Westworld season 3 riot control

HBO’s Westworld Comic-Con panel left us with more questions than answers, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. The title for Westworld III was revealed and we learned some new information about the new character being played by Aaron Paul.

The panel was moderated by futurist Amy Webb and included series stars Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, and Aaron Paul, alongside showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. Nolan revealed that while season one was “The Maze,” and season two was “The Door,” Westworld season three is titled “The New World.”

“So we left the park?” asked moderator Amy Webb.

“I didn’t say that,” responded Nolan.

This is a joke that Nolan continued bringing up throughout the panel conversation. But is it a joke? Or is it a hint? What if the future reality we see in Westworld season 3 is not “out of the park?” If you were the maker of this mystery box that got unraveled on Reddit in the first weeks of airing, maybe you would put the big reveal out there so obviously that it’s not seriously considered.

Algorithmic determinism is apparently one of the themes of season 3, but I’m not sure exactly what that tells us. Nolan explained that we are entering into a low-grade algorithmic world now and this season will explore it through its own lens. “It’s the Netflix effect, there is a giant algorithm in the sky that decides what you are going to watch,” said Nolan, who says that the future world of this season, if it is, in fact, the real world, is what happens if you apply that concept into your whole life. As established in previous seasons, Delos has been taking everyone’s data and has been using it in who knows what ways. A lot of the companies that are innovating Artificial Intelligence are in stealth mode, and we really don’t know what’s going on – it’s happening with no oversight. What if this is the most significant oversight in the future of our culture?

As for the look of “The New World,” it isn’t what we were all expecting. And maybe that’s the point. “The thing about dystopias is they can look really beautiful,” explained Jonathan, who didn’t want their world to look like the same dystopian future inspired by Blade Runner.

Evan Rachel Wood says that Dolores is still pretty ruthless this season. “She’s truly on her own. I think this season, there’s a good mixture of Dolores and Wyatt. But she’s still full of surprises. She’s pretty ruthless.” But her interactions with Aaron Paul’s character Caleb make her question herself.

Caleb is a construction worker, and in the future of 2050-2060, that profession is changed by the introduction of robots. We will see early on in season 3 that Caleb has a complicated past and is just trying to survive in the world, and that means he sometimes has to do bad things.

Plot and character details during the panel were scarce. At one point Jonathan Nolan was asked if Ed Harris would return as the Man in Black, and he deflected, joking that “Ed has a big gun, so how can you tell him no?” I’m not even sure I’m inside a real panel at Hall H at Comic-Con. Something about this panel felt weirdly artificial and lacking substance. Maybe I’m actually inside the park?

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