Thandie Newton Reveals First Details of Directorial Debut, Which She Also Wrote

Five years in the making, Thandie Newton is finally heading into production on her directorial debut, an indie YA adaptation for which she also penned the script. While the “Westworld” actress is keeping mum on the title of the movie, she revealed many details of the project on a recent visit to RuPaul’s podcast, “What’s the Tee? With Michelle Visage.” The project is based on a young adult novel Newton read with her daughters when they were younger, and it was her eldest daughter who suggested the book would make a great film.

“We were all in tears at the end,” said Newton. “I found out who had the rights, and it was a wonderful producer who I had talked to about making something with just the previous year by chance, and she assumed I was ringing her to ask if I could play the mother role. The leads are actually three little girls.”

Newton convinced the producer to let her write a draft, but held off on mentioning her directorial ambitions. “I knew I wanted to direct it,” she said. “But you can’t just say you want to direct when you haven’t done anything before. So through the way I wrote the script, I think it was pretty clear that I had a director’s eye. So here we are, five years later.”

Read More: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: Barry Jenkins Reveres Baldwin, Yet ‘The Movie Is a Movie’

Why such a long wait? Well, she’s been busy with her other job.

Thandie Newton, "Westworld"

Thandie Newton in “Westworld”

HBO

“It’s been tricky, because I’m an actress and that’s how I make my living and…up until very recently I haven’t been able to stop for a year, to set up a tiny film about three African-American girls,” said Newton. “It’s not an easy sell, this film. Little bit easier now, the climate has changed and there is a greater desire to see diversity everywhere, with not just what you’re seeing onscreen but stories being told, and it feels like this is the moment for it without a doubt. ‘Cause it’s about revolution. And again it’s the theme of freedom, which keeps coming up for me. Personal freedom.”

With the casting process “in the works,” Newton said she hopes to finish production before shooting begins on “Westworld” Season 3 in March, 2019. She cited the late director Jonathan Demme (whom she worked with twice, on “Beloved” and “The Truth About Charlie”) as an inspiration for the way he cast actors against type, like with Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia.”

“I’m certainly not opposed to using stars and helping people surprise themselves,” she said. “I have a feeling that the right people will gravitate towards it. I have a lot of beautiful friends in the business. So I think I might be able to ask people to come and do a few days here and there.”

As for financing, Newton said she is working with a new production company that supports women and people of color, one committed to “telling stories that need to be told, difficult stories.”

IndieWire’s Tambay Obenson first picked up on news of the project in 2013, following up on a lead from the Daily Mail in which Newton said the film was “set in Oakland and Brooklyn in the 1960s USA.” Following that thread, Discussing Film guessed that the project might be adapted from Rita Williams-Garcia’s 2010 novel titled “One Crazy Summer.” Representatives for Newton did not confirm or deny this.

Listen to Thandie Newton on RuPaul’s podcast, “What’s the Tee? With Michelle Visage?” here.

Emmys: Winners Reflect Hollywood’s Wider Lens and the Need for More Progress

This year’s crop of Emmy contenders reached a new milestone in terms of diversity of the nominees. On Monday, the list of final winners represented some significant gains but also reflected how progress comes in fits and starts. Emmy voters missed the chance to make history by giving the lead drama actress trophy to Sandra […]

Emmys Get Sentimental on the Way to Saluting ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’

Who knew that Emmy voters were such softies?

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards was supposed to be “Game of Thrones” v. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” v. “Atlanta” — but from the first award of the night, which handed Henry Winkler his first Emmy after four decades in television, voters turned it into a feel-good, four-hankie affair.

So Winkler won for “Barry.” And “The Americans,” long acclaimed but just as long ignored by Television Academy voters, got two shiny parting gifts in the form of Emmys for star Matthew Rhys and writer/creators Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg for the series’ final season. And Claire Foy scored an upset victory for “The Crown,” which will have a new actress playing an older Queen Elizabeth next year.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” said Foy when she won. And it wasn’t, if you bought the conventional wisdom that the award was likelier to go to defending champion Elisabeth Moss for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Sandra Oh for “Killing Eve” or Keri Russell for “The Americans.”

(For the record: Yes, I bought the conventional wisdom.)

But Foy was a deserving choice who also happened to be the sentimental choice, as was Rhys, and Winkler, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in the reality-competition category long dominated by “The Amazing Race” and “The Voice.”

So when “The Oscars” director Glenn Weiss decided to use his acceptance speech to propose to his girlfriend, it made perfect sense on a night that was dominated by awards that felt good. (As John Oliver later pointed out, the ceremony would have felt very different if she’d said no.)

Sure, it would have been even more sentimental to give the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series award to the final season of “Portlandia” rather than the 44th season of “Saturday Night Live” — but let’s face it, “Portlandia” was always a little too weird for voters to fully embrace, as was “Twin Peaks” in the movies/miniseries categories.

And yes, it would have been more sentimental to give the night’s final award, Outstanding Drama Series, to “The Americans” or “The Crown.” But nothing on TV has the scale and drama of “Game of Thrones” — and even though voting took place in a year in which the show wasn’t on the air, voters remembered the last season and let habit take over.

Warning to every other drama on television: At next year’s Emmys, you’ll probably be competing against the final season of “Game of Thrones.” You will not win.

As usual, the night’s trends only emerged slowly, as voters doled out mostly-expected wins for the first hour, starting with Winkler and then going into a “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” streak with consecutive wins for supporting actress Alex Borstein, director and writer Amy Sherman-Palladino and lead actress Rachel Brosnahan.

The real surprise didn’t come until almost an hour into the show, when Merritt Wever took the supporting actress in a limited series award for “Godless” over Penelope Cruz and Judith Light in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.”

In fact, “Gianni Versace” had already lost five times (it had that many nominees in the two supporting categories) by the time it won its first award, for director Ryan Murphy — but then Darren Criss won for his leading role, and as expected, “Gianni” took the Outstanding Limited Series prize.

Despite a record number of non-white nominees, and African-American winners in all four guest-acting categories at the Creative Arts Emmys, this was not a particularly diverse evening, with Regina King (“Seven Seconds”) and Thandie Newton (“Westworld”) the only winners of color in the 12 acting categories.

At the end of the night, there was almost no suspense over which show was going to win the Outstanding Comedy Series award: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” had rolled through the earlier comedy categories so easily, with only supporting-actor Tony Shalhoub not winning, that its victory was all but preordained.

But the Outstanding Drama Series category was a real question mark, because the defending champion, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” hadn’t won a single award all night, and “Game of Thrones” had only won the supporting actor award for Peter Dinklage.

But that didn’t matter. And while it might not have been the most sentimental ending to the night, it made sense and maybe even felt right. Even on a night of sentiment, there’s a place for a few dragons.

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Here’s What the Emmys Bleeped From Thandie Newton’s Acceptance Speech

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards have been fairly uneventful, but one star did get let an expletive slip during NBC’s broadcast of the award show.

Thandie Newton took the stage Monday after winning the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as the robot Maeve on HBO’s “Westworld.” In the emotional speech for her first-ever Emmy win and her second nomination, Newton thanked her daughter, Ripley, who turned 18 the day of the ceremony, as well as series creators Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan — and God.

“I don’t even believe in God but I’m going to thank her tonight,” she said. “I am so blessed. I am so blessed.

“Without this, I am even so f—king blessed,” Newton said, with the f-bomb bleeped from the broadcast.

Immediately afterward, Newton seemed to catch herself, covering her mouth.

