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'Westworld' Season 4 Sees Evan Rachel Wood Playing a New Character and the Return of James Marsden

'My mom always wanted me to write rom-coms and this is as close as I got,' Lisa Joy said at the ATX Television Festival.
by Danielle Turchiano — 
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Evan Rachel Wood in 'Westworld'

HBO

Dolores is dead. Long live Evan Rachel Wood.

When Season 3 of Westworld ended, everyone's favorite former theme park host-turned-vigilante of sorts met her demise, and that is not an ending the show will rewrite when Season 4 premieres June 26 on HBO. 

When the show returns, it is seven years in the future from where we last left events, and although Dolores freed everyone, "hosts are still around," co-creator, executive producer, writer and director Lisa Joy said at the ATX Television Festival on June 4.

But not Dolores. Instead, Wood is playing an entirely new character.

Her name is Christina, and Wood noted she is just a "normal woman living in a big city, just trying to make it as a writer, and nothing ever happens to her really."

Obviously, if you've seen the season trailer, that last part is a joke. But the writer part is true: she is living in New York and roommates with a character played by Ariana DeBose. (The show filmed in New York City, but also in Cabo and the Hoover Dam.) And Wood shared she based some of her character on Joy herself.

"Sometimes when you're pitching you do movements with your hands, so when my character this season was pitching, I would try to coordinate my Lisa Joy gestures," Wood said to Joy.

"My mom always wanted me to write rom-coms and this is as close as I got," Joy added. Part of Christina's journey is dating, and that is where she encounters a man who looks a lot like Teddy (played by James Marsden, who announced his return to the show at the event).

"Sometimes you have to go away to come back," said Marsden. "From the beginning I didn't know really where it was all going to go, but I'm happy it's ending up where it is."

Joy shared that she believes "many a nerdy writer" has spent writing a lot of time watching Marsden's movies, imagining a scene with him romancing them, and here, she got to write that scene.

And for what it's worth, Wood said that she didn't know where her job was going at the end of Season 3 when she was told Dolores was going to die. When she asked what that would mean for her, Joy and co-creator Jonathan Nolan said, "You'll be back next season and you'll look a lot like Evan Rachel Wood."

"I think we promised you no corsets. We were trying to bribe you to come back," Joy said.

Another new character is played by new cast member Aurora Perrineau, although she couldn't share her character name just yet. However, Jeffrey Wright said right off the top that she "kicks ass," just like Angela Sarafyan and Thandiwe Newton.

And this was evident from her entrance to the show: In a specially-screened clip, Perrineau's character encounters Bernard (Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) when she is called out to a remote diner to pick up two men who are part of a mysterious cause. Only Bernard, who has been "given the gift of prophecy," as Stubbs calls it in the clip, gets there first. He can see what's to come, so he knows those men are actually luring her to a trap, and he takes them out so he can cut a deal with her instead.

Of her first scene, Perrineau said it was hot out so she "was sweating and then I was stress-sweating, so I was double sweating."

Of Bernard's story, Wright said, "It's all a rabbit hole inside of a rabbit hole and Bernard is doing Alice again. ... There was a mystery as to where he was, where he was going, what he would find, and if he did emerge, where he would be."

Although Newton was not in attendance, writer and executive producer Alison Schapker shared that her journey this season is a warrior's one.

"The thematic questions are, Dolores freed everybody in Season 3 and is that going to last? We pick up a few years later, and if Maeve has to pick a side, what would she do?" she said.

Westworld currently has a 72 Metascore. Season 4, which has not yet been made available for review, will premiere June 26 at 9 p.m. and also stream on HBO Max.