Westworld: Evan Rachel Wood would “love to see the original Dolores again”

Westworld season 3 was a wild, wild ride. And I think most of us can agree that it restored the hype we felt for the first season.

With three seasons under its belt and a fourth season on the way, many of us are wondering what’s next for the hosts of Westworld, sentient machines tired of serving their human masters. Recently, Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy) spoke to Gold Derby about the series, and what changes season 3 brought forth.

One of the biggest changes came in the form of Aaron Paul, who played a down-on-his-luck human named Caleb who joined Dolores’ revolution. “Obviously, we all know how talented he is,” Wood said. “I could sort of tell by watching him that we had similar acting styles and I was right, we both have a very similar work ethic in how we approach characters. We like to have fun on-set and keep things light and keep the energy up, keep people’s spirits up. It’s a really, really hard show to work on. The hours are absolutely brutal. The timeframe in which we have to do everything is very small, so we really, really push ourselves to the limit. So he was a wonderful addition to have.”

Admittedly, I was hoping that Dolores and Caleb were going to get together, but their dynamic was always shifting as the third season went on. “I think everyone was shipping us at the beginning of the season but really, it’s a more maternal relationship, it’s kind of a Sarah Conner-John dynamic where she sees something in him that he’s unaware of and I think she needs to protect him at all costs.”

Apart from Paul joining the series, there were a lot of changes the plot itself. This was the season the hosts finally left Westworld and brought the fight to the mainland, which was a big change for Wood and all of her colleagues:

I think one of the fun, unique things about the show is that it’s always reinventing itself. I know it’s the vision of the creators to wipe the slate clean every season, in a way, throw away the sets and start over with a new set of rules. But I think we all were always under the impression that we would eventually be leaving the park. I know we were all eager to see the world outside of the park to get a better idea of where we were and what we were dealing with, but of course it’s daunting because we loved the park, we loved the Western element of the show but I think what’s so cool about it is the dichotomy of both.

Westworld is a complicated show, so much so that sometimes it doesn’t make sense to a lot of viewers. Are we in the present? The past? Is this just a memory embedded in the host’s mind? And so on. The series definitely trips us up any opportunity it gets. We can’t ever really be sure when it’s messing with us.

So are the actors as confused as the viewers? Or do they get a tutorial ahead of time? “Everything [creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy] do is really there for a reason,” Wood assures us. “Even the idea of these two main characters, Maeve and Dolores, being pitted against each other in Season 3, the idea behind that being corrupt systems take the good people that are slaves to those systems and turn them against each other. That is how corrupt systems stay in control. So the metaphor of the two of them fighting I thought was quite beautiful and really poignant to where we are now and this idea that we’re not in control of our destinies we talked about a lot, really delving into… obviously, consciousness is one of the main themes of the show but I think this season was really about destiny and whether or not we are truly in control of it or not and whether or not we really are free and also this idea of a revolution.”

So it’s good to know that there’s always a plan in place, but if it makes you feel any better, Wood doesn’t learn what’s going on any faster than the rest of us:

I find out episode to episode. I have a general idea but we really don’t know the big surprises. We find out in the same way that the audience finds out, which makes the show twice as hard to work on. Normally, you’re given your arc and you’re able to craft something and piece something together and see where you’re going and plot it out, and in this, you really just have to live in the moment and surrender to the creators, which sounds like I’m a host (laughs). But it is kind of like that.

John Gallagher Jr., Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul in Westworld Season 3. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO

If we thought trying to figure out what the heck is going on at home is difficult, can you imagine having to play this stuff on set? It’s a testament to the cast and crew that they can keep the thread. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the series, Evan Rachel Wood, and her costars are usually noticed come award season.

“It means a lot,” Wood said. “This role has meant so much to me. We’ve been doing the show for five years now. Like I said, everyone really pours everything that they have into this. Ask anybody, any department that works on the show, they’ll tell you it’s probably the hardest thing they’ve ever worked on. That recognition and the recognition for the rest of the cast and the crew I think is incredible and it’s well-deserved. It’s special for me because I love this character.”

Sometimes I love to hate her (laughs). I love all of the different elements. I love that she’s certainly not one-dimensional and there seems to be infinite possibilities for her. She’s fiercely intelligent. She’s very strong but she’s incredibly vulnerable. She’s versatile. She’s everything all at once. I can’t wait to see where she goes from here and I’m just every day so grateful that I’ve been able to embody her and bring her to life and play her. I think she’ll be one of the crown jewels of my career, for sure.

Finally, Wood talked just a little bit about her hopes for season 4. At the end of season 3,

I love Dolores now, I love all the different iterations of her even if they’re difficult at times. But I would love to see her original, the original Dolores again, her original make and model. I think that’s her core code. I think that’s who she really is. I know she was merged with Wyatt against her will so I would love to see her being able to choose who she is and what she wants to be and see that sweet side of her again. I think she’s had to bury it for so long to get her mission completed. One day it would be nice to see Season 1 Dolores, the one that we originally fell in love with. I miss her sometimes.

We miss her, too.

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