“The cast and crew of — I can’t believe I’m here — the cast and crew of ‘Westworld,’ I love you all so much,” Newton continued. “Lisa Joy, Jonah Nolan, Home Box Office. J.J. Abrams, our guardian angel.”

HBO’s sci-fi series about robots who gain sentience and the less-than-nice rich people who exploit them in a theme park, “Westworld” was up for five Emmys during the ceremony, including the award for Outstanding Drama Series. Also nominated were Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris, each for Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Evan Rachel Wood for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and Jimmi Simpson for Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

Newton was previously nominated for her role as Maeve in 2017, but lost that Emmy to Ann Dowd, who won for her work on “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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Emmy Winner Thandie Newton: ‘I Don’t Believe in God but I’m Going to Thank Her’

Thandie Newton won the supporting drama actress award at the 70th Annual Primetime Emmys for “Westworld” and, even though she’s an atheist, thanked God during her speech. “I don’t even believe in God but I’m going to thank her tonight,” she said. “I am so blessed. I am so blessed. Without this, I am even […]

‘Westworld’ Star Thandie Newton Has Human Reaction To Emmy Victory

Sometimes, even an android can be lost for words. Thandie Newton, who plays sentient artificial life form Maeve Millay on HBO’s Westworld, had a very human reaction to her win in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series category, stumbling a bit when it came to her acceptance. “I don’t even believe in God, but I will thank her tonight,” said Newton. “I am so blessed.” Newton has her first win in her second Emmy nomination. She was previously nominated for her…

‘Westworld’ Season 2 Finale Ratings Dip 24 Percent Against Premiere

After Sunday’s Season 2 finale, HBO will freeze all “Westworld” functions for at least a year — but did the drama’s sophomore run finish better than it began?

This past weekend, Episode 210 earned 1.6 million linear viewers, according to Nielsen, which is down 24 percent in total eyeballs from its debut this spring. HBO added another 600,000 viewers via an encore and its HBO Go and Now streams, per the pay-TV channel, bringing the nightly total up to 2.2 million.

“Westworld” Season 2 premiered back in April to 2.1 million linear viewers, per Nielsen, which was actually 100,000 audience members slimmer than the show’s Season 1 finale. Counting an encore as well as HBO Go and Now streams, that night’s sum grew to 3 million overall viewers.

“Westworld” sees a lot of delayed viewing. Last season, the TV reimagining of the 1973 feature film saw nearly 80 percent of its viewers tune in post-premiere night, according to HBO. The premium cabler is expecting a Season 2 average of around 10 million viewers once all data has come in.

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO sci-fi series closed its sophomore run with a feature-length finale, titled “The Passenger,” which answered many a question we’d been pondering throughout the sophomore year of, but left viewers with a whole new mess of head-scratchers, like that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright)/Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood)/Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) murder-resurrection triangle; Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) final fate; Maeve (Thandie Newton) and the other dead Hosts’ chances of being revived; the “real world” setting we’re entering in Season 3; and what in the heck was going on with the Man in Black/William (Ed Harris) in that unexpected post-credits scene.

You can read our full interview with Joy about the Season 2 finale here. And everything we currently know about Season 3 here.

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‘Westworld’ Season 3: Here’s Everything We Know Right Now

(The mother of all spoiler alerts: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the “Westworld” Season 2 finale, “The Passenger,” which aired Sunday.)

Do you feel like someone pulled your control unit out of your head after watching the “Westworld” Season 2 finale — including that wild post-credits scene? Of course you do. So what do you do next? Start scouring the internet for hints about the third installment, obviously.

While the details we have on the next season of Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan’s HBO sci-fi series are few and far between, we have been able to roundup a few tidbits that should tide you over for at least as long as it takes Dolores to get through one of her famous speeches about “the world.”

1. It’s going to take place in the “real world,” for the most part.

At the end of the Season 2 finale, “The Passenger,” three of the Hosts officially entered the real world in our central timeline: Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) — thanks to Dolores’ decision to bring him back — and whoever the heck is inside the Charlotte Hale-shaped one (played by Tessa Thompson) that Dolores inhabited before she rebuilt herself.

“It was always the plan to explore the real world and we have Dolores there, Bernard’s there and a creature that is certainly inhabiting Hale’s body is there [laughs],” Joy told TheWrap. “So we’ll come to know more of who ‘Hale’ is. There are three Hosts out in the world and next season will really be an exploration of what they find and who they become.”

Joy also clarified that there is someone in Hale who isn’t Dolores at the end there, cause Dolores is now back in Dolores, saying, “Yes, that’s one of the things we’ll explore next season.”

2. But not entirely in the real world.

We’ve seen Westworld, The Raj and Shogun World, but we know we have some more Delos Destinations to explore. “Well, not all of our favorite characters have managed to escape yet, so…,” Nolan said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly  published after the finale. Yeah, OK, so more parks next time.

3. Not everyone is coming back.

Look, you saw how many people died in the finale, so it shouldn’t come as a shock based on the sheer number of casualties that not every star will be sticking with the series when it returns.

“We’ve had some interesting conversations,” Nolan told EW. “It’s a large ensemble cast and sadly we’re saying goodbye to some people at the end of this season. But as always with this show, who remains and who doesn’t is something we’re having a lot of fun with. There’s going to be a bit of a wait for a third season but we want to surprise and hopefully delight people with the way things progress.”

We do know that Dolores and Maeve (Thandie Newton) are both coming back, as Wood said in an interview with TheWrap back in April that she’s receiving equal pay for Season 3 and then Newton told Vanity Fair the same thing about herself.

4. We know these guys are dead (at least for now).

Maeve, Angela (Talulah Riley), Abernathy (Louis Herthum), Costa (Fares Fares ), Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård), Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), Clementine (Angela Sarafyan), Emily (Katja Herbers), and Teddy (James Marsden), Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). And also Charlotte Hale, but that’s complicated.

Well, they are all complicated. Especially because Joy explained that whole deal with the five control units “Halores” smuggled out of the park. And then she tried to tell us Ford is really gone for good this time. Sigh.

5. And these guys are definitely alive (at the moment).

Dolores, Bernard, Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), the Man in Black (Ed Harris) aka William and whoever is in that Hale-shaped Host body.

6. The Hosts that “sublimed” into the Valley Beyond are most likely gone for good.

Teddy, Akecheta (Zach McClarnon) and a few other lucky robots made it into their version of paradise, and Joy made it clear to TheWrap that Dolores has changed the coordinates of the Sublime to keep them away from humans forever.

“I think what she’s done is she fulfilled their wish,” Joy told TheWrap. “They wanted to escape to a digital space where they could be truly free and create their own world, untarnished by human interference. And in changing the coordinates and kind of locking in and stowing them away, Dolores has finally found a way to accept their choice and give them what they so desired.”

7. We’re going back to the future — at some point.

Joy told us that that crazy post-credits scene that scrambled your brain even more than the finale itself takes place at a later date than the rest of the story. A much later date.

“But he’s in a very different timeline,” Joy said. “The whole place looks destroyed, and then she explains that all of that stuff happened long ago. That was real. But now something has happened and the Man is now the subject — or some iteration of the Man is now the subject — of testing. The roles have become completely reversed.

“And we get the feeling that, in the far-flung future, the Man has been somehow reconjured and brought into this world and he’s being tested the same way the humans used to test the Hosts. And that is a storyline that one day we’ll see more of.”

8. Season 3 is not going to premiere for a while.

Nolan told Entertainment Weekly you shouldn’t expect any fresh episodes anytime soon, noting: “We’re still talking it through, honestly, with our friends at HBO, and with the cast and the crew. We want to take the time to make every season as exciting as possible. And we have an enormous challenge going into Season 3 with the worlds that we’re building going forward. We want to make sure we have the time to do that right.”

