The first season of robot cowboy drama Westworld was a massive hit for HBO, and arguably the first show to finally look like it might be the 'next Game of Thrones' that everybody's been waiting for. Unfortunately, it took the company a grand total of three years to make that first series - and while the wait for season 2 isn't quite as long, it's still not going to be a show that premieres once a year like clockwork.
So when is Westworld back on our TV screens for its second season, and where will you be able to watch it when it does return?
When is Westworld season 2?
Westworld will be back on our screens very soon: the second season kicks off this weekend, on 22 April 2018, so now's the time to sign up to watch it.
Although HBO commissioned a second season while the first was still airing in November 2016, it made clear at the time that it would need more than a year to make the second series, hence the long wait.
Where can you watch it?
Westworld is made by HBO, so if you're in the US, that's where you've got to watch it. For the UK, as with most big HBO shows, that means it airs on Sky Atlantic, and season 2 will be no exception.
If you don't have Sky already that means you'd have to sign up for one of its TV bundles to watch the show live, but there is another (cheaper) way: Now TV. This streaming service boasts Sky content - including Westworld - so you'll be able to watch Westworld season 2 episodes whenever you want as the show airs, and the Entertainment Pass costs just £7.99 a month, with a 14-day free trial.
Conveniently, Now TV also currently has the first season of Westworld available to stream, so it's also ideal if you missed it the first time around, or just want to refresh your memory of the labyrinthine plotting.
Westworld will be available to stream on Now TV from 23 April at 2am (which is the same time as it airs in the US).
Watch the trailers
The first look we got at season two is the trailer unveiled at Comic-Con 2017, which is embedded at the top of this article or right here. Oh, and in case you were wondering, that trailer consists entirely of footage from the first WEEK of filming, so there's an awful lot left that we're yet to see.
We get some of that extra footage in the Super Bowl 2018 spot, a longer clip that gives us a bit more of a hint at the plot and finally confirmed the show's premiere date: 22 April.
The latest - and probably final - trailer came just in time for Easter weekend, giving us our best and most detailed look yet at the show just weeks ahead of its premiere:
What can we expect from season 2?
We don't know a huge amount yet about the show's second season, but we have a few ideas.
How many episodes will there be?
As with the first season, there will be ten episodes in total.
Which characters will be back?
It looks like most of the first season's cast will be back in action - at least those whose characters survived.
Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright, and Ed Harris are all returning to the show - and are all seen in the trailers.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Jimmi Simpson will also be returning. He (SPOILERS!) was revealed in the finale to be the younger version of Ed Harris' Man in Black, and has confirmed on Twitter that he'll be back to fill in more of the details of his character's evolution.
Yessir, William will be black. I mean back.— Jimmi Simpson (@jimmisimpson) July 30, 2017
The biggest question mark right now is Anthony Hopkins, whose park creator Robert Ford was killed in the finale. That doesn't mean there's no way for the actor to return - as the same character or an android replacement - but so far both Hopkins and HBO have stayed silent.
Are there any new characters?
Unsurprisingly, yes, there will be a few new characters in the park this time. Probably the most important is a new regular, played by The Leftovers star Katja Herbers, described by Deadline as “a seasoned guest in Westworld whose latest visit comes at the park’s darkest hour”.
Meanwhile Variety reports that Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings), Fares Fares, and Betty Gabriel will all join the show. Skarsgård will be playing Karl Strand, “a white-collar guy comfortable in the field”, Fares is a new tech called Antoine Costa, and Gabriel will play Maling, a new enforcer in the park.
What's the story?
Right now, naturally we don't know too much.
The series is so secret that the showrunners even had a bit of fun with it just weeks before the season 2 premiere, teasing that fans who want to know more will be able to soon. In a stunning move intended to curb fan theories 'spoiling' the big reveals of the season, showrunner Jonathan Nolan announced a plan to prevent spoilers by, well, spoiling everything himself first.
During a Reddit AMA Nolan revealed the unusual plan: to release a video documenting every twist and turn of season two - before it all airs - so that the fans who choose to watch it can act as 'gatekeepers' for what counts as a fan theory and what counts as a spoiler, much as Game of Thrones book readers did for that show.
The idea was driven by the Reddit theorisers who correctly guessed most of the first seasons twists, which is why Nolan turned to them for this new plan, promising HBO would only do it if his post got more than 1,000 upvotes. It didn't take long for that to happen, leading Nolan to link to the video in question - but, uh, let's just say it's not exactly what he promised. Spoilers most definitely do not follow:
The official Comic-Con trailer hints that the show's robots are going to get some rather violent revenge following the events of the finale, which the Super Bowl trailer shows a bit more of, along with an intriguing hint that there may be some androids operating out in the 'real' world too.
The early trailers suggested that we might actually pay a visit to the Japanese park teased in the season one finale, confirmed in the most recent footage, which actually shows Thandie Newton's character paying a visit to the new park, along with glimpses of samurai and a geisha.
That's backed up by a secret website set up by HBO, Delos Destinations. Under the 'Experience' section that site hints at the existence of six different parks. The first is Westworld, naturally, while the second has an 'SW' logo, since confirmed to stand for Shogun World. Here's an official 'in-world' description of the park:
“For those for whom Westworld is not enough, the true connoisseur of gore can indulge their fantasies with the slash of a katana. Modeled after Japan’s Edo period, Shogun World offers a chance for guests to embrace their inner warrior, in a landscape of highest beauty and darkest horror. Let your true self take shape in the land where self-discovery is an art form.”
As for the final four parks, they're a mystery - the site only says 'reservations closed to the public'. We can guess that Medieval World and Roman World from the original film might feature, or the follow-up's Future World, but the sixth is a total mystery.