We’re just days away from the big Season 1 finale of HBO’s “Westworld.” The buzz behind the 90-minute episode should be enough to fuel months of speculation and watercooler talks to follow — and our fandom may need to survive on such conversations for some time, as it looks like Season 2 of the sci-fi western won’t be coming to HBO until sometime in 2018.
We’re looking forward to Sunday’s (Dec. 4) finale — but it’s hard for us to not think about what will come next. How will the story continue once Season 1 is complete? According to an interview with EW, executive producer Jonathan Nolan isn’t looking to leave any mysteries unanswered:
“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.”
If Season 1 will be a contained story, with all the loose ends tied up, what does that mean for future episodes? To speculate about the future, one must look to the past and see how the original “Westworld” story panned out.
In the Michael Crichton movie, Westworld was just one of three areas guests could visit in the park. The other two, Roman World and Medieval World, felt appropriate for a ’70s view of the future. But now that Delos has been reimagined for the small screen, would it be appropriate to dig up these old park ideas for some new, updated, exploration?
As we’ve seen, the board members — along with the Man in Black (Ed Harris) — have been working at dismantling Westworld from the inside. Their motives to push out Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) have been a bit shady, but given Ford’s own sinister actions, we guess it’s all relative here.
If they succeed in pushing him out and taking over, what’s to say that the new ruling body won’t utilize his tech in the other areas of the park we’ve yet to see?
Let’s be clear here — HBO’s “Westworld” is continuing Michael Crichton’s canon. One very big key indicator of this is the hard-to-spot nod to the film featured in Episode 6, “The Adversary.”
As Bernard continued his mission to investigate Arnold’s mysterious broadcast, he ventures into a closed off section of the park. And there, for just a split second, viewers were able to spot the silhouette of Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger in the background.
From the intricate twists and reveals throughout the show’s first season, we’d side with the notion that this isn’t just an easter egg for the fans, but a subtle nod to the park’s own past: That in that brief moment, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy connected the events of their series with the events that transpired in the 1973 movie. Going with that newfound logic, it would be easy to deduce that Roman World and Medieval World still exist somewhere on the park’s grounds.
Let’s be clear here: We don’t think Season 2 should ditch the western environment. After all, HBO is the perfect network to explore some “Deadwood”-flavored fantasies while pondering the world of the future. And it’s also where the series has thrived throughout the story and character development of Season 1. But with a new board on the verge of taking over control of the park, we have a feeling some new land will be uncovered.
Our bets are on Roman World. With “Game of Thrones” filling the medieval niche for fans, it may be about time to revisit the violent and sexy age of gladiators and togas.
That’s not to say Medieval World won’t be in the cards somewhere down the line. After all, the George R.R. Martin epic will be ending its run around the time “Westworld” returns. In terms of genre storytelling possibilities, the sky’s the limit.
“Westworld” Season 1 finale airs Sunday, Dec. 4, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.