Part of the problem here is also the fact HBO hasn’t set a premiere date for the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones,” which we do know is coming in 2019. Chances are the premium cable network won’t want to air “Westworld” before it says goodbye to its most popular series, so you do the math.

You can read our full interview with Joy about the Season 2 finale here.

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‘Westworld’: That Entire Bonkers Season 2 Ending, Explained

(Warning: All of the spoilers for the end of “Westworld” Season 2 below! Read on at your own risk!)

“Westworld” Season 2 ended with yet another series of crazy, possibly confusing twists, bringing together multiple timelines and finally explaining what the deal is with Bernard, Dolores, and the Valley Beyond.

Especially in the last 20 minutes, the “Westworld” Season 2 finale dumps a whole lot of information on viewers, and it’s easy to possibly be a little lost. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened with every character, and what the end of Season 2 means for Season 3.

First, there’s the past timeline, one week before the Delos extraction team arrived at “Westworld” and found Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) on the beach in the season’s first episode. In that timeline, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) blew off the hand of the Man in Black (Ed Harris), and then she and Bernard headed down into the Forge, the Westworld facility also known as the Valley Beyond to the hosts.

In the Forge, Bernard discovered that he and Ford (Anthony Hopkins) had created a virtual Eden world (what the show calls the “Sublime) inside the same computer that has been copying all the guests who’ve entered the park, in order to attempt to copy human minds into host bodies — an experiment in immortality. Bernard and Dolores entered the simulation, where Dolores learned some key facts about human nature and behavior from the copied human minds, which Ford thought she could use to survive in the real world. Bernard, meanwhile, opened the Door, the gateway into the Sublime, which automatically downloaded the hosts who passed through it into the computer system. That’s why, at the start of the season, there were all those host bodies floating around inside the flooded valley. The hosts’ bodies die, but their minds live on in the computer simulation.

Bernard, knowing that Dolores would try to kill all the humans, killed her instead. Later, though, when Hale (Tessa Thompson) killed Elsie (Shannon Woodward) because she didn’t think she could trust Elsie not to reveal the immortality project, Bernard changed his mind and decided that he needed Dolores. He asked the copy of Ford from the Cradle, the one inside his mind that previously took over Bernard’s body, for help, and Ford walked him through what to do.

Bernard built a copy of Hale’s body as a host, since all her data had been saved by the immortality project, but put Dolores’ control unit in that body. Dolores was reborn, but inside a copy of Hale — and then Dolores killed Hale (and the last of her security guys). Bernard also hid the Abernathy control unit, the key that grants access to the Forge system, so no one would know where it was.

When everything was finished, Bernard realized that the copy of Ford he’d been talking to since he killed Dolores wasn’t really Ford — it was Bernard imagining Ford. In Season 1, Ford talked about how Arnold was trying to get the hosts to hear their own voices as internal monologue, instead of someone else’s voice giving them instructions. Bernard realized that, in imagining Ford, he’d truly and finally achieved his own free will.

He also knew that when Delos’ extraction team eventually showed up, they would figure out that Bernard was a host and scan his control unit, viewing all his memories. When that happened, the humans would be able to undo everything Bernard had done, from recreating Dolores to saving the park’s hosts in the computer simulation. To prevent that from happening, Bernard scrambled up his own memories from the past 20 years. That’s why he kept getting confused as to when things were happening in the later timeline, and why Costa (Fares Fares), the Delos technician, couldn’t find the location of the Abernathy control unit by scanning Bernard’s robot brain.

In the second timeline, a week after Bernard first got into the Forge, Dolores was in the Hale body and still needed the Abernathy control unit, but Bernard had hidden it and then scrambled his brain. Dolores posed as Hale — maybe better identified now as “Halores” — and met up with Strand (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Costa from the extraction team to try to find the control unit, planning to use Hale’s identity to get out of Westworld. When they finally got to the Forge and Bernard remembered everything, Halores killed the extraction team and got the Abernathy control unit back from where Bernard had hidden it.

Dolores then uploaded the mind of Teddy (James Marsden) into the Sublime program; at the start of the episode, we see Dolores has removed Teddy’s his control unit from his body after he shot himself. Then, she used the satellite transmitter the extraction team brought to upload the Sublime program and all the hosts to one of the satellites, to protect it from anyone ever finding it. All the hosts who were uploaded into the Sublime are free and safe, living out their lives in a computer program where no one can hurt them.

There was no way that Dolores and Bernard could sneak out of the park in their own host bodies, so Halores killed Bernard and removed his control unit. She also took four others, which we see in her bag. What we don’t know is which hosts are contained within them. TheWrap talked to Co-Creator Lisa Joy about those control units (as well as a whole bunch of other stuff about the finale), and what we do know is that they’re none of the hosts we saw go into the Sublime.

On the beach, the surviving Delos folks started looking to see what hosts they can salvage. Lutz (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) the two technicians who’ve been with Maeve (Thandie Newton), were tasked with helping out. It’s heavily implied the pair are going to try to save Maeve, suggesting she’ll be back for Season 3 with their help. We also see that the Man in Black survived his ordeal and was leaving Westworld, although that doesn’t answer the question of whether he was a host.

Halores, having found the Abernathy control unit and pretending to be Hale, headed to the beach to leave Westworld. She had a quick interaction with Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who basically revealed he knows she’s really a host, but let her go anyway (Joy also answered TheWrap’s questions about that conversation). On the mainland, Halores went to Arnold’s old house, where Ford left one last helpful surprise: a machine for making hosts. Halores created a new Dolores body for herself. Then she made a new Bernard body and resurrected him, even though she knows they’ll be enemies. The question now is, whose control unit is in the Hale host body, and what other hosts might Dolores have made with the machine?

Finally, there’s that post-credits scene, which shows another timeline altogether from what we’ve seen so far in the season. The Man in Black takes the elevator down into the Forge, only to discover that he’s not in the Forge at all. A host that looks like his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) gave him the same treatment the Man gave the host version of James Delos (Peter Mullan) earlier in the season. The destruction around the facility suggests that scene is way in the future, and that there’s a host copy of the Man in Black, much like there was a host copy of James Delos. Joy also answered our questions about the post-credits scene and illuminated it quite a bit. It’s not clear who’s running that program and why, but it could be that the Forge system Bernard and Dolores met has plans of its own.

So what does that all mean for Season 3? We know there are at least some hosts still out in the world, and Dolores and Bernard are going to be at odds. Maeve is probably coming back, and so is the Man in Black. And even with all that, there are bound to be more multiple, confusing timelines — and this is far from the end of Delos, Westworld, or their experiments.

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‘Westworld’ Season 2 Finale: Which 5 Hosts Are in Those Pearls?

(The mother all spoiler alerts: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the “Westworld” Season 2 finale, “The Passenger,” which aired Sunday.)

OK, a lot of Hosts were either dead or had crossed into the “Valley Beyond” aka the Sublime by the end of the “Westworld” Season 2 finale. But there are at least three robots still standing: Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and whoever the heck is inside the Charlotte Hale-shaped one (played by Tessa Thompson) that Dolores inhabited before she rebuilt herself. (We’re not counting those guys in the post-credits scene. That’s a whole different can of worms.)

Oh, wait, there are also five Hosts’ consciousnesses inside the five control units that “Halores” smuggled into the real world when exiting the park at the end of Sunday’s season-closer. And while we don’t know for certain who is inside each of those little pearls, TheWrap prodded co-creator Lisa Joy to give us some idea of which dead Hosts — RIP Maeve (Thandie Newton) & co — Dolores is planning on reconstructing and which were sent off into the ether. And actually, where exactly that ether is.

