It took a very long time for the first season of HBO’s Westworld to grace our television screens. The pilot was shot about a year before the rest of season one was shot. Despite the production issues, Westworld continued on and delivered a strong opening 10 episodes. As a result, the biggest question hovering around the show is simply, where can Westworld go from here?
Warning: if you haven’t finished Westworld season 1, do not continue on. Everything throughout the first season of Westworld will be spoiled. If you have finished the first season and want to read our recaps, you can find them right here.
As soon as the first trailer came out, Westworld looked like it would be HBO’s next big hit. Here’s a look at it, if you don’t remember:
Ah, that trailer reminds me how naïve I was when I first watched it. If you watch it again closely, there are a ton of major scenes that are shown, such as Maeve recruiting Hector, Dr. Ford forcing Bernard to kill himself, Armistice killing the tech, and so much more.
Anyway, season one ended with a bang that left the audience hungry for more. In the weeks leading up to the season finale, a lot of people on Twitter and Reddit were worried all of their questions wouldn’t be answered.
Would we find out who the Man in Black really is? Will we find out what the maze is? Will Maeve make it out of the park alive? Are there other “theme parks”? Those were just a few of the big questions and luckily, all of them and more were answered.
In fact, Lisa Joy, who co-wrote the series with her husband and fellow executive producer Jonathan Nolan, said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the only question they’d have after the finale would be: What’s next?
“We weren’t interested in spinning out mysteries with no answers in sight,” Nolan said. “Our goal is to tell an ambitious story in season-long chapters, each with a distinct feel and theme.”
Added Joy: “Most of the questions viewers have will be resolved in the final episodes, except for the most important one: What happens next.”
Of course, some questions were left unanswered such as: Where is this park located? How many “theme parks” are there (we presumably know of at least two: West and Samurai)? What does the outside world look like? What happened to Logan?
But the thing is, none of those questions are as big or carry as much weight as “What happens next?” or “Where can Westworld go from here?”
Those questions can lead to many different possibilities. Here are two ways that question could be answered along with where we’d like to see the show go from here.
I think it’s safe to say this is 100% going to happen. Dolores killed Dr. Ford and shot up a bunch of the members of the board. Even though it’s possible some of them may survive, the living members of the board are in the middle of the park, surrounded by all the hosts that had previously been shut down for being faulty.
The hosts have also gained sentience and are beginning to make their own choices: Maeve decided to go find her fictitious daughter, while Dolores chose to killed her creator. That means they are truly “waking up” by unlocking the maze, which leads to them gaining more and more consciousness.
This whole concept of a “robot rebellion” was hit on by Jonathan Nolan and company during the post-credit breakdown of the finale that aired on HBO after the episode.
Go back and listen to what Nolan says at the 3:00 mark:
“Ford has set in motion what he thinks is a plan, the nature of that plan is something we explore in the second season. What his intentions are. Are they to let Dolores and the other hosts escape? Are they simply to teach the human guests a lesson?”
Those last two questions Nolan brings up are central to the idea of a host rebellion and are important to keep in mind over the next year and change before season two returns in 2018.
More Theme Parks:
In Michael Crichton’s original movie “Westworld” that was released in 1973, the Delos corporation ran three theme parks: Westworld, Medieval World, and Roman World. During New York Comic Con in October, Nolan was asked by a fan if we would ever see other worlds like the ones shown in Crichton’s movie. The EP answered the question in a very strange way.
“You said Roman World and Medieval World, right? No.”
Well, if Nolan was only referring to season one, he told the truth. However, the way in which he answered the question also leads us to believe that he could be referring to their plan for the first five seasons that they’ve already mapped out.
Additionally, by teasing viewers with the little bit of “Samurai World” that was shown in the finale, Nolan showed that his answer could be interpreted as “Roman and Medieval World? Not in our TV series. But other parks? Yes!”
Another reason why there could be more worlds outside of West and Samurai is the location of Maeve’s daughter that Felix gives her. The piece of paper says she is in “Park 1,” which leads us to believe that there are, in fact, multiple parks. However, it’s possible that West is called Park 1 and Samurai is Park 2, or vice versa, and there are no other parks.
