworld Season 3 Appears To Be Showing The Real World
Westworld's season 2 finale ended with Dolores deciding to leave the park she calls home and head off into the real world, somewhere she was already taken before many years ago. This time, though, she's doing it on her own terms - or at least, that's how it seems - and has a couple of other hosts along for the ride. Bernard is back, and there's still an unknown person in the body of Charlotte, while Dolores also has a number of host mind orbs with her, whose identities also remain a mystery.
Westworld's SDCC trailer doubled-down on this idea, with numerous shots of Dolores in the futuristic cityscape that serves as the series' real world. It's here we meet Aaron Paul's Caleb, who is believed to be human, and see that while they do have robots in this world, they look more like conventional machines and a lot less like humans, which further differentiates this from Westworld and makes it feel more real.
Dolores' base in season 3 will be Arnold's house, one of the only real-world locations we've seen before, and one she's been to previously. The only other building we know of in the real world is James Delos' mansion, which is where Dolores attended a party and met Logan. Beyond that, we know little of the real world beyond the fact it's like our own only far advanced in the future, circa 2050-2060. The city that Dolores visits, with its vast skyscrapers, could well be Singapore, especially since Westworld may be based on an island near China, but that's guesswork at this stage. We should find out more in season 3 though, because real or not that's where Westworld is headed.
What Does "The New World" Really Mean?
Jonathan Nolan revealed that the theme of Westworld season 3 is "The New World", but what does that mean exactly? Although the showrunners have previously spoken about the characters heading into the real world, Nolan refused to confirm at SDCC that The New World is outside of the park. This fits with his and Joy's general approach to secrecy on the series, but it might also suggest that The New World isn't what it seems.
Both of Westworld's first two seasons had similar themes that served to drive the characters and story forward, but neither was completely literal. The Maze wasn't a real maze, and The Door wasn't entirely a real door in the way you'd expect, so why would The New World just be a real world? These themes are typically linked to the hosts' journeys and development - The Maze was about consciousness; The Door led to the Valley Beyond - so how does allowing the hosts to go out into the real world, beyond the control of Delos, fit into that? It could be about further blurring the lines between human and host, but it might also be that it's not outside the park at all.
The New World Could Be Westworld's Next Park
Westworld season 3 is introducing another new park, called War World, where in the SDCC trailer we saw Maeve fighting Nazis. Even with the reveal of War World, however, there are still two more parks to be revealed. Shogun World was teased in season 1, but fully introduced in season 2, and that was accompanied by the reveal of The Raj. With Westworld unveiling one new park, perhaps they'll follow a similar structure with the surprise reveal of another. With the exception of The Raj, all of Westworld's parks are called worlds, and The New World fits with that.
The Westworld season 3 trailer also suggests that Dolores is struggling to truly escape. It's clear that they head back into Westworld, or at least Delos HQ, at some point, which means they don't stray too far from the park. It's well-connected to the mainland anyway, but it further positions Dolores as being unable to break free. That itself ties into her arc as a whole and some of the broader themes of Westworld too, as we see Dolores and Charlotte attempting to control things they cannot and making a bid for freedom they can't achieve.