Evan Rachel Wood knows about as much as fans when it comes to what Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan had up their sleeves for the final season of their hit HBO series — which is to say, she knows nothing at all.
Wood, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of her New York stage debut as Audrey in the off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors, revealed during the sit-down that she had asked the Westworld creators about where the show was headed following the season four finale, “Que Sera Sera.” In it, humanity — and most sentient life — essentially ends after a season that saw the park androids seizing control, flipping the power scales to control humans the way hosts once were.
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After a series of moves that saw virtually the entire main cast die, Wood’s character Dolores — the original park’s oldest continuous host and its first to achieve self-awareness — is left with the chance to give humanity one final shot. “A few may escape death for a few months. Maybe even years. But ultimately, their kind will go extinct,” she says in a sweeping finale monologue. “They will only live as long as the last creature who remembers them. And that creature is me.”
On a mission to see her love, Teddy (James Marsden), and test humanity’s second chance in the Sublime (a digital plane of existence made by Westworld’s creator), the show teased one go around the loop, based on Dolores’s vision for a new world. Speaking to THR back in 2022, Joy expressed why, despite the season four finale having its own kind of poetic goodbye, there was still room, in her eyes, for another Westworld season.
Now, Wood — whose character was central to the series and the direction of the show’s last slate of episodes — tells THR that the abruptness of the cancellation was tough for both the cast and the audience due to the nature of how Nolan and Joy reveal a story.
“It was devastating in a lot of ways because, first of all, they don’t tell us where the show is going. We were just always told, ‘We know how the show ends,’ when we started,” Wood explains. “They weren’t writing it as we went along. They had an idea, and we were all just on a bed of nails waiting to see and hear what the conclusion of this was. What it all meant.
“We didn’t get to have that and so after building an arc and a character for almost 10 years and not getting the payoff at the end to see where it was all going — I think for us and the audience, it was awful in a lot of ways,” Wood adds.
With the story seemingly at the end of the road, Wood said she reached out to Joy and Nolan to see where they might have taken the show. But neither would reveal their endgame.
“I asked the creators after we got canceled, ‘Can you please just tell me how you’re going to end?’ And they wouldn’t tell me,” Wood says, laughing. “I think because, I don’t know, maybe somehow, someway, in some iteration we’ll get to finish it, but I still don’t know. It does still keep me up at night.”
“I’d be lying to you if I told you that the way we ended Westworld wasn’t a disappointment,” Marsden said. “I’m never going to speak without gratitude about any of my experiences, but it would have been nice to be able to complete the story we wanted to finish. I love this Westworld family. It was one of those unique opportunities to be part of something where I also would be sitting at home ravenously waiting for the next episode as a fan.”
The actor added that while he understood the financial conversations around the show’s production, “big shows have to have big audiences to merit the expense.
“I just wish it was about more than financial success,” he continued. “But who knows — maybe there’s some world where it can get completed somehow. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking because I know we had plans to finish it the way we wanted to.”
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