Westworld’s Timeline Explained
Note: For the purposes of this timeline, we are basing all time periods and eras around one date we know specifically “” the day Maeve (Thandie Newton) almost escaped from the park, which was revealed on the Discover Westworld site. The date in question is June 15, 2052, which was time-stamped on footage of Maeve and her helpers laying waste to the Delos employees and making a break for it to the surface. For our purposes, that general time is considered “present day” on the show. This timeline was originally posted on Collider by Andrea Reiher.
- Prior to a work event, Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) takes Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) out into the real world in the city they’re in, which looks like Tokyo. He shows her the house he’s building there for his family and talks about how Dolores and his son, Charlie, have so much in common, always seeing the good and the wonder in the world. It’s unknown if Charlie has fallen ill at this point.
- Arnold and Ford (Anthony Hopkins) put on a demonstration for a potential Westworld investor, Logan Delos (Ben Barnes). His friend William (Jimmi Simpson) is not interested in this glad-handing event and leaves before the show starts. Also, William is dating Logan’s sister, Juliet, but they aren’t engaged yet.
- Logan sees how realistic the hosts are and knows the Delos company has to invest in this, as dollar signs practically light up in his eyes.
- Arnold Weber (Jeffrey Wright) and Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) are creating hosts and preparing to open the park.
- Arnold begins to feel like the hosts are alive and starts trying to get Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) to gain real consciousness.
- When Arnold’s reluctance about what they’re creating becomes too much for him, he uploads a highly evil character, Wyatt, into Dolores’ drive, which sends her and Teddy (James Marsden) on a killing spree to destroy all the hosts so the park won’t be able to open. It culminates in Dolores shooting Arnold (at his behest), Teddy, and then herself.
- Ford manages to open the park anyway and buries Escalante, the site of Dolores’ massacre and Arnold’s death, under sand. Only the church steeple is still visible.
- Akecheta wanders into Escalante after the massacre. He finds Charlie’s maze toy and starts obsessing over it, drawing the symbol everywhere. But before he can fully realize its meaning, Akecheta is reprogrammed to become the brutally violent head of the Ghost Nation gang.
- Sometime around now Ford creates Bernard (also Wright), a host who is an exact replica of his former partner, Arnold. “Bernard Lowe” is actually an anagram of “Arnold Weber.” Bernard is a top engineer and helps Ford create more lifelike hosts than the rest of the park staff is able to do.
- We learn in Season 2 that Dolores helped Ford create the Bernard host, since she knew Arnold almost as well as Ford did. Bernard and Dolores spent many hours alone together in the replica of Arnold’s house that he built inside the park “” but they were actually inside the Cradle, not out in the actual park. That distinction is important because it explains the Season 2 scene between Bernard and Dolores that seemed like a flash-forward to her questioning him. That scene is actually a flashback to before the park opened, when Dolores was helping test Bernard.
- William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) come to the park. They also reveal that Logan’s sister, Juliet, who is also William’s fiancee, has previously visited the park.
- With Teddy distracted by a quest with some guests, Dolores confronts a violent scene at her family’s ranch that Teddy is usually present for. This time Dolores faces the outlaws alone and is traumatized by it. That pain kicks off her flashbacks to her previous iteration, the one that killed Arnold. Confused, she flees into the night and ends up crossing paths with William and Logan, who take her in.
- As Dolores begins her mental awakening, she and William fall for one another and she joins the men on their quest. It dovetails with her own quest to find the town in her memories, Escalante.
- Eventually, Dolores and William leave Logan behind and find Escalante, though it is completely buried in sand. Dolores panics, as her memories (which hosts re-live with perfect clarity) are causing her to question what is real and what isn’t.
- When Logan and his band of outlaws catch up to Dolores and William, he cuts her open to remind William that she’s only a machine. Dolores runs off into the night and William spends the next few days laying waste to every host he comes across in his search for her. It completely breaks the timid, sweet man he was at the beginning of the season.
- Eventually William wanders back in to Sweetwater and sees Dolores. But she has had her memory wiped and is back to the nice rancher’s daughter who just goes about her day, with no sign of recognition in her eyes when William finds her. William’s transformation into the Man in Black is complete.
