Spoilers for Westworld Season 1 below!
Watching Westworld can sometimes feel like being a host in the show’s titular wild west park: You’re not entirely sure where (or when) you are, and you’re powerless to do anything about it. Westworld fans don’t obsessively comb through each episode for clues to stoke their theories out of love alone; we do it out of necessity, too. It turns out some of the show’s actors feel the same way.
“Every script I get I have to read three times, just understanding what’s all happening, but even then, I think I don’t really understand it,” Luke Hemsworth, who plays Westworld head of security Ashley Stubbs, told GameSpot during a group interview recently in Los Angeles. “It’s been so long. I’m always surprised, I think. I’m always like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember! And that leads into that, and that’s going to move that. Oh, yes!'”
The first episode of Westworld’s second season will air next Sunday, April 22. Without spoiling anything, it’s safe to say it picks up the story near where the first season ended. Jumping right back into this hosts-versus-humans fray after so long–Season 1 aired back in 2016–will feel like whiplash if you haven’t revisited the show recently.
The last time we saw Stubbs in Season 1, he was ambushed by the Native American warrior hosts known as the Ghost Nation. We’ve known for some time that Stubbs isn’t dead, but it’s still a bit jarring seeing him in the opening scenes of Sunday’s Season 2 premiere. Hemsworth wouldn’t say how his character survived, but he did tease that Stubbs is “pretty stoic. He’s resilient. He finds a way.”
Angela Sarafyan, who plays the host Clementine, said we’re going to see new sides of her character in Westworld Season 2. Clem was out of the loop for most of Season 1, but began to gain more agency by the end. In the final episode, she shot the Man in Black (AKA old William) in the arm as the hosts rebelled.
“You’ll get to see elements of Clementine that are a bit different,” Sarafyan said. “You find your strength in the most unfortunate situations. That’s what she does. And I love that I got to find that strength in her.”
“That’s the direction that we’re going in, this newfound freedom,” she said. “To be the oppressed, and then, what do you do with that freedom that you’re given, especially if you’re a host? How do you bring that to fruition?”
For some shows that are particularly vulnerable to spoilers, like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, the creators will go to extreme lengths like writing scripts in code or shooting multiple versions to guard against leaks. Hemsworth said shooting Westworld can be chaotic, though he attributed that more to the show’s massive scope than any deliberate attempts to befuddle the cast or crew.
“It’s a huge beast, and I think they’re figuring a lot of it out as they go,” Hemsworth said. “When they’re editing they’re picking up things and going, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right. We need to do that.’ It’s this constantly evolving, tome amount of scripts. And it does evolve right up until the point that we’re shooting. Sometimes we’re getting scripts at midnight the night before we’re shooting.”
If showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are keeping Hemsworth in the dark about anything, he says he doesn’t know about it. “I guess we’ll find out, because they don’t tell me, right?” he laughed. “There’s definitely stuff that changes at the last minute. Whether it’s on purpose or not is another question. Sometimes you’re like, ‘Come on, you knew that was going to happen. You could have told me that!'”
One thing we know for certain is that the showrunners have a sense of humor about it all. A video they promised to release earlier this week that they said would reveal Season 2’s entire plot–in some twisted attempt to stop fans from spreading theories across the internet–turned out to be one giant troll, a “Rick Roll” of epic proportions. They did release a video that gives a brief glimpse at an early scene from Westworld’s Season 2 premiere, where Stubbs finds Bernard passed out on a beach. But it quickly transitions to star Evan Rachel Wood singing Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” with Sarafyan on piano, followed by around 20 minutes of a dog sitting on a piano bench.
Sarafyan said she didn’t know how the video was going to be deployed when Nolan asked her to be in it. Her brother explained to her what a Rick Roll is after the video went out.
“We were going to do press that particular day, and Evan and I were both there, and [Nolan] asked her to sing and me to play the piano piece,” Sarafyan said. “So I learned it that night and then played it the next day. That’s why I’m so focused [in the video]–because I’d just learned the piece!”
The two actors didn’t have much more to share about Westworld Season 2, but they do have their own theories.
“I always believe that the hosts are constantly taking in information, kinda like your phones,” Sarafyan said. “I think that they’re always feeding off things. Even when they’re asleep, I’ve made the decision that she is still awake. She’s asleep, she’s in sleep mode, but then she’s still hearing and receiving, like you would in a dream.”
We do learn a few new things about the hosts in Westworld’s Season 2 premiere, though I won’t say what they are. “It’s an evolution,” Hemsworth described. “They delve into pulling the hosts apart, but also pulling the humans apart and how we react to losing our control.”
As for what happened to Stubbs between the last time we saw him and now? “There’s definitely a cool journey there.”
Finally, Sarafyan teased something Westworld fans have been looking forward to since the Season 1 finale: “I think [Shogun World] is gonna be a really special story,” she said.
Westworld Season 2 airs on HBO beginning next Sunday, April 22.