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New Westworld stills tease Ghost Nation backstory – here’s what the fan theorists say…

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Apr 29, 2019, 6:01 AM EDT (Updated)

We’ve had some pretty big shocks and surprises in Westworld Season 2, but a highpoint has undoubtedly been when the show has ventured into previously uncharted Delos terrain such as Shogun World. While the next episode might not reveal a whole new park, judging by these newly-released images from HBO, it does promise to show a completely new point of view, from the mysterious Ghost Nation tribe.

The park's fictional indigenous hosts have always been part of the show, but never properly explained. Initially we saw them fighting against Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and William (Jimmi Simpson) in what seemed to be just another Delos narrative. But so far in Season 2, the tribe has become more significant, at various points appearing to divert groups of park players away from the rogue hosts.

The official preview for episode eight, titled "Kiksuya" (which means "remember" in the tribe's Lakota language), hints that we will finally learn the backstory of the Ghost Nation tribe -- which could not only help piece together the differing timelines, but also reveal which side they are on, if any. “The past was calling me. But before I could understand it, they took everything from me,” a tribe member says in the preview... could they be part of their own AI uprising just like Dolores and Maeve?

Of course, there have already been many intriguing fan theories out there speculating what role the Ghost Nation will play in the grand scheme of things. The most popular idea appears to be that they are an older group of hosts that can be reprogrammed, and that Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) is the one pulling their strings, as discussed on a recent Reddit thread. It’s noted that Elsie found out about reprogramming older hosts in the first season, and therefore could now be using them to fight against the deviating hosts (after all, Dolores was seen killing one in the first episode of Season 2).

And while they didn't respond to the voice commands of Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) -- suggesting they are perhaps being controlled by someone else -- they did keep him alive. They also saved Grace (Katja Herbers) when she was found washed up on the shores of Westworld after escaping from the Raj World park. In fact, we have yet to see Ghost Nation members killing any of the park guests, which adds credence to the theory that they are on the side of someone seeking to keep the park under control.

If true, this would of course be a massive game-changer, not least for Dolores and her android bandits. And there have been discussions that the Ghost Nation have also become sentient too, as the teaser shows its leader finding his way to the maze of self-discovery. Either way, we're looking forward to finding out any extra crumb of information on this puzzling bunch.

"Kiksuya" is set to air Sunday, June 10 on HBO. In the meantime, have a look at the pics in the gallery below, featuring members of Ghost Nation. And if you want to find out more about the show's extraordinary makeup and special effects, please enjoy our interview with artist Melanie Aksamit.

Which side do you think the Ghost Nation tribe will be on? Give us your wildest theories in the comment section below.