- Akecheta comes across the sun-crazed Logan, leaning against a tree and delirious after William sent him riding off naked on a horse. Logan says this world (meaning the park) is “wrong” and it sparks something in Akecheta. He begins sensing that he has lived other lives before his current narrative.
- Akecheta later rides to the edge of the park and sees the construction equipment constructing the resort. He realizes it’s a passage to another world and returns to his peaceful village to retrieve his wife, Kohana (Julia Jones).
- Before they can escape, Kohana is caught by security and put into cold storage. Akecheta, not realizing she’s not in the park, continues to look for her for years and years. But he eventually realizes he has to embrace death to find her and gets himself shot.
- William returns to the park with his father-in-law-to-be, James Delos (Peter Mullan). William sees much bigger potential from Westworld than simply “underwrit[ing] some investment banker’s voyage of self-discovery.” He tells James that this is the only place where they will see people for what they really are and that is worth untold amounts of money.
- In the ensuing years, William continues to visit the park, trying to find himself and some sort of purpose in his life. In the real world, he does marry Logan’s sister, but he comes to find out later that his wife and daughter lived in constant fear of him, culminating in his wife’s suicide.
James Delos (or more accurately, a replica host with Delos’ consciousness) is being kept in a facility. He receives his first visit from William here and William sees that Delos’ mind isn’t quite up to snuff yet. There are glitches in his speech, motor functions and cognitive ability, kinks they hope to work out so that some day the Jim-bot may leave and join society.
- This visit doesn’t reveal exactly what the real Delos is dying from, but there is some irony in the fact that he defunded the research for it 15 years prior to being diagnosed.
- Note: This date is also a rough guess. This visit seems to predate Delos’ retirement party because William’s facial hair is thinner and there is less gray in his hair.
- William meets with Dolores in the park’s headquarters, calling her a “thing” and saying he can’t believe he fell in love with her. He has realized he wasn’t interested in her, he was interested in what she reflected back at him about himself. He shows her what he’s working on, which at this point only looks like a bunch of mining equipment.
- Note: This date is a rough guess. Logically, it makes sense that this took place between William taking James to the park and James’ retirement party. The way the show has done Simpson’s makeup and facial hair makes him look a lot closer to 2022 William than 2051 William, so we’re making an educated guess that this is only a couple years later from when he took James to the park.
- Inside the Mesa, the techs are astounded to learn Akecheta has been in the park nearly 10 years and has never died. When they leave him to be updated, he goes down to cold storage and finds his wife, who is, of course, unresponsive because she’s in sleep mode.
- Back in the park, Akecheta makes it his life’s mission to spread the truth to as many hosts as he can. But they must operate in secret, which is why the Ghost Nation puts the maze symbol underneath their scalps.
An older William, still played by Simpson but having aged a bit, visits the Jim-bot again. He has made strides since the previous visit but still isn’t ready to go out into the world.
- During this conversation, it is revealed that the real Delos died seven years ago, which we’re placing at roughly a year after James’ retirement party in 2032.
- The Man in Black reveals near the end of Season 1 that roughly a year prior to present day, his wife killed herself and that’s when his daughter told him that they’ve been afraid of him their entire lives.
- The Man in Black returns to the park to see if he can feel anything, choosing to terrorize and kill a homesteader and her young daughter. He feels nothing, though he is struck by the fact that the female host is in legitimate anguish over her daughter’s death.
- The host in question, Maeve (Thandie Newton), startles Ford with the amount of pain she is experiencing over her daughter’s death, so her drive is wiped and she is reassigned, taking over the post of the brothel madame in Sweetwater’s Mariposa saloon.
- The Man in Black / William visits James Delos. James wants out, but the Man in Black has decided this entire exercise was probably a mistake because people aren’t meant to live forever.
- During the conversation, the older William tells Delos about his daughter’s recent suicide and his son’s OD several years ago, so now we know what happened to Logan. It causes Delos to fly into a rage and the Man in Black tells the technician to let him deteriorate so they can watch his degradation over the next couple days. (Note: This visit probably takes place between the Man in Black’s visit to the park where he killed Maeve’s daughter and his final visit, in which he is still participating.)
