Is humanity worth saving?

Aaron Paul in a scene from Westworld Season 3. (Photos © HBO Asia)
After almost two years since Westworld last aired, the HBO sci-fi thriller's long-awaited third season is finally here. Thai viewers will be able to watch the new season via MONOMAX. Viewers also can wait until the streaming service HBO GO launches on March 30, where the new episodes, as well as past seasons, will be available.
Westworld Season 3 covers more ground and scenarios such as the future in Los Angeles and the horrifying Nazi camps of the past. We also see the return of the wonderful main cast from Evan Rachel Wood, Tessa Thompson and Luke Hemsworth as well as some new cast members including Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul. Created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, Westworld has become one of the most beloved shows for sci-fi fans around the world for its unsettling tech-driven dystopian future, often built on mystery and complex storytelling.
"Yeah, we opened a complex and continuous kind of threat that builds mystery and reveals some answers. And so, part of the fun is setting things up and having them pay off where you might not expect it," said Lisa Joy, the show's co-creator and screenwriter during a roundtable interview where she and Nolan along with other cast members appeared at a recent press junket in Los Angeles.
"That's something we do with a bit of pre-planning. But John and I have always looked at this show as a whole, not as this season versus that season. We think of it as a whole story. It is something that is beyond those boundaries and so, you know, it's fun for us to be able to read those elements, through multiple seasons."
Season two of Westworld ended in rather confusing fashion and you might want to revisit the previous seasons again to get ready for a new story. We remember that Evan Rachel Wood's vengeful character Dolores Abernathy escaped the park for the first time and headed out into the real world, in Los Angeles circa 2050.
Evan Rachel Wood in a scene from Westworld Season 3. (HBO Asia)
"Yes, ultimately, she escaped. And now she gets to rocks it," said Rachel Wood who plays Dolores in the show, one of the oldest hosts working in the park, who later comes to discover that her entire life is an elaborately constructed lie.
"She's a fish out of water and now she's exploring the world around her. I don't think she knows what she's going to do yet. I think now is the first time she really gets to make a choice. And for her, the choices are to save or destroy humanity."
One of the trailers for the new season that got fans excited was of footage that shed additional light on a new character, Caleb, played by Aaron Paul and his strange connection to Dolores.
"What intrigues her about Caleb is he seems to be one of the only people that are still able to make a choice in a world where free will seems to have been stripped away from everyone," said Rachel Wood. "And there's something intriguing about that I think she wants to explore. She wants to know why he's like that and I think she will uncover that and more."
Aaron Paul himself also has something to say about his new role. "His [Caleb] purpose, according to what they told me, is that the show wants the audience to have someone to hold on to that lives in this society, lives in this futuristic world and outside of the park," he said. "And also, to give Dolores sort of a different look at the human race as a whole, like, is there hope for humanity, out there?"
Paul also revealed that he's a massive fan of the show, and is still tripping out on the fact that he's now a part of it. "I feel incredibly blessed, you know, to be able to work with the likes of Lisa and Jonah. I was such a fan of the first two seasons when I got the phone call. I had already seen the second season twice, just because maybe I wasn't as focused," he laughed.
"And so I sat down with them and, and they kind of gave me the arc of who Caleb is and gave me his backstory, where he was heading this season, the broad strokes of what was going on, what it's like to live in this futuristic society being a working-class guy. It was to provide a point of view for the audience and society."
Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale. (HBO Asia)
Thompson also talked about the joy she had to return as Charlotte Hale. "It's interesting when you talk about things that are set in the future because I've had this conversation with Jonah about how they have a responsibility to show the future in speculative fiction as it might be. However, I think you also have the opportunity to show the future as it could or should be."
"I like the show in that we're presenting complicated ideas around gender. Like playing Charlotte, you get to see a depiction of someone that isn't entirely comfortable in their own skin and what that feels like. I think there are many people -- because of the confines of gender -- that are born into bodies that don't feel like their own. So I think it's helpful to be engaging with content that has access to some of those really complicated questions that make us rethink old notions, old ways of being and categorising things. So to me, that was hopeful."
Despite Westworld being a very science-fiction show that deals with technology and the direction it is heading, some of the cast surprisingly aren't fans of technology or social media.
"I have a love and hate relationship with technology. I think maybe all of us do, I don't know. I don't use a computer and I haven't owned a computer for over 10 years," said Paul. "I used to own a computer and it got stolen. And then I just kept putting off buying a new computer and then I realised, 'oh, I have a lot more time on my hands', you know, and I enjoyed that."
Luke Hemsworth, the actor who's also returning as head of Westworld security Ashley Stubbs, couldn't agree more about the downside of social media.
"I'm always overwhelmed by just how much information controls our life and how much information about us is out there that we're constantly putting out there," said Hemsworth.
"Well, I use Instagram, and that's about the only thing that I use. I casually use it for work and sometimes I use it to just take pictures of bugs and little weird animals. I feel like it becomes a soul sucker."
Wood also has interesting thoughts on the subject and about the show she's been working with since 2016.
"I think one of the things that's amazing about the show is that it is able to give a visual representation of technology and its dangers as well as its beauty and the fact that it can offer access to knowledge and to people leading to deeper connections unlike we have ever had before," she pointed out before adding a little joke to end the session.
"And have you heard about this new neck wrinkle that everyone's getting from looking down too much at their phones?" she laughed. "It's true! Our pinky is starting to dense in a weird form, and that freaked me out."



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