"Westworld" finally returns to HBO Sunday, and that means it's time to catch up on all the fan theories you were googling after every episode when Season 1 wowed viewers in back in 2016.
Yes, it's been that long since we first ventured into the futuristic amusement park full of robots entertaining human visitors, while some simultaneously began exploring the limits of their artificial intelligence and consciousness.
Theories were rampant, and many proved to be spot on -- so many, in fact, executive producers (and television power couple) Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy even said they were considering releasing a video revealing every plot point of Season 2 so that the fans coming up with these theories could stop themselves from accidentally spoiling the show for others. Thankfully, that turned out to be a big joke, so yes, we can still look forward to the world collectively clamoring for answers every time the credits roll this season.
But in order to properly postulate remotely accurate predictions, we need to be caught up on some of the wildest theories that came out of last season, plus clues the creators have already given us about Season 2. Let's dive in.
Samurai World Doesn't Exist -- But This Park Does
Many people thought that when the Japanese warriors burst in to the compound, that the new world presented in the new season would be called Samurai World. However, the correct term used in the script is "Shogun World," which refers to "a term for military commanders in feudal Japan," as explained in Esquire.
The Season 1 finale only showed us a glimpse of the Shogun World that is no doubt going to be large part of the second season. However, the world might even play a larger role than we imagined, considering we saw glimpses of the new world in the trailer.
Ford Is Still Alive
One of the most complex characters in the show is of course Westworld creator Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins. In the end of Season 1, Dolores shot him, however, there are theories that Ford is still alive.
There's no denying Ford had many secrets and if he is still living, people believe that he might come back as a robot/host. If that theory proves be a bust, people think that the robot host version of Ford was the one that was killed.
Harper's Bazaar explained that the creators have hinted at this theory, making it that much more plausible. If Ford built a host version of himself before he "died," then this could mean it is possible that the host Ford was the one Dolores shot. In a Facebook Live, the creators mentioned that this theory was "really, really good."
As the "God" figure of the park, it wouldn't make sense to have Ford be completely dead just yet. Right?
At the end of Season 1, Maeve (Thandie Newton) was about to board a train to the world beyond the park -- but then decided to turn back to hunt for her lost daughter (well, a host that was programmed to be her daughter in another storyline). Was that of her own free will, though? While it seems like she made a human decision, fans discovered that her code says "override func," suggesting that her ability to appear to be conscious is just more code. As independent as she seems, it appears someone is still making decisions for her.
Fortunately, it sounds like we may find out who this season.
"We're so close at looking at the real world, yet audiences never make it there. That mystery will be solved directly in Season 2," co-creator Jonathan Nolan told EW while discussing that scene when Maeve almost escaped.
Hosts Are in Control of the Park Now -- But Their Revolution Won't Be Easy
Season 1 ended with hosts rising up against their human oppressors, so it's pretty obvious Season 2 is all about the revolution, but the robotic heroes will face obstacles from outside and inside the park. If all hosts are developing the ability to think for themselves, that doesn't mean they'll be on the same page.
"The hosts are revolting and Dolores is leading this revolt," Joy told EW. "But not everybody in the revolution is on the same page. There are hosts out there from last season, the Confederados. They're not good guys. They're a bad rogue army and it's not like their personalities have dramatically changed since Dolores killed Ford. There are formidable antagonists inside the world, and there's going to be pressure from outside the world because there are certain fail-safes within Westworld."
"This is a season about being on the other foot," Nolan added. "The power is with the hosts. This is now their world. Dolores, by the end of the first season, she has remembered a great deal. She was at the mercy of her memories."
"As she announces early in this season, she remembers everything. As she remembers everything, we explore some of those memories with her. Her plan, her goal, is not as simple as escape or domination. It's a longer, harder goal she has in mind and this is the first step along the way."
The Outside World And Other Worlds Will Play A Larger Role
"If we were to describe the show as one camera angle, it would be a steady pull out revealing more and more context," Nolan described the new season. "So as the hosts learn more about their world—and other worlds, and the real world—the audience is doing the same thing."
"This year is much more of a road show -- Sweetwater isn't home anymore," the showrunner continued, teasing that leaving behind Westworld is only the beginning into where and when the real world begins. "These hosts don't live on the same time frame we do and don't have the four-year life span of replicants [like in Blade Runner]. If left to their own devices, they could live forever. So our story has some real scope to it."
Beyond Shogun World and Westworld, many speculate another world exists. As we see in the trailer, Dolores seems to be in a very futuristic world. Some theorize this could be Furtureworld, which is a nod to the 1976 "Westworld" movie sequel. Or perhaps it's simply the real world outside of the high-tech amusement park.
You can even see footage from the fictional Delos company on their (fictional) website. The piece of online marketing is loaded with easter eggs, including the fact that the show takes place in 2052. Westworld and Shogun World are listed, while multiple worlds seem to be under construction on the site.
The Parks and Delos' Ultimate Plan Will Come To Light
There are predictions that the secret plan of Delos will come to light this season. One of these theories involves drone hosts or those creepy, white robots in the trailer.
"The drone hosts relate to the corporation's secret project which is hidden in plain sight in this park," Nolan explained to EW. "As we talked about in the pilot, the park is one thing for the guests, and it's another thing for its shareholders and management -- something completely different. We've used the Google analogy -- for consumers, it's for search and email, yet for the company, it's for advertising."
"There is an agenda here that Delos has undertaken for a very long time," the writer-producer continued. "As Bernard is making his way through the wreckage of the fallout from the first season, he's discovering things about the park that even he doesn't know and coming upon creatures like the drone host."