Here’s what she said:

TheWrap: Where exactly did Dolores send the Hosts who went into the Sublime when she changed the coordinates?

Joy: I think what she’s done is she fulfilled their wish. They wanted to escape to a digital space where they could be truly free and create their own world, untarnished by human interference. And in changing the coordinates and kind of locking in and stowing them away, Dolores has finally found a way to accept their choice and give them what they so desired.

TheWrap: After the guest data in the Forge is erased, Hale/Dolores leaves with five control units in a purse. Who is in them? Maeve? Armistice? And can “Halores” remake them then?

Joy: There is Host data in the actual hosts who did not Sublime — so their CPUs are still intact. So, if they didn’t “sublime,” those pearls still contain their information. In each of those little balls in the purse is a Host, so there is a handful of them — but not an infinite amount of them. There are five. One Host per pearl.

You can read our full interview with Joy about the Season 2 finale here.

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‘Westworld’ Co-Creator Answers Every One of Our Questions About That Insane Season 2 Finale

(The mother all spoiler alerts: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the “Westworld” Season 2 finale, “The Passenger,” which aired Sunday.)

Well, after an ending like that, where do we even begin?

“Westworld” brought its second season to a close Sunday night with a feature-length finale that threw us completely off our programmed loop. But while the episode, titled “The Passenger,” answered many a question we’d been pondering throughout the sophomore year of co-creator Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO sci-fi series, it left us with a whole new mess of head-scratchers.

Seeing as we are still very much in TBD territory on an air date for the third season, we’ve got a long wait in store before we can stop scratching ours heads. But to help, TheWrap caught up with Joy to help us make sense of that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright)/Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood)/Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) murder-resurrection triangle; Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) final fate; Maeve (Thandie Newton) and the other dead Hosts’ chances of being revived; the “real world” setting we’re entering in Season 3; and what in the heck was going on with the Man in Black/William (Ed Harris) in that unexpected post-credits scene.

And — in a very Ford-like manner — she even gave TheWrap the answers to questions we didn’t think to ask. See our exchange below.

TheWrap: So there was a lot of death in that finale [laughs]. What was the reasoning behind killing off so many people, especially knowing some people ( i.e. humans) probably don’t have a way of coming back?

Joy: In embarking on this season we knew, in a sense, we’d be telling a story of revolution, of war and the tragedy and inevitability of war is death. There are stakes to violence and it is mortality. And I love all of our actors. I think they are incredible collaborators, cool people, incredible talent and it truly is harrowing to lose any of them. But, you know, it’s in the service of the story and the story is something that we’re all working together to paint as realistically as you can paint a story about an AI revolution in a Western theme park [laughs]. And so for the drama to have stakes, the deaths must be real. And so, yeah, there was a lot of deaths [laughs].

TheWrap: Did Bernard have to be the one to kill Dolores (and bring her back) and did Dolores have to be the one to kill Bernard (and bring him back) — and why?

Joy: Yeah, when we were thinking of that — and you see it in the back of some of the shots, the picture of an M.C. Escher drawing of a hand, drawing a hand, drawing a hand, drawing a hand — and the ways that the things we create and give birth to, create and influence us. And that is the cycle that Bernard and Dolores have been locked in since before Bernard was Bernard — when he was Arnold. The fates of all the characters are integral in the storylines, but some of them chose a kind of different struggle, you know?

And this season was about choice. It was about respecting choice, as well as making one’s own choice. And throughout the season, one of the things Dolores’ character struggles with in assuming the mantle of basically military leadership was, as much as she wanted to protect the Hosts, as noble as her aims were to protect them from the darkness that she herself has witnessed so many times in humans, in order to do that on a basic military level, she had to take on some of the paternalistic traits that she was kind of vowing against in the first place.

It was a difficult dichotomy, but I think something that would realistically occur. So she made a lot of choices for a lot of people and came to regret those choices. Not necessarily because they were wrong in their outcome, or what her intended outcome was, but because it was wrong, she realized, to take away someone else’s agency, even if you disagreed with the choices they were making.

So, you know, she changed Teddy in order to “save” him. She knew he wouldn’t survive. So she took away his agency and made him something, even though I think it was designed to be temporary like, “Let’s just live through this so we can have this life together.” And then she was going to kind of dictate the fates of Maeve and Akecheta and all the people who fled to the Sublime, because, to her, that reality was not one worth pursuing.

But she sees the error of her ways later because of Bernard. He literally killed her to stop the monster that she had become. And in being resurrected by him — when he also realizes that she wasn’t full monster, that indeed without her plan, they would be wiped off the face of the earth, she would be the last of his kind — he brings her back, and in that time she has changed. She has realized that embracing choice is necessary. That as much as her goal may have been noble, she has to accept the idea that they were fallible and that she is fallible, unless unchecked.

I think it’s a very powerful notion, the notion that our personal views, although closely held, are not necessarily right. That part of what is noble is making sure there are checks and balances and a plurality of opinions. And that is something that she has grown to understand.

So when she brings Bernard back in the real world, she’s basically accepting that idea and embracing that idea, even if it leads to her own personal undoing. She knows that that kind of balance is what is needed for true freedom for her kind.

TheWrap: OK, is it safe to assume that going forward in the next season we’ll be in the real world more?

Joy: Absolutely. It was always the plan to explore the real world and we have Dolores there, Bernard’s there and a creature that is certainly inhabiting Hale’s body is there [laughs]. So we’ll come to know more of who “Hale” is. There are three Hosts out in the world and next season will really be an exploration of what they find and who they become.

TheWrap: So then there has to be someone in Hale who isn’t Dolores at the end there, cause Dolores is now back in Dolores — right?

Joy: Yes, that’s one of the things we’ll explore next season.

TheWrap: Where exactly did Dolores send the Hosts who went into the Sublime when she changed the coordinates?

Joy: I think what she’s done is she fulfilled their wish. They wanted to escape to a digital space where they could be truly free and create their own world, untarnished by human interference. And in changing the coordinates and kind of locking in and stowing them away, Dolores has finally found a way to accept their choice and give them what they so desired.

TheWrap: After the guest data in the Forge is erased, Hale/Dolores leaves with five control units in a purse. Who is in them? Maeve? Armistice? And can “Halores” remake them then?

Joy: There is Host data in the actual hosts who did not Sublime — so their CPUs are still intact. So, if they didn’t “sublime,” those pearls still contain their information. In each of those little balls in the purse is a Host, so there is a handful of them — but not an infinite amount of them. There are five. One Host per pearl.

TheWrap: When Halores left the beach, it seemed like Stubbs knew it was Dolores — or at least that it wasn’t Hale. Is that safe to assume?

Joy: Yes! It is safe to assume. And there is a step further that you can assume too. And we don’t say it explicitly, but if you are left wondering with all [Stubbs’] talk, his knowing talk about, “I’ve been at the park a very long time,” and Ford designed him with certain core drives, and he’s gonna stick to the role he’s been programmed with; it’s a little acknowledgement of just why he might have his suspicions about what’s going on with Hale, and then lets her pass.

And doesn’t it make sense if you are Ford and designing a park and you have a whole master plan about helping robots that you would keep one Host hiding in plain sight as a fail-safe? Maybe the Host who’s in charge of quality assurance? And by the way, that was totally meant to be subtle [laughs].

TheWrap: OK, that went completely over my head. Now, since we saw Bernard realize he had been imaginig Ford at the end there and was really doing all of those things by himself, does that mean Ford is gone for good this time?

