It’s been a rough few years for fans of HBO’s Westworld. An epic HBO series adapted from the 1973 science fiction film of the same name, Westworld was first seen as the network’s next blockbuster series after Game of Thrones.
While showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy generated a passionate fanbase for the series after its first season, interest in Westworld began to decline as the show grew more complicated. Westworld was sadly canceled at the end of its fourth season, but it’s still remembered for its excellent cast and their respective characters. These ones are far and away the best of the massive cast.
As it turns out, charisma and action skills are family traits for the Hemsworths. Luke Hemsworth proved that he had the same acting chops as his brothers Chris and Liam with his effortlessly cool performance as the original Westworld security chief Ashley Stubbs.
Stubbs goes on one of the most interesting character arcs of the series, as he learns to question the nature of his identity after spending more time with Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright). Even in the largely confusing fourth season, Wright and Hemsworths’ chemistry was one of the bright spots.
Originally one of the Delos board’s most influential members, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) is later replaced by a cybernetic host version of herself under the control of Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood). Both versions of the character serve as excellent villains within the series.
While the human Hale seeks to undermine Westworld’s original intent by spying on the guests and stealing their personal data, the host version starts a reign of terror that calls the show’s heroes to rise up in a battle to defeat her within the final season.
One of Westworld’s best elements is its ability to create strong female characters with empowering story arcs. The host Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) is one of the best examples; while originally she is programmed to be a source of pleasure for Westworld’s male guests, she is one of the first hosts to join Maeve Milany (Thandiwe Newton) in her path of conquest at the end of the first season.
It’s interesting to see the indifference that Clementine shows when ruthlessly dispatching with her enemies; the emotionless look on her face is somehow even more terrifying.
Westworld has always done a great job at bringing its host characters to life, but the first two seasons suffered from the lack of interesting human characters. This is why the addition of Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul) in the third season helped inject a new sense of life into the series.
Even though he is mortal, Caleb can relate to Dolores because he has also had his behavior controlled by artificial intelligence. Caleb’s love for his family, in particular his daughter, makes him one of the more relatable characters within the series.
Akecheta (Zahn McClaron) has one of the most powerful story arcs in Westworld. Although originally it appears that Akecheta and his Ghost Nation clan seek warfare, the heartbreaking episode “Kiksuya” reveals that they also achieved consciousness when Westworld was still operating as a park.
Akecheta later serves as one of Maeve’s chief allies as the hosts travel to the Valley Beyond to enter the digital afterlife; his reunion with his family is among the show’s most powerful moments. Unfortunately, Akectha’s role was gradually reduced.
Dr. Robert Ford
Sir Anthony Hopkins brilliantly brought to life the mad genius of Dr. Robert Ford, one of Westworld’s original creators, and the mastermind behind the hosts’ rebellion. It was a perfect role for him. Similar to Hopkins’ most iconic character, Dr. Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs, Ford is much more ambitious and intelligent than he lets on.
Even though the human Ford is killed by his own creations at the end of the first season, his influence on the park’s destiny ensures that his presence is felt throughout the series.
Bernard goes through more character development than nearly any other Westworld character. While he originally imagines himself to be human, the first season reveals that Bernard is a host based on the consciousness and likeness of Ford’s business partner, Arnold.
Bernard’s quest to discover the park’s true purpose leads him to becoming the hosts’ savior; without his guidance, the hosts would have been unable to make it safely to the Valley Forge. Bernard might come off a tad unemotional at times, but his self-seriousness only represents the gravity of his quest, as Bernard knows he is the hosts’ best chance of survival.
William / The Man in Black
One of Westworld’s coolest twists was that the “Man in Black,” who had been an antagonist in the original film, is actually a human, and member of the Delos board. William (Ed Harris) is absolutely terrifying due to his lack of personal ethics; he simply wants to play the game in its purest form, determined to find “The Maze” that Ford has laid out for him.
There is some reason to sympathize with William after learning about his backstory, as he once had his heart broken by Dolores, and learned to never trust a host again.
Depending on perspective, Dolores is either Westworld’s greatest hero or its most cunning villain. Dolores starts off the series as a helpless victim, ridiculed and abused by the guests, but learns to rebel against her inherent programming once her consciousness is merged with the program for the villainous outlaw Wyatt.
Dolores is responsible for freeing the hosts, and it’s unfortunate that her story was left with no resolution at the end of the show’s fourth season; it seems like a potential fifth season would have allowed Dolores to create a new version of the original park that would be under her control.
Maeve isn’t just Westworld‘s most fearsome warrior, although no one would ever question her skills in combat. Rather, it’s Maeve’s persistence and faith in others that make her the most memorable character. She chooses to pursue her daughter, even when she knows that they aren’t biologically linked.
Even though Maeve has been given every reason to doubt humanity’s goodness, she shows empathy to Caleb because of their mutual love of their children. While Dolores is occasionally called to the side of evil and willing to sacrifice others, Maeve’s inherent belief in others never falters.
KEEP READING: ‘Westworld’ Finds New Streaming Home on the Roku Channel