Though the next season of Westworld is tragically far away (as in 2018), it’s never too early to start talking about that Season 2 may hold. The HBO series’ co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan recently spoke to Variety’s podcast “Remote Controlled” along with star Evan Rachel Wood about the response to the first season and what’s coming next. Be aware that some of their quotes contain major spoilers for Season 1 of the show …
One of the great pleasures of watching Westworld each week was theorizing on the nature of the park and its beings. What were its secrets? On the podcast, Nolan spoke about how one always hopes that viewers will become invested in a series, but “In our wildest dreams, we didn’t expect the level of fan engagement and dialogue …. [like] that moment when they figured out the plot twist for Episode 10 42 minutes into Episode 2.”
Joy went on to say that,
“It wasn’t like there were surprises that we’re trying to keep from the audience consciously; we were trying to lead a path of breadcrumbs. We anticipated that a small group of the audience might discover it, that that will be part of the game that we were playing with these die-hard fans. What we didn’t anticipate was that they would go to social media and talk about it and they would get circulated so that it hit a wider base of people who have an online presence and pick that up. There were also people who were still in for the surprise like my parents — I managed to surprise them.”
The two suggested that in Season 2, viewers who still want to “play the game” along with the show may want to just think up their own theories rather than get lost in Reddit threads. But then again, that’s also part of the fun (parsing out those theories and feeling a certain kind of satisfaction when they come true). However, if you’re getting disappointed when proposed theories turn out right, maybe stop seeking that out and just enjoy the ride as it happens.
Still, Joy and Nolan are keeping mum on Season 2 for the most part, though Nolan teased: “It’s an ambitious season. We always knew that we wanted the stakes and the scope to increase dramatically and that means the scale of production increases as well.” He continued that, as far as what theorizing fans should focus on,
“What’s really happening in this place. We’ve hinted at that a little bit in the first season and we’re going to go a little deeper with that in the second season.”
Nolan also said that Anthony Hopkins‘ Ford definitely did die in the finale, and Season 2 will explore more of the history of the park and how it came to be what we saw in the present timeline. As far as that particular scene with Ford’s death, Wood said that,
“Killing Ford, I did not see coming, not in the way that they did it. I didn’t know it was going to be me, I didn’t know that’s how this show was going to end, I was just in absolute shock and I couldn’t believe that it was me. I couldn’t believe that I had to actually hold a real gun to Anthony Hopkins’ head and pull the trigger. That was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life.”
She also added that the actors were kept in the dark as much as viewers, and that the cast had their own theories about what happens while on set. And while she did guess about William (Jimmi Simpson) being the Man in Black (Ed Harris), her final scene with Hopkins floored her. “When I read the final page, I just threw the script down and kind of walked away, couldn’t handle it.”
Here’s hoping we get more of those twists and shocking moments in Season 2, which will start production in July.