Joy: Yes, Ford is gone. And yeah, I think it’s really — it’s interesting, because remember how in the first season with Dolores, in trying to come to consciousness she would hear Arnold’s voice while doing these things? And part of her embracing her agency and consciousness is realizing, “There is that voice. That’s not necessarily yours, that’s my voice. That’s my inner voice. And I have to achieve my own inner voice and inner instincts.” And embracing that voice is what brought her to full personhood.

And meanwhile, Jeffrey Wright’s character, Bernard, has been kind of struggling on his own. He didn’t even know he was a Host, because he was kind of very fragile when he was masquerading amongst the humans, so by the end of the season, you’re absolutely right, he manages to get rid of Ford — who did plant himself there as an emergency stopgap measure within the park to be upload into Bernard’s brain.

But once Bernard, who is an excellent coder, has ridden himself of Ford, he’s gone. And what we’re left with now is really a story about one Host, a new Host, kind of blooming into consciousness, who embraces his own inner voice, which he realizes has been guiding him in all the last major moves he’s made to ensure the future of his kind.

TheWrap: We saw at the end of the actual episode, before the end credits scene that blew my mind, that William survived. He was one of the ones on the beach, in the tent in that particular situation and timeline. But then we get to the end credits: OK, he’s clearly a Host but I don’t know if that’s one version of him or another and then we see [his daughter] Emily there, can you give anything to explain that and at what point and in what timeline that might be happening?

Joy: Absolutely [laughs]. So you totally nailed what the story is, by the way, and then we threw in that last bit just to tease some other s–t that’s gonna happen, before you drown in it. So you totally got it, you totally got it. And that last bit, the reason we put it after the credits was because we wanted to be like, “No, you have it. You have the story and the timelines. This is some s–t that we’re going to do next” is what that other thing was.

But it recontextualizes itself when you realize that the entire season we’ve been going, we’ve been putting cards up in terms of our timelines. There’s been two major timelines. And it’s just the traditional story structure of a noir, right? Investigators come to town and they have basically a witness in Bernard who can’t remember what the f–k happened at the scene of the crime. And then you stumble back to the scene of the crime, which was this war that was happening.

And the Man in Black is a part of that war. They are all moving towards the “Valley Beyond.” And when he gets right to outside the facility [the Forge] and after killing his daughter — who, you know, he doesn’t know if it’s his daughter or not — he’s still confused and like, honestly, psychologically spun out by his own sins, his own constant transgressions and living in this virtual reality. He himself begins to grow unsure of what is real and what is not.

And this leads to, you know, “these violent delights, have violent ends.” And he, in his confused and tortured mind, kills his own daughter, for real, and then proceeds to start hacking into his own skin because he doesn’t understand anymore what’s real and what’s not. And it’s grating him and haunting him. It’s in some ways a full reversal of what was happening to Dolores. He’s in a prison of his own sins and that prison is now his own damn mind.

Of course in that final showdown with Dolores, she rigs his gun and he basically blows off his own arm. Now, what we tried to do there is establish this context: he collapses on the ground, [Dolores and Bernard] go down, Dolores and Bernard have all the events that unfold down there. After Bernard kills Dolores, he goes to the elevator and you’re like, “Wait, the Man in Black! I think he’s gotten up and he’s coming down this elevator and they’re gonna meet! They’re gonna meet!”

And then it’s totally weird because no one is in that elevator. And that’s our only little clue that something is not what we thought. That there is something else happening here. And that’s what we pay off later.

‘Cause in reality, a man got his arm shot off. He’s just lying on the ground somewhere. And later on, when Hale, or Halores is leaving the park, you see him on a cot. He’s injured, but he’s alive, and he’s real, and he’s going out into the real world — along with a handbag of pearls and Halores.

But then when you see that post-credit vignette, it’s really just a tease of what’s to come. We kind of rounded out that story. And you’re totally right about the end and this is a tease as to what’s to come, because we see that one tiny bit where we thought he might be coming down an elevator. We see that pay off and we see again Katja Herbers [Emily] who he thinks, “Are you my daughter? What the f–k is this?”

But he’s in a very different timeline. The whole place looks destroyed, and then she explains that all of that stuff happened long ago. That was real. But now something has happened and the Man is now the subject — or some iteration of the Man is now the subject — of testing. The roles have become completely reversed.

And we get the feeling that, in the far-flung future, the Man has been somehow reconjured and brought into this world and he’s being tested the same way the humans used to test the Hosts. And that is a storyline that one day we’ll see more of.

TheWrap: So, because we do know that Emily died in the current timeline we’re in, is it fair to assume whoever is down there with this iteration of the Man in Black is similar to Dolores training Bernard? That has to be a Host or some other something if this is in the future and Emily died. Yes?

Joy: Oh yes, the Katja Herbers in the future talking to the Man in Black is now a Host version of Katja Herbers.

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‘Westworld’: Jeffrey Wright on How Bernard Finally Got Ford Out of His ‘F—ing Head’

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen Sunday’s episode of Season 2 of “Westworld,” “Vanishing Point.”)

Bernard Lowe has finally cut Robert Ford out of his life — literally.

Toward the end of Sunday’s episode of “Westworld,” Jeffrey Wright’s character reached a breaking point with his old partner and friend. The head of the park’s programming division — and a Host himself — has been living with the late Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) “inside” his brain for the better part of 2 installments, but he decided enough was enough when Westworld’s creator tried to get him to kill Elsie (Shannon Woodward) — again.

TheWrap spoke with Wright ahead of the episode, which was Season 2’s penultimate, to figure out how Bernard was finally able to break his unhealthy bond with Ford, and where things are headed in next week’s finale.

First off, Wright’s pretty happy Ford was unsuccessful in his second attempt (that we know of) to get Bernard to murder Elsie, who Ford insists is going to betray Bernard on their way to secure the Forge. (That’s the storage facility for all the data the park has been mining from its guests’ brains, which Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores is also gunning to capture. Or destroy — unclear right now.)

“That’s not Bernard’s M.O.,” Wright told TheWrap, laughing, of his counterpart’s decision to spare Elsie.

Instead, in a very-unlike-himself manner, Bernard screams “get out of my f–king head” at Ford’s consciousness, cuts a hole in his own arm, plugs himself in and starts to use a control tablet to “delete” Ford. Bernard insists to his imaginary friend that he can stop Dolores all on his own and Ford says, actually, Bernard’s the “only one who can,” then suddenly disappears. (Though it’s not entirely clear whether it was Ford, or Bernard, that deleted the “data package” containing Ford’s consciousness from Bernard’s system.) Then Bernard drives off toward the Forge, leaving Elsie annoyed — but safe — behind him.

But while we may not know yet if it was Bernard who deleted Ford, Wright says it’s safe to say Bernard was the one who decided to kick Ford out.

“I think part of that decision was born out of Bernard exercising choice,” Wright said. “And so Bernard is quietly and consistently emerging now, and he is thrusting himself into the middle of things. And, likewise, the rest of the world is heading in that direction too. So he’s driving toward his self-determined fate.”

And Wright is “100 percent” thrilled with Bernard’s decision.

“Absolutely. That’s Bernard’s version of an awakening,” he said. “He’s been a little slow out of the gate relative to the other [hosts], but his desire for freedom runs through Ford. So that’s part of the unresolved business that needed to be sorted out. That was absolutely necessary to where he needed to be headed, so we’ll see where he ends up with it.”

Speaking of where he ends up, was Wright content with where we leave Bernard at the end of Season 2 — and will you, the viewer, be as well, seeing as we don’t know when Season 3 is coming?