Anyway, a couple other possible parks could be Futureworld (which was the name of the original movie’s sequel), Water, Ancient Egypt, and maybe even Westeros. Yes, the creators of Westworld once talked about the idea with George R.R. Martin and HBO.
While we may not see any of those ideas come to life in season two, Joy practically confirmed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that we will be seeing more of Samurai World in Westworld‘s next run.
THR: And focusing specifically on this new world, how excited are you to bring Westworld into Samurai territory?
Nolan: Well, I’ve been practicing with my Samurai sword.
Joy: And I’ve taken years of martial arts that have suddenly fallen by the wayside now that we’re showrunning. (Laughs.) But it’s wonderful to work with actors we haven’t worked with before. This allows us a lot of access to Asian actors and the Asian community, which is very important to me as part Asian myself.
That entire interview has some more little notes and nuggets on season two, as well.
More Time Tricks:
One thing that made season one great was the writers’ ability to weave together three timelines so effortlessly that some viewers had zero idea William was, in fact, the Man in Black 30 years ago and practically every scene between Dolores and Bernard was actually 35 years in the past.
It wasn’t too surprising to see Nolan write this concept into the show after working on four other fantastic movies that play with time: Memento, The Prestige, Inception, and Interstellar.
But with the writers doing this in the first season, I think that makes it less likely they will do it again to the same effect in the second season. Why is that? Well, since it played a big role in season one, if viewers know it’s coming in season two, the trick will be hard to pull off again. Yes, many people knew about the multiple timelines as early as episode two, thanks to Reddit. But if everyone expects it to happen again, it takes out half the fun.
That’s why it needs to be done more subtly. What do I mean by that? Well, maybe only do two timelines instead of three. Or how about two or three that are closer in time, say by four to five years instead of the present, 30 years ago, and 35 years earlier.
When I engaged in debates with friends about this show, one common theme kept coming up: Some of the storylines dragged too much. It sometimes felt like Maeve was going through the motions of her storyline at a much slower pace than everyone else and could have reached her season finale climax in the span of three episodes.
In season two, the storylines could move more at the same pace. It wasn’t just Maeve who saw her storyline lag or zoom by others. William and Dolores encountered this issue as well. So did the Man in Black, who had to meet so many different people again and again, only to discover it led him nowhere. Yes, the MiB meeting Armistice and Hector provided some cool scenes, but was it really necessary?
By moving the storylines along at a faster pace, the show may be more fluid. Then again, I don’t get paid to write shows with $100 million-plus budgets. I also thought this issue was over-analyzed by many people, as I didn’t have big a problem with it.
Sadly, Westworld season 2 won’t arrive until 2018. But honestly, that’s probably for the best. Also, if you don’t believe me, here’s Nolan’s answer when THR asked him about the next season’s air date:
Season two might not air until 2018. Why the delay?
Nolan: Definitely not coming back until 2018. Look, we said to the network very early that this was a different kind of show, having gone through the experience of making the pilot. Game of Thrones is incredibly ambitious, and that was part of the reason we knew we wanted to make this show with HBO. Game of Thrones kind of has written the book on production value for television, and how to make something that has all the scope and scale of cinema for a TV show. They also have an advantage of having [George R.R. Martin’s] amazing books, or had it for the first six seasons, which gives you a leg up. I still don’t know how they turn those seasons around in a year. It’s astonishing. But we knew for ourselves that going forward, the production is enormously challenging and ambitious, and so is the writing. So we said very early on that we wouldn’t be able to turn this around every year, and knowing full well that that’s been a time-honored tradition in television. But in film, my other life, on the Batman movies, the best we could do is turn another one around in three years. I really feel like we’re splitting the difference here.
Makes sense, right? Why rush the show and the writers and make them work year to year when that could hurt the integrity of the show and make the product worse? Former HBO president Michael Lombardo admitted he made that mistake by forcing season two of True Detective to make an air date, rather than let showrunner Nic Pizzolatto create the show that he wanted when it was ready.
That’s exactly the stance Nolan and HBO are taking, and fans should ultimately be happy about that. It’ll be a long time until we can write another Westworld recap here at The Comeback, but that just means we’ll have to watch season one over and over until it feels like we’ve been placed into a little loop.