- Akecheta meets Ford, who is surprised and impressed to learn how sentient Akecheta has become all on his own. Ford advises Akecheta that when “the death-bringer” (a.k.a. Dolores) returns for him (Ford), Akecheta will know to gather his people and lead them to a new world. (Note: This is an approximation based on both Ford’s appearance [he is the older version of Ford we’ve known as played by Hopkins] and the fact that Ford seems to have already put his host uprising plan in motion, which probably happened pretty close to the events of 2052.)
- In Season 2 flashbacks, we meet the Man in Black’s wife, Juliet (played at this age by Sela Ward). She is struggling with alcoholism, but part of what drives her to drink is the fact that her husband is one giant lie. He presents a facade to the world at large, but once a year he goes to Westworld, and she suspects that that is where he explores his darkness.
- This older William is still struggling with the loss of Dolores all those years ago, seeing her everywhere and thinking of her often. It’s easy to think that she was perhaps his one true love and he hasn’t loved anyone (even maybe his own daughter, Emily) since losing her and embracing his dark side.
- When Juliet gets drunk and confronts William about his fake persona, Emily thinks it’s time to have her mother involuntarily committed to a rehab facility. Faced with the prospect of that, and also the fact that William finally confesses to Juliet (albeit while he thinks she’s asleep) that he doesn’t belong to her, Juliet swallows a bottle of sleeping pills and dies in her bathtub.
- Before she kills herself, however, Juliet finds William’s park profile card and looks briefly at his dark escapades inside Westworld. Juliet then leaves it for Emily to find before committing suicide.
2052 “” Present Day (Season 1)
- Ford performs a series of updates in many of the hosts that evokes “reveries” in them. This remembering of past events (and therefore past pains and trauma) is what jump starts several hosts’ sentience.
- But the sentience is really kicked into high gear when Peter Abernathy (Bradford Tatum), Dolores’ father, finds a photograph of a modern-day woman standing in Times Square. The photo is of William’s wife, Juliet. It fell out of his jacket all those many years ago when he first visited the park. When the photo causes Abernathy to short-circuit, he whispers Arnold’s triggering phrase to Dolores: “These violent delights have violent ends,” which she in turns says to Maeve in the only scene Wood and Newton share in Season 1. Thus begins both Dolores and Maeve’s journey to total consciousness.
- In order to help Dolores along on her journey, Ford gives Teddy a backstory about Wyatt, the villain to end all villains whose programming is actually part of Dolores. It distracts Teddy from his usual loop and Dolores begins retracing her steps from 30 years ago, having flashbacks to both the 35-year-old Dolores who killed Arnold and the 30-year-old Dolores who fell in love with William.
- Meanwhile, the Man in Black is searching for the “maze” he has heard about over the years. He eventually comes across Teddy and enlists his help by telling him they have to save Dolores. When they eventually find her in Escalante (now dug up as part of Ford’s new narrative), Dolores reveals to the Man in Black that the maze isn’t meant for him. It’s for the hosts, as a way to achieve total consciousness.
- One of the final steps in Dolores’ journey to the center of the “maze” is realizing that the Man in Black is actually William, 30 years older. The horror at what her sweet William became is too much pain to bear and it awakens something in her. Later, Ford helps Dolores remember killing Arnold and herself, and her full consciousness is achieved.
- Ford gives Dolores the gun she used to kill Wyatt, and after his big speech to the park’s executive board, she kills Ford with it and then turns it on the fleeing board members.
- While all this is happening, Maeve is busy becoming sentient on her own. She repeatedly gets herself killed because she starts to remember the technicians who repair her. One technician, Felix Lutz (Leonardo Nam), is particularly sympathetic to Maeve’s confusion and begins helping her. As she realizes what’s going on with Westworld, she launches a plan to escape the park.