“Big time,” he said. “Well, I think we’ll be alright.”

Wait, which is it?!?

The Season 2 finale of “Westworld” airs next Sunday at 9/8 c on HBO.

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‘Westworld’: Someone Either Screwed Up the Last Episode or Dropped a Huge Easter Egg

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen last Sunday’s episode of “Westworld.”)

Alright, either someone royally screwed up during the filming of last Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” Season 2 or fans just found an incredible Easter egg because some weird stuff was going on in the background.

The most recent installment of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO sci-fi series was a day in the limelight episode for Ghost Nation member Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon). Entitled “Kiksuya,” the story centered around his history in the park and how he came to the mission he is on today to help all the other hosts “find the door” out of the park.

But because you were so focused on all the moving moments going on the foreground, you may have missed what was either a giant oversight or extreme attention to detail.

About halfway through the episode, we see Akecheta wandering around the park, and making his way to Sweetwater. Here is where you’re going to need to pause and look the left side of the screen, as eagle-eyed Reddit user flickersense noticed you can see Maeve (Thandie Newton) in her Season 1 saloon getup, followed by a cameraman and crew. No, really, look at this GIF if you don’t believe us:

So one of two things happened here. Well, one of probably 1,000 things is happening here, but for the sake of us not freezing all mother functions all day long, let’s get to the two most logical options.

The first is that these guys are totally supposed to be in the scene and are following Host madam Maeve to shoot footage for a promo video for the park. See, that checks out, right? It makes more sense that Nolan and Joy (who are crazy about tricking you with tiny little details) would throw this in as a treat for viewers who pay attention instead of the second choice: someone screwed up.

Yeah, mistakes happen, so there is a chance that while shooting from multiple angles for this episode (or a previous one, like the one where the Cradle was revealed) and someone missed this in the edit bay. This mistake is backed up further when you notice that it looks like McClarnon is headed toward a green screen, so he may not even be walking in Sweetwater here, but rather they added the footage of the park later. It’s hard to believe someone would make such a big mistake a show that costs so much money to produce, but it’s always a possibility.

So, which side are you on: hidden detail or someone in the edit department is getting a talking-to?

“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8 c on HBO.

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‘Westworld’: Yup, THAT Character is Back — But Not Like You Think

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the June 3 episode of “Westworld,” “Les Écorchés.”)

The seventh episode of “Westworld” Season 2 dropped a bunch of narrative bombs on viewers, even as it packed in a heap of action as the humans and the hosts faced off in a series of deadly battles.

While Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) battled Hale (Tessa Thompson) and her army of goons to try to rescue Delores’ father, and Maeve (Thandie Newton) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) had a big showdown, the spookiest events were happening with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). At the end of the last episode, Bernard jacked himself into the Cradle, the big computer at the center of Westworld that contains all the hosts’ personalities. Inside that digital version of the park, he found somebody who was supposed to be dead: Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins).

Ford died at the end of Season 1, when Delores executed him at the start of her robot revolution — seemingly the culmination of Ford’s plans to give the hosts free will. But as Bernard works out and Ford helps explain, the park is actually a big experiment for gathering data on guests in order to copy their minds. As we saw with James Delos (Peter Mullan), the idea was to try to find a path to immortality for humans (and, you know, sell it to them). So Ford’s mind is preserved inside the Cradle as a digital copy, using that same immortality technology.

Ford can’t get transferred into a host body of his own, as he explained — like we saw earlier this seasn with Delos, Ford’s mind would degrade in a host body, and he’d start to go mad, because the park scientists never managed to solve that problem. But as long as he stays in the Cradle, Ford’s mind is fine.

Until, that is, Ford zaps Bernard after taking him into Albert’s digital house inside the Cradle. As Ford explains it, he removes Bernard’s free will as part of his plan to “open The Door.”

After that, Bernard exits the Cradle. Soon afterward, the host Angela (Talulah Riley) destroys it, along with all the backups of the hosts’ personalities, and Ford’s mind, too. But later, we see that Bernard is not completely in control — and he’s seeing Ford, who is telling him what to do, and even takes full control of Bernard’s body at one point.

It definitely seems like Ford is, yet again, not completely dead. His human body might be gone and the digital copy of his mind might have been destroyed in the Cradle, but now he lives on in Bernard. That raises some major questions about what might happen with Ford (and Bernard) in the last three episodes of the season, and what’s been going on with him in the future timeline we’ve been seeing throughout Season 2.

It might be that Ford left a piece of himself or a program he created in Bernard, but it really seems like Ford downloaded himself into Bernard. That would have allowed Ford to both take control of the host, and to live on outside of the Cradle.

At the end of the episode, we see in the future timeline that Bernard’s programming is fracturing, and Costa (Fares Fares) remarks that it looks like his software is in conflict inside his head. What we’re probably seeing is two separate programs at war inside Bernard’s head: Bernard’s host mind, and Ford’s human one, fighting for control.

One other wrinkle: If the Westworld scientists never figured out the degradation problem, and that really is the digital Ford inside Bernard, then it’s very likely that Ford will start to suffer from the same madness that Delos did. We could be in for a Bernard that’s not just a host, and not just battling against the influence of Ford inside is head, but is now contending with an insane Ford attacking him from within.

If there’s anything scarier than Ford and all his machinations, it’s one that’s not fully in control.

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8 Extremely Obscure ‘Star Wars’ References in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

(Note: This post contains lots of spoilers for “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”)

There are so many references to other “Star Wars” stories, characters and events in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” that it’s actually easy to miss them. From showing how Han Solo got his lucky dice, to explaining how the Millennium Falcon can “talk” to C-3PO in “The Empire Strikes Back,” to jokes about Lando Calrissian’s eventual life as the “respectable” administrator of a mining colony, the movie is packed full of “Star Wars” lore.

But “Solo” also knows its “Star Wars” history, and works in a lot of references tothings that more casual fans might have missed. The movie calls back not only to the films, but cartoons that take place between the prequels and original trilogy, and even makes clever references to the no-longer-canon “Star Wars” Expanded Universe of comics, games and novels from before Disney acquired Lucasfilm. Here are eight of the most obscure references hidden in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Bossk

Old school “Star Wars” fans know the names of all those random bounty hunters that Darth Vader hired to track down the Millennium Falcon in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Boba Fett is the most famous one, but “Solo” drops a reference to another one: Bossk, the lizard-man bounty hunter who never shows up again in the films. When deciding whether to take Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and Chewie (Joonas Suotamo) into their crew, Val (Thandie Newton) asks Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) why they don’t call up Bossk instead. Apparently he was pretty good at his job of doing crimes, as evidenced from his appearance in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” cartoon show.

Felucia

There are lots of planets in “Star Wars” that have only popped up in ancillary materials or as references. In “Solo,” before deciding to head to Kessel to steal more coaxium for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), Han and his crew discuss other possible places, like Scarif (the planet from the end of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) and Felucia. We’ve only seen Felucia, a colorful but extremely wild and dangerous jungle planet, once in the movies, a brief appearance in “Revenge of the Sith.” It it’s also appeared in the cartoon “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” comics, and a couple of video games — specifically, “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” and 2004’s “Star Wars: Battlefront II.”

“Masters of Teras Kasi”

In “Solo,” Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) shows off some serious fighting skills on Kessel. She beats down a handful of guys while she pretends to “negotiate” to buy coaxium. L3 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) asks her what cool moves she just used, and Qi’ra tells her that the martial arts fighting style is Teras Kasi, a super deep cut reference to an obscure, panned video game from 1997, “Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi.” The game allowed players to take on the roles of various “Star Wars” characters, and make them fight, “Mortal Kombat”-style.

