Westworld's Writers Changed Bernard's Story To Keep Luke Hemsworth In The Show

Way back in 2016, when a hot new HBO show called "Westworld" aired the penultimate episode of its first season, it left the fate of one Ashley Stubbs, played by Luke Hemsworth, dangling. As head of security for the Westworld theme park, Stubbs had ventured into the heart of the robot apocalypse in search of his missing coworker, Elsie (Shannon Woodward), only to be met by hostile members of the Ghost Nation tribe, each wielding a tomahawk or bow and arrow. They didn't respond to the command, "Freeze all motor functions," the way the park's robotic hosts normally would, and when Stubbs drew his gun, one of them tackled him.

For some, Stubbs was presumed dead after that cliffhanger, since the season never returned to the character after that. In a 2022 interview with Collider to promote "Westworld" season 4, Hemsworth himself admitted, "There was every intention that my character wasn't gonna be around for very long at all." However, Stubbs managed to stick around for three more seasons, pairing off with Bernard, played by Jeffrey Wright, right up until the point when HBO canceled "Westworld." In the same interview, Wright revealed how his own character's story was modified to accommodate Stubbs over time:

"The relationship of Bernard and Stubbs really evolved after the second season, in a cool way that was purely fluid and organic. As I understand it, one of the drivers behind it was that there may have been a different intention at the beginning, but [showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy] wanted Luke to stay on the show. They wanted him around, as we all did. That just speaks to the nature of who he is and how we all work together. But I think the intent, at the beginning, was very different and it evolved."

Bring your Stubbs back online

It sounds like Stubbs' final scene in "Westworld" season 1 may have been deliberately left open-ended so that the character could be either dead or alive. It's one of those things where the old red flag about not seeing a body to confirm the character's death comes into play. At the time, Luke Hemsworth certainly wasn't the face of "Westworld," as there were any number of more important characters and more high-profile actors featured on the show.

Two of those actors, Tessa Thompson and Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins, also starred in Marvel's "Thor" movie series, where Hemsworth was relegated to cameos as one of the Asgardian players: specifically, the stage version of the mighty Thor (with his younger brother, Chris Hemsworth, playing the real Thor). Still, while he can't lay claim to being the most famous Hemsworth, let alone the most vital "Westworld" cast member, Luke Hemsworth and his character, Stubbs, proved popular enough with both viewers and his castmates and crew members that the showrunners wanted to keep him around.

Hitching Stubbs to Bernard was perhaps a way for "Westworld" to ensure that Stubbs would remain connected to one of the show's main ongoing storylines. After all, Bernard's voice was the first one viewers heard back in the series premiere of "Westworld," saying, "Bring her back online."

If you want to bring yourself back online to watch Bernard and Stubbs in "Westworld," the series is currently streaming for free (with ads) on Roku.