The second season of Westworld will be introducing a new kind of host, one that bears very little resemblance to the androids audiences are familiar with. Not much has been revealed about this new variety of robot aside from their name: drone hosts. They seem very far removed from the manmade occupants of the park, but how are drone hosts different than regular hosts on Westworld?
The most obvious differences are the superficial ones. Regular hosts are virtually indistinguishable from humans: they have distinct features and voices, as well as their own outfits and names and personalities. They're exactly like the people who built them except for the fact that they weren't born and they can't die. Drone hosts, on the other hand, are visibly different. They're pure white in color, reminiscent of the milk-like substance hosts are made of; even regular hosts are similarly colorless before they're (presumably) painted to resemble people. When Maeve was rebuilt from scratch late in Season 1, she appeared to be made of the same milky material.
But while the normal hosts have faces, the drone hosts just have a blank surface without eyes or noses or mouths. They also look as though their muscular systems are on display without a skin-like barrier to protect them. And based on the glimpses that have been provided so far, drone hosts seem a lot less chatty and unique. They're nameless, faceless, and without easy identifiers.
They also serve a different purpose in the park. The regular hosts exist to cater to the guests who arrive in Westworld looking for adventure. They can provide anything the newcomers need, no matter how painful or dangerous it is to them personally. Drone hosts don't appear to live in the park itself, but somewhere beyond it where Bernard will stumble upon them, according to showrunner Jonathan Nolan. They also don't appear to answer to the technicians who run the park; they're directly connected to the Delos corporation.
Nolan had this to say to Entertainment Weekly when discussing the drone hosts:
The drone hosts relate to the corporation's secret project which is hidden in plain sight in the park. As we talked about in the pilot, the park is one thing for the guests, and it's another thing for its shareholders and management — something completely different. We've used the Google analogy — for consumers, it's for search and email, yet for the company, it's for advertising. There is an agenda here that Delos has undertaken for a very long time. As Bernard is making his way through the wreckage of the fallout from the first season, he's discovering things about the park that even he doesn't know and coming upon creatures like the drone host.
Though the drones are also hosts and presumably manufactured in the same way as hosts in the park, they differ in just about every other aspect. Even Nolan referring to them as "creatures" seems telling, almost as though they're something monstrous that Bernard will have to deal with on his journey to find out more about the park. But what does this unusual type of host mean for the show?
It's impossible to say before the audience is actually introduced to the drone hosts. Right now they're defined by their mysteriousness, because there's so much viewers don't know about them. They appear to be blank slates in the most literal way possible, but things aren't usually what they seem on Westworld. The drone hosts give the appearance of being silent machines carrying out corporate bidding, but there's no telling what kind of secrets they're actually concealing.
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