Aurra Sing

When he first meets Beckett, Lando (Donald Glover) is impressed because Beckett is rumored to have killed an assassin and bounty hunter called Aurra Sing, to whom Lando was deeply in debt. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of her — Aurra was a character who appeared very briefly in “The Phantom Menace,” and then didn’t pop up again in any of the films. She had an extensive backstory in the old Expanded Universe, but when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, it rendered all that stuff non-canon. What material there is about Aurra Sing appears in the cartoon “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” but “Solo” is the first we’ve heard that Aurra is no longer alive. Presumably, Aurra will show up (and shove off) in the “Solo” comic tie-in, “Star Wars: Beckett.”

The Maelstrom

In “Solo,” the big green cloud of death surrounding Kessel is called the Maelstrom, and flying through it is the infamous Kessel Run. The Maelstrom also has a big role in the video game “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” although its place in the canon is dubious at this point. In that game, which is set thousands of years before the “Star Wars” films, the Maelstrom is also home to a Sith prison, where one Jedi main character, Revan, is held and tortured for centuries.

The Maw

“Solo” finds Han, Chewie and the Millennium Falcon flying past the Maw, a giant gravity well in the middle of the Maelstrom near Kessel. Though it’s changed a bit from its original conception in the Expanded Universe, the name has stuck. The original Maw was a group of extremely difficult-to-navigate black holes inside the Maelstrom. The Empire took advantage by creating a space station near the Maw: a secret weapons facility, headed up by Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing in “A New Hope”), that very few people knew about and that was tasked with creating more superweapons like the Death Star.

Lando’s novel

While Han and the rest of the crew are out on Kessel doing a heist, Lando hangs back on the Falcon, where we catch him briefly dictating a memoir about his adventures with L3. The snatch of a story he rattles off is actually a real Expanded Universe novel: the 1983 L. Neil Smith book “Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu.” It was the first of three novels that made up “The Lando Calrissian Adventures,” and honestly they’d be a good place to start if Lucasfilm wants to go ahead and spin off Donald Glover’s Lando into his own stories.

Darth Maul

For “Star Wars” fans who are only into the movies, the return of Darth Maul (Ray Park), the Sith apprentice bad guy from “The Phantom Menace,” was a big deal. After all, didn’t we see that guy get cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor)? But in a nod to the cartoons “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels,” the former Sith Lord returns to the big screen with same voice he gets in the cartoons, that of actor Sam Witwer (who also played another “Star Wars” character: Starkiller, an apprentice of Darth Vader, in the video game “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed”). Maul has been around for a while thanks to the cartoons and some comics, and “Solo” suggests we’re about to find out even more about his tragic, angry, badass life, since he’s now the head of the criminal syndicate Crimson Dawn in “Solo,” and working with Qi’ra.

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Thandie Newton Explains Why ‘Westworld’ Season 2 Threw Her for a Loop

A version of this story about Thandie Newton appeared in The Race Begins issue of TheWrap Emmy magazine

Thandie Newton was a little frustrated at the beginning of the second season of HBO’s drama “Westworld.” She’d won a Critics’ Choice Award and received Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe nominations for her first season as Maeve, a “host” madam who used to run the brothel in Westworld’s Mariposa Saloon.

Maeve started her own personal rebellion during Season 1, and was ready to embark on a search for her android daughter as Season 2 began. And Newton herself was ready to hit the ground running — but, she told TheWrap, the slow start to Season 2 for Maeve threw her for a loop.

“After gaining control of her environment in Season 1, in Season 2 Maeve is back to being a tiny fish in a huge pond,” Newton said. “So that really spun me, as an actress and as a character. I felt frustrated that she was unable to move further in the direction she wanted to go because of the terrain and the storyline and the number of characters.

“You know those dreams when you’re running, but really slowly, and you just can’t get there? I kind of felt like that. It was this yearning for Maeve to be given legs so she could run.

“And then, when we got to Episode 5, the train starts to motor down the track, and Maeve gets to have a greater command in the story.”

Now that she’s back in the swing of things, the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” star said she’s really enjoying Maeve’s narrative surrounding her daughter, and how “Westworld” is exploring maternity this year.

“This is a whole new frontier of what a mother is: literally fighting for your child, bearing arms, hiding and seeking and struggling and physically, you know, tearing new parts to find your child,” Newton said. “That’s a kind of primal energy that you don’t see on screen. And yet, it’s every day in terms of how a woman feels and what’s at the center of every family on the planet — which is a woman who is birthing and protecting and fighting for her children.

“That fight isn’t necessarily a physical one, but it exists in us, and it’s a force and an energy which drives the planet forward.”

Read more of TheWrap Emmy magazine’s The Race Begins issue here.

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2018 Emmy Contender Portraits, From Krysten Ritter to Maggie Gyllenhaal (Photos)

TheWrap Emmy magazine: A dozen of this year’s Emmys contenders, from Laura Linney to Krysten Ritter to Maggie Gyllenhaal, pose for TheWrap.

Krysten Ritter, “Jessica Jones”

Photographed by Elisabeth Caren for TheWrap

(Hair: Pamela Neal for Exclusive Artists using Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer)

Laura Linney, “Ozark”

Photographed by Megan Mack for TheWrap

Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Deuce”

Photographed by Samantha Annis for TheWrap

Christine Baranski, “The Good Fight”

Photographed by Megan Mack for TheWrap

 

 

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‘Westworld’ Just Got Inside Its Own Head With That Shocking Reunion

(Major spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” Season 2, “Phase Space.”)

Dr. Robert Ford was dead: to begin with. (We’re, like, 99.9 percent sure, at this point.)

But his mind? Well, that’s a horse of a different color.

Anthony Hopkins made his triumphant return to “Westworld” as everyone’s favorite late, great amusement park creator (sorry, Walt) on Sunday’s episode, “Phase Space.” And while his shocking cameo lasted but a few seconds and he only uttered three words, his unexpected appearance on Jonthan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO series will be enough to launch a thousand fan theories come morning.

Now, if Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) shot Ford in the back of the head at the end of Season 1 and his lifeless body is currently rotting inside the park, then how did Hopkins resurrect his performance?

Toward the end of the episode, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) has Elsie (Shannon Woodward) slice his robot host brain out of his head and upload it to “The Cradle” (Westworld’s mainframe, hive mind, the thing that controls all the things, etc.) so they can figure out what is keeping them from regaining control of the system.

Once he’s “inside” the park’s head, he starts walking through a simulated version of Sweetwater and toward the Mariposa Saloon. He passes versions of Dolores and Teddy (James Marsden) before entering the establishment to see his partner’s face reflecting back at him in the glass of the piano (See below).

“Hello, old friend,” Ford says, while tickling the ivories.

And the episode ends with Bernard — and all of us at home — in shock.

We’re not sure where things go from here, but we know Ford is dead (we saw the maggots eating his face, OK?!?) so what we are seeing here is most likely an uploaded version of his consciousness. And based on all those successful(?) attempts to put James Delos inside a host earlier this season in the episode “Riddle of the Sphinx,” we know that can be done.

You just need one of those control units that look like a bouncy ball. Like, oh, I don’t know, the one we’ve seen Bernard upload someone’s consciousness onto in repeated flashbacks this season.

Yes, it seems like it was Ford that Bernard was uploading. And it seems like he put Ford inside the Cradle — he just doesn’t remember it now.

“Westworld” airs Sundays a 9/8 c on HBO.

