The following contains spoilers for Westworld Season 2 Episode 1
Why won’t we be seeing Anthony Hopkins on Westworld this year?
His character’s dead.
Very dead. Visibly rotting. Big ol’ hole in his face, filled with maggots and everything. OK that’s it for now! End of article! Catch you later.
Actually, we should probably explore the implications of what Dr. Robert Ford’s death means. First it means that we won’t be treated to seeing the venerable Anthony Hopkins act every week. Hopkins did a wonderful job portraying such an inscrutable character but it sounds like the experience of operating within Westworld’s mystery-centric universe was a new challenge for him.
“What was interesting was to not know which way the story was heading,” Hopkins told EW shortly after the season one finale. “I said to Jon, ‘What happens to him?’ He said, ‘I can’t tell you.’ So I said, ‘What happens next week?’ And he said, ‘I won’t tell you.’ They sent me the script and I think, ‘Oh, this is interesting.’ So each week I got a new script every 10 days let’s say, and they [blacked] out a lot of lines. So as a condition I said, ‘Look, it’s not that I don’t love it, but I always want to know the script inside out, backward and forward, so I can talk it in my sleep.’”
It was entirely guessable that a film actor of Hopkins caliber, doing his first TV work might not be around for season two. Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy confirmed as much in another interview with EWprior to the season two premiere.
Still it’s a big deal within the universe of the show for a character to not be a robot/host. Perhaps that’s why the show depicted Ford and the other execs bodies rotting in the sun. It drives home the ugly finality of human death vs. artificial death. It also ensures that Hopkins will not have to ever endure questions like “is your character really dead?” and “was Robert Ford a host?”
Robert was not a host. But in the Westworld Season 2 premiere, there is a Robert host of sorts in action. In season one, Robert built the young British schoolboy version of himself as a host. In season two’s premiere, William (Ed Harris) comes across the boy and the boy delivers him an important message. You wanted a more dangerous game, William? Well here it is. William then shoots and kills the young Robert host.
There is still the remote chance that another Robert host pops up one day or a younger version of him appears in a flashback. But the present-day version of him as depicted by Anthony Hopkins is well and truly gone.