- Maeve has her attributes, particularly her perception and intelligence, bumped up as high as they will go. It gives her control over other hosts, which she initially uses to get her way in the park. But eventually she is able to recruit some henchmen without controlling them.
- With Felix’s help to remove the explosive charge on her spine (a failsafe put in place in case any hosts tried to escape the park), Maeve breaks out of her prison and heads for the real world.
- Except she is still haunted by memories of her dead daughter, another host who was reassigned after the Man in Black killed her. At the last minute, Maeve changes her mind about leaving the park. She sets off to find her daughter first.
- Also in the present day, the hosts becoming sentient causes some abnormal behavior that does not go unnoticed by Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babette Knudsen) in Quality Assurance or Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) in Behavior.
Cullen, acting in consort with executive board member Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), starts smuggling intellectual property out of the park via satellite uplink. The goal is to ensure they have the IP in the event that when they push Ford into retirement, he can’t take all the IP with him.
- Elsie does some digging into the abnormal behavior and figures out what Theresa is doing, though she doesn’t know about Hale’s involvement. She tells Bernard about his ex-lover’s scheming (Bernard and Theresa were involved) and is attacked by someone we later find out to be Bernard himself.
- Bernard is acting under Ford’s command as a robot. Ford has Bernard kill Theresa and cover it up to look like a tragic accident sustained while trying to smuggle data out of the park. When Bernard learns what he is, he is horrified and Ford wipes his memory.
- At the end of the season, however, Bernard asks Ford to restore his memories and Ford obliges. The pain of remembering the death of his son, Charlie (who was actually Arnold’s son), brings about Bernard’s awakening to what he is. He wants to release all sentient hosts from the park.
- It turns out that was kind of Ford’s plan all along, but the hosts must suffer more first. When Dolores shoots him at the board gala, it starts an us-versus-them storyline for the hosts and humans that will play out in Season 2.
2052 “” Present Day, Immediately after “The Incident”
- After Ford is shot, Dolores and Teddy go on a killing spree of the board members who managed to escape. Her plan is to take over the humans’ world as well.
- Bernard (who is leaking cortical fluid from where Ford made him shoot him) escapes the gala massacre with Charlotte Hale, and they hole up in a secret facility where drone hosts are extracting information from “human” hosts in order to keep tabs on the park’s guests.
- Charlotte is told by someone on the outside that no extraction team is coming to rescue them until they have “the package,” a.k.a. Peter Abernathy, and all the park’s intellectual property that is being stored in his head.
- Bernard and Charlotte track Peter Abernathy (who isn’t read as a host by other hosts “” presumably to help get him out of the park) to a gang of outlaws who are holding a group of board members hostage. They are unsuccessful, and Charlotte takes off on horseback, heading for headquarters, while Bernard and Abernathy are captured by Confederados.
- The Man in Black learns of a new game, created by Ford, that is meant for him. It’s called “The Door,” and it now has life-or-death stakes since hosts can kill humans.
- The Man in Black finds his old pal Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) to help him on his quest. He confesses to Lawrence that he doesn’t like the judgment that has been passed on him “” basically he’s trying to make amends for the person he became “” so he is out to destroy his “greatest mistake” and then burn Westworld to the ground. It seems like the Man in Black and Dolores are racing to this mysterious “weapon,” but have very different uses in mind for it.
- Maeve enlists Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) to help her find her daughter. They find Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and patch him up so they can set off into the park.
Maeve, Hector and Sizemore briefly try going topside only to be set upon by a band of Ghost Nation hosts, so they go back underground. While there, they have a reunion with some old friends “” Armistice (Ingrid Bolso Bergdal), Felix and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum). This merry band of misfits heads out into the park together, but they’ve gotten a bit turned around in the tunnels. Instead of ending up in the Klondike narrative, a samurai wielding a giant sword ambushes them. Welcome to Shogun World, viewers.
- Dolores begins gathering an army to help her reach “Glory” or “the Valley Beyond.” She tells Teddy that regardless of the name, they’re the same thing and it isn’t a place, it’s a weapon. An “old friend” was foolish enough to show it to her long ago “” presumably this is the mining equipment William showed her 28 years ago. She says they’re going to use it to destroy the humans.