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'Westworld': Shogun World Reflects Ties Between Samurai Films and Westerns

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'Westworld': Rinko Kikuchi Explains How Shogun World Episode Sidesteps Cultural Appropriation

'Westworld': Thandie Newton, Rinko Kikuchi on the 'Fun' of All That Shogun World Doppleganging

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’: Meet the New Female Characters Joining the Universe

[Editor’s note: The following contains some spoilers for “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”]

When “Solo: A Star Wars Story” zooms into theaters this week, the Ron Howard-directed film will allow audiences to explore the early years of such beloved characters as Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), but the film isn’t only beholden to dramatizing the first meet-and-greets with some of the best-known stars of “Star Wars” — it also introduces a number of characters. Those new to the galaxy include four female characters, who join a long line of daring “Star Wars” women, from Leia to Padme, Rose, and Rey.

Howard’s film, written by frequent “Star Wars” screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan, is understandably tasked with filling in big chunks of Han’s backstory, from his misbegotten youth on Corellia, to his time in the Imperial Navy, and his earliest run-ins with the kinds of characters his fate is inevitably twisted up with — and that includes some people we’ve never heard about before. There’s Han’s first love and the steel-fisted crime boss who shaped him, but there’s also a rebellion-minded droid with a big connection to Lando and a thieving badass we barely get to know.

Here’s a breakdown of the fresh faces in the cast, and everything you need to know about them.

Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke)

“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Lucasfilm

Howard’s film opens with a giddy Han zooming through the streets of his native Corellia, bursting with the bluster of a man who just robbed a bunch of bad guys, made off with a cool hover-car, and is on his way to scoop up his lady love and get the hell out of Dodge. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” doesn’t stay in those teenage years too long, but it does lay out a backstory for Han in which he’s just one of many poor Corellian kids who have been forced to spend their youth toiling for local crime boss Lady Proxima. That’s how he met Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), a fellow Proxima captive who he intends on spending the rest of his life with. They’re both plucky young orphans with a strong bond, which makes it all the more crushing when they’re pulled apart just as they’re making their way off Corellia.

It’s Han’s desire to get back to Qi’ra that frames the film’s early motivations, and when “Solo” zips ahead to three years later, with Han toiling as an Imperial troop, he’s still hoping to get back to Corellia to save her. But Qi’ra comes from the same scrappy upbringings as Han, and she doesn’t need his saving. Or does she?

After Han abandons the Imperial Navy, he runs into Qi’ra on Dryden Voss’ (Paul Bettany) fancy crime lord space barge, where she has been installed as one of Voss’ “top lieutenants.” The hows and whys of her own Corellian escape are kept under wraps, but “Solo” drives home the point that she’s not actually free and she’s had to do just terrible things in service to Voss, whom she views as a mentor (and perhaps more?). It’s a complicated role, and Clarke makes it work because, despite the big questions surrounding Qi’ra and her path in life, she can’t hide her feelings when Han is around. She’s a femme fatale, but not heartless.

Val (Thandie Newton)

“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Lucasfilm

Han’s naval desertion is inspired by an unlikely run-in with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), himself a rogue and smuggler who comes to be a father figure to young Han. He’s also got his own crew, including lady love Val (Thandie Newton), a seasoned thief who provides some very necessary assistance to the team as they undertake their first big score together. Beckett initially scans as a lone wolf type, but Val’s rough-and-tumble attitude and undeniable technological skills must have won him over at some point. She’s the kind of capable character so often present in “Star Wars” films, even if her skill set comes from a different place than someone like Leia or Rose.

L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge)

“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Lucasfilm

We’re used to viewing Lando Calrissian as a lone gun, all swagger and big capes and “oops, sorry I sold you out to Darth Vader, can you ever forgive me?,” but “Solo” finds a clever way to introduce his sidekick, who ends up stealing the show. Yes, Lando had a droid, and the witty robot is voiced (and performance-captured) by no less than “Fleabag” breakout Phoebe Waller-Bridge. As L3-37, Waller-Bridge is tasked with creating a sarcastic character (those droids, nothing but attitude) who also has her own motivations, and a healthy taste for rebellion.

“Solo” might take place just before the actual Rebel Alliance gets cooking, but L3 (as she’s most often called) has already got some major ideas about oppression, the patriarchy, resistance, and how resistance can make big changes possible. She’s a revolutionary, and she wants to free the droids from their masters, even nice masters like Lando, who L3 appears to have some feelings for (yes, she’s a rabble-rouser and she’s got a sexual appetite). She’s also an ace co-pilot in possession of the best navigation computer in the universe. When we first meet her, she’s trying to free a tiny droid that’s been drafted into cage-fighting for cash.

Lady Proxima (voiced by Linda Hunt)

"Solo"

“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Lucasfilm

“Solo” also boasts a female villain who looms large over both Han and Qi’ra’s early years: “foul” Lady Proxima, a slave boss who has snapped up all of Corellia’s hungry and poor (mostly kids, it seems), only to draft them into her service. She’s a classic bad guy, a big meanie who uses their influence and power to enslave those far worse off than her (kind of like the worst teacher or headmistress you can imagine — Miss Trunchbull on spacey steroids). But despite her sprawling orphan hideout and panache for chunky jewelry, it’s hard to shake the sense that she’s a relatively small-scale operator. Han double-crosses her while out on a mission for her, and nearly gets away with it, too — the trouble comes when he goes back for Qi’ra, who we come to understand has also spent much of her youth working for Lady Proxima.

She’s also not human. Voiced by Linda Hunt — that Linda Hunt, star of “Kindergarten Cop” and “Silverado,” “She-Devil” and “Dune” — Proxima is a fairly large, water-dwelling snake creature, like a massive centipede who enjoys spending time in hot tubs, wearing scores of stolen wares. She’s only seen in the first act of the film, but her influence over Han and who he becomes is apparent. And when Qi’ra reunites with Han, there’s a hint that she’s been unable to fully break those changes, and Proxima may still have some kind of hold on her.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” will be released in theaters on May 25.

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‘Westworld’: Thandie Newton Tells Us Why Maeve’s Superpower Went Into Overdrive in Shogun World

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” Season 2, “Akane No Mai.”)

Maeve (Thandie Newton), give it to us straight, are you a witch? After watching the ex-madam host turn an android Shogun army against itself on Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” — and hearing that one guy scream it — we just had to ask.

The way Newton explains Maeve’s ever-growing power is like this: “She’s really got control over other hosts in the way satellites can give us all information on our screens in our living rooms. It’s technology taken to its sort of obvious conclusion. And it’s not something she can do easily.”

Fans finally got their long-awaited dive into Shogun World with the episode “Akane No Mai,” which began with a robbery that’s almost a shot-for-shot remake of the Mariposa Saloon heist from Season 1 and ended with Geisha host Akane (guest star Rinko Kikuchi) and Maeve’s teams joining forces in a battle for their lives against the Shogun’s men.

Maeve was able to save herself and Akane from certain death at the last second by psychically forcing their would-be executioners to take themselves out instead. Though she soon had the entire army at its own throat, a mind manipulation stunt of this size is unprecedented for Maeve, whose “powers” also seem to come and go.

“All the times she’s used this skill, it’s a time of great trauma and fear and danger,” Newton said of Maeve’s power. “So I don’t think it’s something that she can just use easily and typically. It’s something that comes at times of high points of drama.

“And I love the fact that it’s erred in that respect. You know, it’s not like a superpower where she can shoot lasers from her eyes or something like that. It’s a superpower that comes out of difficulty in the same way we grow and learn out of difficulty. For me, it echoes that. Where it goes I really, really can’t say — but it’s pretty amazing.”

“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8 c on HBO.

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