'Westworld' Showrunners Talk About Ford, The Finale, and Season 2

Tuesday, 06 December 2016 - 3:38PM
Westworld
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 - 3:38PM
'Westworld' Showrunners Talk About Ford, The Finale, and Season 2
The best part about the season finale of Westworld this past Sunday was that we knew it was only the beginning. Season 2 has already been confirmed, and now the official Westworld website allows you to have a freaky automated chat with one of the park's hosts, complete with glitchy, dystopian compression artifacts and chilling hints at the aftermath of "The Bicameral Mind."

Meanwhile, Variety sat down with Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy to go over some of the biggest lingering questions, including plans for Season 2. There are some major spoilers for those who haven't caught up yet, so beware!


One of the first questions was whether Ford was really, truly dead. Nolan unequivocally answered "Oh, he's dead." So no "eyes-springing-open-as-the-camera-zooms-in" cop-out. It also means we won't get to see Anthony Hopkins again, which is sad after seeing Ford's fascinating journey as a character and antagonist. When asked whether Hopkins knew Ford would die from the beginning of the show, Nolan said:

Opening quote
Here because so much of the season is about Ford's intentionality and his plan for his new narrative...it made sense for Lisa and I to engage with him from the beginning...about how this is...a prologue to the larger story that we're telling. In this narrative Ford is God. This is the death of God as the jumping off point for our story but also a full meal to itself. We were very straightforward with Tony from the beginning.
Closing quote

The next question is an interesting one, considering how far the show has come and how much we've learned about the hosts. The interviewer pointed out that now that most of the human characters are dead, missing, or revealed to actually be hosts in disguise, the next season could focus less on humans as main characters and more on the hosts themselves. When asked if that was the plan for Season 2, Nolan said that's not the strength of the show:

Opening quote
Not necessarily. One of the great things about this omnibus, ensemble storytelling that HBO has mastered is the ability to shift that perspective and find empathy for different people, and that's something that we want to continue to play with throughout.
Closing quote

One of the things that can utterly ruin a TV show or movie is being ridden into the ground by a schedule. As Nolan and Joy note in the interview, sometimes creating a show for television means writing the script as you go along, all while juggling production and editing duties. When you're writing a carefully plotted show like Westworld, with multiple timelines and insane reveals, that schedule can be deadly. But according to Joy and Nolan, HBO has given them all the time they need to produce a Season 2 that will blow our minds: 

Opening quote
Nolan: It's an ambitious project, and HBO has encouraged us to take the time and resources that we need to work on each stage of that...we're not going to follow the annual year-on-year tradition of television. Television's changing. And the ambition of the project is such that we're going to take our time to get the second season right.

Joy: We've started working on scripts and outlines. It's looking good. It's looking very ambitious. There's some surprises and bits of it that you won't see coming. I'm having fun.
Closing quote

The final question on every fan's mind, though, is what the new season's park will be. Medieval World? Roman World? Or does "SW" stand for Samurai World? To the "SW" question, Nolan simply says "Stay tuned."

Westworld will return in 2018.
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