Westworld’s most shocking fan theories ahead of the season 3 premiere

The HBO series returns for a third season on NOW TV, which means it is time to dive into Reddit and Twitter for some mind-bending fan theories that might help make sense of the show.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 17 March 2020 - 1.19pm
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Westworld season is streaming on NOW TV from March 16th

Sci-fi and fantasy series such as Doctor Who and Game of Thrones lend themselves to TV fans who enjoy guessing what might happen next in a TV show.

And nail-biting twisty-turny thrillers like Like of Duty and Bodyguard are twice as much fun if you have wild WhatsApp groups trying to piece together clues.

However, HBO's Westworld must take the prize as the number-one show for a generation of TV fans who love living and breathing a series.

Nothing else can beat it for generating the most wild Reddit threads, outlandish theories and fan-made YouTube videos more complex than some university dissertations.

Westworld season 3 key art - The New World

It helps that every scene in Westworld feels like it holds a heavy weight of significance. From the hefty poetic speeches to the densely packed, multiple timelines playing out simultaneously, Westworld isn’t a series for the faint-hearted, but for those willing to invest in the universe, it more than rewards your investment.

The nearly two-year wait for season 3 is finally over and fans will be hoping to get some answers to their questions: what is in Charlotte’s purse, what was really happening to the Man in Black and are we really about to get a glimpse of the ‘real’ world?

To get you up to speed, here are all the best fan theories ahead of the season 3 premiere.

Who is Dolores/Charlotte carrying in her bag?

Tessa Thompson as 'Charlotte Hale' in Westworld season 3 Home Box Office, Inc.

One of biggest questions comes from the moment in the season two finale The Passenger, when we saw Dolores – in the body of Charlotte – heading off on a boat with five Host pearls in her bag

But which Host consciousness did Dolores decide to bring with her for the next stage of her battle? One of them was definitely Bernard as we saw her rebuild him in the closing scenes in the compound.

We saw the body of Charlotte with Dolores and Bernard at the end, but we don’t know if it was the mind of the Delos employee in her body. So there is the potential for four Hosts to return in the new season and we expect they won’t be identified or revealed at the start of episode 1.

So who might Dolores have chosen to take with her? Abernathy? Clementine? Angela?

One theory that Dolores and Teddy fans will be hoping for is that one of the pearls is Teddy Flood. This is backed up by the shot in the trailer of Dolores and Charlotte curled up together in the same position that Dolores lay with Teddy after he died.

James Marsden as Teddy Flood in Westworld Home Box Office, Inc.

Another fan theory is that one of them is the Man in Black, William, who Dolores might have wanted to bring with her for punishment. But all the pearls were black – so they should belong to hosts - which means that theory may be a non-starter.

Is The New World actually the real world?

Westworld season 3 - First look images Home Box Office, Inc.

The expectation built at the end of season two was that we were about to see Dolores and Bernard head into the real world to do battle with the differing philosophies. But Westworld fans have learned the hard way never to take things at face value.

We know season 3 is going to include our first look at some of the other parks, including a World War II Park and possibly a Medieval Park. But what if there is yet another park we’re going to see this season – Futureworld?

And what if all that footage we’ve seen of Aaron Paul’s new character with Dolores isn’t happening in the real world, but in a futuristic park?

The HBO Universe theory

Westworld season 2 Home Box Office, Inc.

What if we see the Hosts enter a new park at the end of season three featuring dragons and White Walkers? And there’s another door which takes you into the Prohibition Era? And there’s another Park starring Larry David.

Yes, one fan has suggested that Westworld will connect every popular HBO series in a Marvel-style universe.

We’ve heard some crazy Westworld theories in our time, but this one may have taken things too far.

Westworld is on the moon

Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore and Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay Home Box Office, Inc.

This Reddit theory has been regularly debunked, but that doesn’t stop it coming around again and again and again.  Like a Host in a recurring loop.

It fits in with the idea that we’re not going to actually see the real world in the new series and Dolores and Bernard have just entered another park. We’re not saying we would be disappointed if the final scenes of Westworld - when it eventually finishes - would be underwhelming if they revealed that this had all taken place on the Moon. But we’d be highly surprised.

Who is testing The Man in Black?

Ed Harris as the Man in Black Home Box Office, Inc.

The post-credit sequence of season two was a baffling final twist piled on top of an episode that had already got us all scratching our heads.

We saw a host version of The Man in Black failing to change his path, seemingly after making numerous attempts to correct his story.

The creators confirmed that this part of the timeline takes place some way in the future, but who placed William in this situation and what are they trying to achieve remains unclear. But there are three main schools of thought.

One, that this was done by Dolores as some sort of punishment, placing William’s consciousness in a Host body to live out the same mistakes over and over again.

The second theory is that it may been done by Bernard or some other form of resistance who are hoping that the Man in Black can break his loop and help in the battle against Dolores.

And the third possibility is that William placed his own consciousness in a Host either as a way of punishing himself or in the hope that he could eventually break the system and change the events that led to him killing his own daughter.

We haven't seen the last of Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins as Robert Ford, the co-founder and Park Director of Westworld Home Box Office, Inc.

They’ve brought him back from the dead before, so why not again?

Ford is such a cornerstone to the story of Westworld that it would be odd if he didn’t make at least a cameo appearance in the third season.

However, the fan theory that Ford still remains in control of everything going on gets harder to square as the series gets more elaborate and spreads into new worlds featuring even more characters.

We’d love at least one more lengthy speech from Hopkins though.

Ashley Stubbs is a Host/Ashley Stubbs is a human

Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs, head of Westworld security Home Box Office, Inc.

This is less a theory about the fan favourite character and more of a debate about which way we should interpret his cryptic conversation in the Passenger episode.

It was a long-held belief by many that Stubbs was a Host and his words to Charlotte about a “core drive” and his special appointment by Ford appeared to be him nudging and winking that he was the same kind as her.

But the other theory is that Stubbs just sympathises with the Hosts after working with them for so long and that this was a double-bluff from the writers.

Apparently his conversation with Charlotte was changed the day before shooting by the writers, so it clearly has some significance to the overall direction of the show.

Watch Westworld on Sky Atlantic with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.

Season 3 premieres on Monday March 16.

You can catch up on the Westworld season 1 and 2 Box Set on NOW TV.  

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