- Dolores, Teddy and Angela take Major Craddock’s men to the Fort of Forlorn Hope. She convinces the colonel to follow her orders so that they’ll survive the ensuing raid by the park security team, but Dolores’ real plan is to use the Confederados as cover for her and her men. Unfortunately, the plan goes a little awry when Bernard and Abernathy arrive.
- Dolores is heartbroken to see the state her “father” is in and asks Bernard to fix him. Bernard can barely crack the encryption key inside Abernathy and is then quite stunned by the code in his drive. But before Bernard can do anything, Charlotte returns with backup and kidnaps Abernathy. Dolores tells Teddy to send scouts in all directions to find her father, while her group heads to Sweetwater for something she needs.
- In the bedlam at the fort, Bernard staggers out into the open air and is knocked out by Clementine, and dragged off to a cave finding Elsie (Shannon Woodward) inside, still alive and super pissed at him for chaining her up there. He reveals to her that he is a host and asks for her help in replacing his cortical fluid.
- They enter a secret facility and find a bunch of dead technicians and dead hosts. Over the course of a few memories, we see that Bernard (under Ford’s control) is responsible for killing the people there and creating a human consciousness drive.
- Bernard and Elsie also find the Jim-bot, still in his bunker but slowly going insane. He killed the technician who was there with him and has been carving up his own face. When the Jim-bot attacks Elsie, Bernard takes him down and they incinerate him.
- Before they leave, Bernard reveals to Elsie that he made another consciousness for Ford but he doesn’t remember who it was for. So now the big mystery is which human running around on the show is actually a real human mind inside a host’s body? Our money is on Arnold (see “Still in Question” ).
- Park 6, “The Raj,” (which is colonial India themed) is introduced. William and Juliet’s daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) realizes something is wrong and flees for her life after shooting a host. A host tiger spots her and gives chase, with the two of them going over a cliff into a reservoir “” which explains the tiger washed ashore that Bernard and his team found in the season premiere.
- The Man in Black, meanwhile, has started his own journey of redemption by saving Lawrence and his family from Major Craddock and his cronies in Las Mudas. It makes him think a lot about his wife’s suicide and now he is reunited with his daughter Emily, who was captured by Ghost Nation hosts (though aren’t killing humans). She escaped, and now rides up and says “Hi, Dad.” (Revealing her identity to us for the first time).
- Maeve and Co. find themselves captured in Shogun World and discover that due to Sizemore needing to write a lot of narratives in a short amount of time, there is a Shogun version of Sweetwater. It comes complete with Shogun versions of all of them “” Maeve, Hector, Armistice, etc.
- The Shogun has gone completely off-script, so he sends his men to capture Sakura (Kiki Sukezane), the surrogate daughter of Maeve’s Shogun counterpart, Akane (Rinko Kikuchi).
- While Hector, Armistice and their counterparts keep the Shogun’s men busy, Maeve, Sizemore, Felix, Sylvester and Akane go to the Shogun’s camp to rescue Sakura. Their ruse is unsuccessful, despite the fact that Maeve has figured out how to control other hosts without uttering a word.
- Akane and Sakura are forced to dance for the Shogun, but right before the performance, the Shogun skewers Sakura with a sword and makes Akane dance while Sakura lies bleeding to death on the ground. Akane finishes her performance by sawing the Shogun’s head off and all hell breaks loose, but Maeve uses her abilities to force the Shogun’s men to turn on each other and a melee ensues.
- Meanwhile, Dolores and her crew are in Sweetwater. She wants them to repair the train so they can use it to rescue her father from the Mesa.
- While the repairs are being made, Teddy implores Dolores to give up this war and settle down with him. She allows herself one night of true intimacy with Teddy, something she hasn’t really had since she was with young William.
- But afterward, she has her men restrain Teddy and forces the technician they captured to alter Teddy’s personality, upping his cognitive function and hostility and lowering his compassion. She can’t have a weak link in her chain if she is going to continue on the path of destroying humanity.
