Westworld had potential. When the series premiered on HBO back in 2016, it was a pretty perfect piece of television marred only by the fact that the internet managed to solve its big mystery before Westworld could get there itself. In response, Season 2 was even more complicated and opaque — but still pretty good. Then, Season 3 was such a mess that trying to read a recap now is like translating some forgotten ancient language. Enter, Westworld Season 4.
HBO just released the first trailer for Westworld Season 4, and it feels like classic Westworld. Iconic classic rock song? Check. Futuristic technology? Check. An old-timey train? Check. Evan Rachel Wood? Check. Jeffrey Wright? Check. Ed Harris? Check. The list goes on.
The only thing missing? The post-apocalypse promised to us at the end of Westworld Season 3.
What happened in Westworld Season 3?
I won’t even bother trying to recap the entire plot, but the important thing to remember here is that Westworld Season 3 introduced an evil AI called Rehoboam that was plotting to destroy humanity. In the season finale, Rehoboam's grand plan is revealed, and it’s not great for humans...
- Mass Casualty Event (6-10 years)
- Mass Casualty Event (12-16 years)
- Population Collapse (23 years)
- End of Human Civilization (50-125 years)
The season ended with Dolores (Wood) seemingly overpowering Rehoboam while the super-computer simultaneously deleted her artificial intelligence. However, the finale also seemed to suggest that the AI’s plan would ultimately succeed, setting up a post-apocalyptic future where Westworld’s robot Hosts could reign supreme.
So why isn’t that what we’re seeing in the Westworld Season 4 trailer?
Westworld Season 4 trailer, explained
As expected, the first teaser trailer is light on details and heavy on atmosphere, but it definitely doesn’t take place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The first shot shows Caleb (Aaron Paul) sitting atop a gleaming skyscraper. Subsequence scenes reveal various other characters living in Westworld’s not-too-distant future.
Of course, it’s possible this could be a misdirect. Westworld loves playing with timelines, after all. Maybe Season 4 will split its story between the immediate aftermath of Season 4 and the “End of Human Civilization” about 50 years later.
The teaser also hints several times that we may be looking at some sort of simulation, rather than the show’s real world. Bernard (Wright) appears to visit the Sublime (aka, the computer server where all the Hosts escaped to in Season 2). Meanwhile, all those creepy flies feel like the Westworld equivalent of a dream sequence.
So maybe we shouldn’t give up hope just yet, but then again, considering Westworld’s track record, it won’t be a huge surprise if Season 4 squanders the best part of Season 3.
Westworld Season 4 premieres June 26 on HBO.