Dolores Abernathy stans are still trying to wrap their heads around Evan Rachel Wood playing any character other than their beloved android revolution leader in Season 4 of Westworld. Who is this “Christina” with a soulless mop of brown hair and an unfulfilling job as a games writer at Olympiad Entertainment? Why would she ever trade the wild, West for a futuristic yet shrug-worthy New York?
As fans try to grasp what exactly happened during Westworld Season 4’s first episode, entitled “Auguries,” in the ever-convoluted HBO sci-fi/thriller series by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, they’re left theorizing about who and when and what is this suspiciously familiar role and familiar metropolitan area.
Many have come to believe that Christina’s reality (and, her roommate’s Maya, portrayed by Ariana DeBose) must be trapped in a loop inside of another Delos theme park— more specifically, Futureworld, a theme park first explored by the original 1970s Westworld film franchise. But does this theory make sense? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Futureworld?
Futureworld is the 1976 sci-fi sequel to 1973’s Westworld, directed by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin.
Futureworld was not nearly as well-received as Westworld, garnering middling reviews from both critics and audiences alike. It did, however, establish the existence of another Delos Corporation park called Futureworld.
In the movie, however, Futureworld does not mimic a more futuristic version of Manhattan. Instead, it simulates an orbiting space station. Like the rest of the parks, this one is staffed by robots, who secretly conduct tests on Futureworld’s guests in an effort to clone them. This a Russian general and a Japanese politician, who become part of Delos’ plan to protect its own interests. The company essentially plans to replace these world leaders with clones as part of an effort to stop humanity from destroying itself.
Is Manhattan the new Futureworld?
We know that in HBO”s Westworld, Delos owns six robot theme parks. So far, that includes Westworld, Shōgunworld, Warworld, and The Raj, which gives the show’s writers and executive creatives wiggle room to dream up two more parks for the complex. Could Evan Rachel Wood’s new plotline be our introduction to Futureworld? On Reddit, some fans are convinced that’s exactly what’s happening.
Redditor u/BernieDharma noted on the Westworld subreddit page that they believe Christina must be a host in another park, mostly because she has the same morning loop, a routine that repeats itself over and over again like Dolores’ in Sweetwater.
“Her ‘story’ that she starts to write is the same as her life as Dolores Abernathy — living in the country with her father. Then you hear two guys talking about how ‘this place is wild, I can’t believe this is your first time...’ which is what we hear from the guests at Westworld,” u/BernieDharma writes.
u/matt111199 agrees, adding that Season 4 was definitely going to focus on “Futureworld with ‘Humans as hosts’ and ‘Hosts as guests.’”
“The dialogue about how there are ‘tabs for depression,’ as well as people saying ‘this place is crazy,’ makes me think the episode was in Futureworld,” adds redditor u/Reysona.
A few other clues... The tower looming over New York at the end of Westworld Season 4 Episode 1 also feels like a clue. No one seems to notice its presence aside from a homeless man who we see raving about the tower. Meanwhile, in non-Christina scenes, the world looks less futuristic and more worn down, suggesting that Futureworld does not represent the reality of this time.
The Inverse Analysis— We won’t rule out this enticing theory, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind: First, it’s early in the season, and there are plenty more shockers and twists and head-scratchers coming our way. This is Westworld after all — part of the viewing experience is misdirection.
While some of the parallels between Christina and Dolores are almost impossible to ignore (their penchant for painting, Christina’s narrative ideas, their wake-up routines, their blue wardrobe, etc), it could all be an elaborate red herring meant to confuse Westworld watchers to keep deeper plot mysteries under wraps. Evan Rachel Wood did, after all, tell Inverse that Christina required “a more human” approach to play and that she was an entirely different character from Dolores.
The other issue with this theory is that every other world in the Delos theme park chain that we have seen on-screen has a couple of underlying similarities: the most important being that they are locations wherein the wealthy can shoot and screw whatever they feel like with zero repercussions. Narratives are designed to provoke the basest impulses in human guests. Christina’s narrative, if we are to believe she is on a “loop,” is rather tame and uninspiring.
It begs the question: even if your goal is to play the game and not get distracted by vices, who’d want to go to Futureworld if it is so... meh?
Westworld Season 4 drops new episodes Sunday nights on HBO.