- Maeve and her party see Musashi and Akane to Snow Lake where Akane cremates Sakura’s heart. Musashi and Akane choose to stay there and Maeve forges ahead to the homestead with her group, now adding the Shogun version of Armistice, Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto) to the group.
- When she arrives at her old homestead, Maeve seems surprised to discover that her daughter doesn’t remember her and that there is a “Maeve 2.0″³ as the new mom in this narrative. A Ghost Nation group arrives and begins chasing them. Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon), one of the oldest hosts in the park, tells Maeve that they are meant for the same path, but before he can explain a melee breaks out.
- Meanwhile, the Man in Black and his daughter ride together. She eventually tells him that after all hell broke loose in the park, she had to find him and ask him to come home. She says it was unfair to lay her mother’s suicide at his feet and wants them to try again. Though touched “” it is some excellent acting work by Ed Harris “” and agrees to return home with her, the next morning, Emily awakens to find her father and almost all of his posse has left.
2052 “” Present Day, 1 Week after “The Incident”
- Note: Three timelines converge in Season 2, Episode 6, established by who sees/hears the Sweetwater train come crashing into the Mesa. Dolores and Teddy are on the train, Stubbs and Charlotte watch the train arriving on the giant holographic map and Elsie feels the explosion when the train arrives at the Mesa. All of these timelines are now at a point one week past when Dolores killed Ford.
- Abernathy has been brought back to the Mesa and secured (by being brutally bolted to a chair). Charlotte assumes he’s safe there, but not if Dolores has anything to say about it, especially since Teddy is now a bit of a monster after Dolores lowered his compassion and upped his intellect and brutality.
- Meanwhile, Bernard enters the Cradle to try to find out which source code is controlling the park’s systems “” because something in the Cradle is locking QA out of taking back control of the park.
- Inside the Cradle, which is a simulation of Sweetwater that holds all the hosts’ backups, Bernard wanders into the Mariposa. There, who should be playing the piano but none other than Ford, who greets Bernard with, “Hello, old friend.” So it seems that the pearl Bernard has been having memories of creating is Ford’s consciousness, now inside the Cradle and still controlling everything. Ford then reveals the park’s ultimate plan to Bernard “” they’re trying to replicate the human mind so that wealthy guests who can afford to live forever may do so. But the project hasn’t yet worked.
- Ford is still in favor of the hosts breaking out of their shackles and destroying Westworld, but he knows Bernard doesn’t have the stomach for what that might entail, so Ford takes over Bernard’s mind before he exits the Cradle.
- Bernard then (acting under Ford’s orders) disables the park’s systems and kills two security officers.
- Dolores and her crew successfully steal the drive out of Abernathy’s head (after a touching goodbye between Dolores and her father) and they also blow up the Cradle, destroying the hosts’ backup drives, which means now if they die, they might be dead for good (It kind of depends on what damage the drive inside each host’s head sustains). They ride off from the Mesa with the drive, presumably heading for the Valley Beyond.
- Meanwhile, Maeve and her daughter run from the Ghost Nation hosts, as do the Man in Black and his posse. They happen to seek refuge in the same abandoned little town, where Maeve gets her revenge on the Man in Black by shooting him and silently commanding other hosts to do the same. Even Lawrence turns on the Man in Black eventually.
- But Sizemore and his security team ride to the rescue (sort of), shooting Lawrence before he can kill the Man in Black and also spraying Maeve with bullets (Sizemore later scoops her up). The Man in Black, having been shot three or four times, hides from the rescue team. Finally, Maeve’s daughter is grabbed by a Ghost Nation host and taken away to parts unknown.
- Back in the Mesa, Dolores comes across Maeve lying on a stretcher, bleeding out. The two of them talk about their different approaches to freedom and Dolores considers shooting Maeve before the humans can use Maeve against her. But she decides to let Maeve choose her own fate and leaves with her group.
- Sizemore brings Maeve into the Mesa, demanding that she be repaired because she can control other hosts with her mind. But really it’s because he has come to care about her and he doesn’t want to lose her. When they have a moment alone, he apologizes for all of this, telling Maeve she deserves to be out in the park living pe