James Marsden Is Returning For Westworld Season 4, And Evan Rachel Wood Is Playing A New Character

"Westworld" season 4 is bringing back some old faces in new roles. James Marsden was one of the show's principal cast members during its first two seasons; his cowboy character, Teddy, was there on the train riding into the town of Sweetwater in the Westworld theme park, right from the opening minutes of the series premiere. However, Teddy, a host already known for dying "at least a thousand times," exited the narrative at the end of season 2. He was last seen (spoiler alert) lying dead in the water on the beach in the season 2 finale, "The Passenger." This appeared to be Teddy's final death — and Marsden's final "Westworld" appearance.

But not so fast! At a "Westworld" panel at the ATX Festival in Austin over the weekend, Marsden showed up on stage as the surprise guest, confirming that he would return for season 4 and telling the audience (via Deadline):

"Sometimes you have to go away to come back. We learn to speak cryptically on this show. This has been seven years of our show and yeah, it's an amazing thing to be a part of and see where the story goes. From the beginning, I didn't know where it was all gonna go but I'm glad to see it now."

Though Marsden will be returning, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be playing the same character, however. Teddy's fate was inextricably bound up in that of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), and if you remember, Dolores herself died at the end of "Westworld" season 3.

Meet Christina

If you saw the trailer for "Westworld" season 4 and were confused by the seeming resurrection of Dolores, join the club. It turns out Dolores is still dead and Wood is coming back this season as a new character named Christina. She lives in New York (or some city resembling it) and has a roommate played by newly minted Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose, who is dancing over from "West Side Story" into "Westworld."

Christina's roommate may have feelings for her, but Christina herself will be going out on a date with the guy Marsden is playing. At ATX, Wood explained further:

"[Christina is] a normal woman living in a big city just trying to make it as a writer. Nothing ever happens to her, really. I think that's all I can say ... I was told that Dolores was meeting her rather tragic end in season 3, so I had some convos with [co-creators] Jonathan [Nolan] and Lisa [Joy] at the time about what that meant. They said, 'Yeah, you'll be back this season and you'll look a lot like Evan Rachel Wood but I'm not me.'"

So, there you have it. Wood and Marsden will be together again — for the first time — in "Westworld" season 4, and we can only imagine what kind of narrative headaches the show will cause for them and viewers when it returns on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, June 26, 2022.