Anthony Hopkins' Robert Ford was set to retire at the end of Westworld Season 1 after butting heads with the executives at Delos one too many times. But he wasn't going to abandon his life's work without leaving behind a lasting impact. He set a series of events into motion that culminated with Dolores' rebellion against the humans — and caused his own death. Ford is no longer living but he could always return in flashbacks if need be. So is Anthony Hopkins in Westworld Season 2?
Ford's presence may still be felt going forward, but Hopkins probably won't be involved with the show any longer. Following the Season 1 finale, Entertainment Weekly interviewed showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy and implied during one question that Hopkins had only signed on for a single season. Nolan was careful not to totally dismiss the possibility of Hopkins' return, but it wasn't looking likely. Still, Nolan remarked on how lucky they were to work with Hopkins and how much they loved getting the opportunity, mentioning that the rules of life and death are a little looser on this show than most. Ultimately Nolan told the fans to "assume nothing," so the door was certainly open for Hopkins to come back even if it didn't end up happening.
A later article for Entertainment Weekly seemed to confirm that Hopkins would not be continuing with the series after his character's death, saying that Ford was "not expected to return as played by Hopkins." However, that doesn't mean it's the end of Ford. The character will appear in flashbacks, only he'll be played by a different actor. The show employed some creative de-aging CGI in Season 1 when it came to depicting Ford in the past, but it looks like someone else will be taking the reins going forward. While the CGI looked very convincing, it might have been too much work in the long term. According to visual-effects supervisor Jay Worth, it seemed very labor intensive.
"We took a scan of Sir Tony and used that as our base and then used a ton of photography and reference to figure out what we wanted him to look like," Worth told Thrillist. "I think it ended up turning out really, really incredible." It definitely looked good, but it was only for a scene or two; it's probably more cost-effective to use a different actor for more extended sequences.
But it's not clear just who that actor will be. Several new cast members have been announced for Season 2 of Westworld, but the identity of the new young Ford has seemingly been kept under wraps. It's possible that it's an impressive bit of casting that the show is keeping a lid on to maintain the surprise factor, or that it's a more unknown young actor with a surprising resemblance to Hopkins. Until the new season premieres on April 22, it's simply another question that will go unanswered.
It's similarly uncertain exactly what time in Ford's life will be portrayed in the second season. There were glimpses into his childhood in Season 1 thanks to the robotic representation of his family that showed up every so often, specifically the very young version of Ford played by Oliver Bell. Bell could be back if the show chooses to explore Ford's youth again, though it does seem more likely that Westworld will delve deeper into the earlier days of the park, especially as the corporate storylines take on greater prominence.
Ford may be dead, but he's too entrenched in both the park and the show to ever truly be gone. Even if he's not present physically, the consequences of his actions will still be echoing for episodes to come. Ford is Westworld, whether he's there or not.
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