Few characters have died more than Teddy on HBO’s award-winning drama “Westworld,” so imagine the shock Austin audiences felt when James Marsden showed up, alive and in-person, to confirm the beloved character’s return in Season 4.
During the ATX TV Festival’s Closing Night panel for the series, Marsden made a surprise appearance when he stood up in the theater and posed a direct question to the panelists: “Will Teddy come back in Season 4?” Co-creator Lisa Joy, who was on stage for the discussion, confirmed his return to a chorus of deafening cheers.
A bit of background: In the first season of “Westworld,” Teddy Flood (played by Marsden) was a classic hero. His love for Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) led him to rescue her (or try to) time and time again, which also meant he would fail to rescue her just as often, if not more so. Any park visitor who donned a black hat saw Teddy as the enemy, and he suffered the consequences an incalculable number of times.
He was, after all, a host. And hosts are built to serve the guests — again, and again, and again.
But in Season 2, when Dolores tried to lead a host rebellion, she changed Teddy’s programming to make him more aggressive. He became her enforcer, doling out death instead of succumbing to it. But the new directive didn’t click. Teddy couldn’t handle the harm he inflicted, and eventually killed himself in front of Dolores. In Season 3, Teddy (and Marsden) did not appear.
How he fits into Season 4 is being kept under wraps, but the “Westworld” team — represented by Joy, Wood, executive producer Allison Schapker, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Hemsworth, Angela Sarafyan, and new cast member Aurora Perrineau — did reveal a number of curious facets for the upcoming episodes.
For one, Dolores — who died in the Season 3 finale — really is dead. Wood returns as a character named Christina, living in a city that looks a lot like New York and who’s friends with Ariana DeBose’s yet-to-be-named new character.
“She’s a normal woman living in a big city just trying to make it as a writer,” Wood said of Christina. “Nothing ever happens to her. […] I think that’s all I can say.”
Yet Wood went on to say that Christina is trying to date, but “it’s slim pickings out there,” even when Christina is “not as maniacal and murdery as Dolores.”
While not named, Perrineau’s new character was revealed in a clip exclusive to ATX TV Festival attendees, where she picks up Stubbs (Hemsworth) and Bernard (Wright) after a violent confrontation outside a diner. The two hosts need help, and despite her wariness, she seems agreeable to their plan.
Perrineau said she was slightly intimidated about jumping into such a high-profile series filled with secrets. But she felt right at home when, on her first day shooting, Wright and Hemsworth just kept cracking jokes.
“I was actually really scared,” she said, “but then I was like, ‘Oh, everyone’s nice!’ It was really fun to jump in.”
“Aurora kicks ass,” Wright said of his new co-star.
“Way better than Jeffrey,” Hemsworth said.
While Aaron Paul, Thandiwe Newton, and Ed Harris were not in attendance, Joy said the new season picks up seven years after the end of Season 3. “Maeve is on a warrior’s journey,” she said. “They’ve gone on with their lives after being freed by Dolores.”
After depicting a future version of Los Angeles in Season 3, Season 4 shot in New York City, Cabo, Big Bear (in California), and at the Hoover Dam.
“To be honest, we were surprised they let us [shoot there,]” Joy said of the nearly 100-year-old damn on the border of Nevada and Arizona.
“Westworld” Season 4 premieres Sunday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Check out the new key art — which Joy mocked up herself using scotch tape — below.
Courtesy of HBO