“What’s it mean?” Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) asks fellow robot–attractive person Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) early on in the latest trailer for Westworld’s second season. It’s a pretty loaded question, to be honest. The first season of HBO’s latest megahit might as well have scrawled “WHAT’S IT MEAN?” in neon letters across the theme park’s picturesque mountain ranges, inviting eagle-eyed fans to investigate the show’s quite literal puzzle box and other mysteries at the center. J.J. Abrams didn’t create Westworld (he is an executive producer, though) but his puzzle-obsessed DNA was all over that first season.
But hey, the cats are out of the bag now: Bernard was revealed to be a robot, there were two timelines with the Man in Black, and A.I. has entered full-rebellion, destroy-all-humans mode. There’s no way there’ll be more puzzles to solve in Season 2, right?
Oh, Jesus Christ. “All-new Rubik’s Cube narrative puzzle box” are seven very daunting words.
The good news is that Reddit was extremely good at predicting Westworld’s biggest twists last season, to the point that simply reading fan theories was like reading spoilers. It was also, frankly, a bit intimidating: Who are these keyboard geniuses solving all of Westworld’s mysteries with barely any clues to work with? Who are these people who zoom in on a Season 2 poster and find a bunch of barely visible numbers, and then immediately realize the numbers translate into a video link? Could I ever hope to be one of them?
Well, might as well try. Entering full Zach Galifianakis Hangover meme mode, I have parsed through the latest trailer and I now have all the answers—either that or I just noticed a lot of really nice-looking rocks and stuff that have no bearing on the show’s plot. You’re welcome!
Delos Incorporated Has a NolanWorld
The trailer opens with Bernard waking up, having passed out on a beach somewhere. A few potential takeaways: Bernard might have gotten hammered after Anthony Hopkins’s character—his mentor-creator—was shot in the head by Dolores in last season’s finale. That would mess up a robo-person! (Can these robots get drunk? They are very convincing humans.) Alternatively, Bernard says later that this was just a dream of his—less interesting, but plausible.
Or this is all a subtle Easter egg to viewers to confirm that Delos has some parks with unexpected themes, and this was our first glimpse at NolanWorld? The waves? Passing out next to the ocean? I don’t need Hans Zimmer letting off an airhorn in my ear to feel the Inception vibes here.
Would the existence of NolanWorld be a bit too ridiculous and meta? Christopher Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, is one of the show’s cocreators—and yes, maybe he’s just throwing in a cheeky reference to his brother’s movie. But it is also possible that Maeve (Thandie Newton)—in her desperate search for her daughter—will run into robot Matthew McConaughey on his own parental search across the cosmos for MURPH.
There Are Three Timelines This Season
Look to the left of Dolores here. What do you see?
[Blade Runner voice] Enhance.
Those are two rocks, and what appears to be a third rock in the middle, just below them. Clearly, the two rocks that are horizontally aligned are meant to represent Westworld’s two timelines in the first season. The third rock—the one that’s a little closer to the rock on the right, and below the first two rocks—means that there’s a third timeline in play this time around. It won’t be several decades in the past like last season’s timeline, but based on its proximity to the “present-day” rock, it will probably only be a few years prior.
It could also be three rocks.
Humans Will Even the Playing Field
Observe this cemetery.
Pretty spooky, huh? Well, in total there are 14 crosses on the ground, and 14 gray tombstones. The number isn’t a coincidence.
The crosses are meant to represent the robots—they are reborn, like Christ, every time a human visitor kills them. The tombstones? That is the essence of mortality—a human characteristic the robots do not have. The fact there are an even amount of crosses and tombstones means that mankind—while currently under attack by Dolores and the other robots—will even the playing field somehow. (I can’t tell you how exactly; I’m not a psychic, just a really smart observer.)
Also, it could be a nice, symmetrical amount of tombstones and crosses.
Tom Cruise Will Cameo
Looks like Dolores has an army! Could that army include Tom Cruise?
The creators of Westworld have spared no expense, and in this particular shot there is a particularly noteworthy butt of a dead person, sprawled to the bottom left of Dolores. Allow me to posit that this is no ordinary butt—it is Tom Cruise’s butt, the one that single-handedly made the 2008 movie Valkyrie relevant in 2017.
hello, please, i present the theory that for one single shot in Valkyrie (2008), at 5:12, tom cruise wears a fake butt. observe: pic.twitter.com/Tw6yTbsQUe— swizz keats (@iluvbutts247) August 20, 2017
Also, this could just be an oddly voluptuous butt.
Only Two Seasons of Westworld Remain
Don’t be fooled by this gorgeous mountain pass and the stunning shadows this particular angle evokes. The cliff on the left is practically screaming to you, “There are only two seasons of Westworld left after this!”
The cliff appears to be holding up two (admittedly deformed) fingers. I’m no cliff expert, but cliffs don’t typically count. The creators know that there’s only so many Rubik’s Cube narrative puzzle boxes they can throw at their viewers, so they’re letting the smartest of the smart (me) know well in advance that this ride will end after two more seasons.
Also, it could totally just be a weird-looking cliff.
Westworld Season 2 premieres April 22 on HBO—and now you’ve got all the answers you could’ve hoped for.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.