It’s been 24 hours since the epic ‘Westworld’ season finale but find out what we know so far about season 2…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The first season of ‘Westworld’ came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday night as the sprawling futuristic series on HBO answered a lot of looming questions while also presenting several more ahead of season 2.
The show was already renewed by HBO for a second season so that means show creators and show runners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are already hard at work plotting out what will unfold when ‘Westworld’ returns.
While details are still to be determined once Nolan and Joy reassemble the writer’s room for ‘Westworld’ season 2, a few details have been revealed through various interviews on Monday.
We’ve compiled a list of the biggest pieces of information concerning ‘Westworld’ season 2 while anxiously awaiting the arrival.
‘Westworld’ Season 2 Will Not Air Until 2018
While the show has been renewed for 10 more episodes on HBO, ‘Westworld’ won’t air at all in 2017 and instead will return in 2018.
According to Nolan, he made the show with a series like ‘Game of Thrones’ in mind with huge production schedules that rivaled any of the biggest movies in Hollywood. With that level of production, however, comes time that’s needed to produce 10 quality episodes.
So with that said, ‘Westworld’ will spend the next year being created, produced and shot on location before finally debuting in 2018.
“Definitely not coming back until 2018,” Nolan said. “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.”
Ed Harris teased in a separate interview that production for season 2 will likely pick up in June or July 2017.
‘Westworld’ Season 2 Is All About Chaos and Mayhem
At the end of ‘Westworld’ season one, Dolores finally became the first truly self-aware host in the park and with her consciousness came choice. The first choice she made was to shoot Dr. Robert Ford in the back of the head before opening fire on a group of Delos Corporation board members, who were on hand to view the latest narrative being unveiled in the park.
With each shot ringing out, shrieks of terror were being heard throughout the audience while the Man in Black — who we now know is named William — was shot in the shoulder by an army of previously dead hosts who have been reawakened as Dolores’ personal military.
“The end of the season finds us with the stakes taken all the way up,” Nolan said.
“If the first season was defined by control — the second season is defined by chaos. I think that’s part of what we come to understand Ford has been planning all along.”
Later in a Facebook live chat when asked to describe ‘Westworld’ season 2 in three words, Nolan was very specific about the craziness that’s about to unfold.
“Total fucking mayhem”.
As for Joy, she added — “madness and transcendence”.
Who Will and Won’t Be Back for ‘Westworld’ Season 2?
The end of ‘Westworld’ season one saw several characters potentially written out of the show but none bigger than Dr. Robert Ford, who was shot in the head by Dolores in the closing moments of the finale.
Ford — played brilliantly by Anthony Hopkins — was a huge part of the first season, but he also essentially took himself out of the equation by allowing Dolores to shoot him. It was almost like removing God from ‘Westworld’ because up until now he’s had complete control over the hosts and now they are free to make their own choices.
With Ford’s death means that Hopkins’ time on ‘Westworld’ would appear to be over but Nolan cautions fans that nothing is set in stone.
“I think with this show, you want to assume nothing,” Nolan said about Hopkins’ return. “We had a wonderful experience. It was one of the greatest privileges of my career so far, getting to work with Anthony for the first season. It was an incredible experience.”
Nolan was later asked about Ford’s secret lab where he had Bernard kill Theresa Cullen and the mystery host being created throughout the scene.
The question became — is that host that Ford was building a carbon copy of himself just like the one he made to replace Arnold following his death?
“It’s a really, really good question,” Nolan said.
The cast members we know for certain who are coming back for season 2 include Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright.
See y'all in #Westworld 2018, baby.
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) December 5, 2016
Obviously many of the other cast and characters are expected to return as well but there’s only one person from season one who is definitely not coming back.
At least not right now anyways.
Jimmi Simpson — who played William from a story taking place 30 years prior to present day — before eventually transforming into The Man in Black (played by Ed Harris).
Simpson confirmed on Monday that his story with ‘Westworld’ is finished and he’s no longer contracted to appear on the show for season 2.
“My William has served his purpose,” Simpson said. “As of now, I’ll be done at the end of Season 1.”
Of course as production for ‘Westworld’ season 2 picks up there’s always a chance the creators decide to do another flashback involving William considering we never saw exactly how he took over Delos Corporation or what happened to his future brother-in-law Logan after he was sent riding off butt ass naked on a horse on the outer edges of the park.
Two more characters may return in season 2 simply because we never learned their fates at the end of season 1.
Elsie — the programmer who was grabbed by Bernard after discovering code that he was writing into the hosts’ software — and Stubbs, the security offers taken by the Ghost Nation at the end of episode 9 were not featured at all in the finale.
Nolan says there were plans to feature them in the episode, but it ultimately didn’t play out that way.
“We dearly love both those actors,” Nolan said. “We also, you know, it was not our intention to spin out huge mysteries ad infinitum. We wanted to resolve some pretty important storytelling. But we didn’t want to answer every question.”
From the sound of things, however, Joy seems to tease that Elsie and Stubbs will both return at some point during season 2.
“Their fates — we know where they’re going and we’ll get there,” Joy said.
‘Westworld’ Season 2 Won’t All Take Place Inside the Park
For the biggest part of ‘Westworld’ season 1, the show took place either inside the confines of the Old West theme of the park or in the laboratories and offices upstairs where technicians worked on the hosts while also creating new ones.
At the end of the finale while Maeve was making her escape from the park, she ran across a second park with a giant ‘SW’ as the logo with a slew of samurai warriors fighting each other with swords inside a room.
It’s clear that this is a different park separate from Westworld — possibly Samurai World — and the creators acknowledge that the show is going to get a lot more expansive during season 2.
“We’re definitely teasing there are other worlds,” Joy said. “How many other worlds and what is the nature of the other worlds is something we’ll start to explore more in season 2. But it was definitely fun filming those samurai [scenes].”
‘Westworld’ season 2 will definitely explore further out beyond just the park as well. The creators said that season 1 was specifically set up to only explore the world as seen through the eyes of the hosts — in other words the viewers were only going to see as far as the hosts had ever seen.
In this case for season 1, it was the park itself and building upstairs where the employees worked and operated.
Season 2 will expand out further because Nolan says that from the first day they created ‘Westworld’, they didn’t want to end up looking at the same sets throughout the run of the show so we will definitely end up exploring new places.
“For Lisa and myself, with this show, we never had any intention of staying in one place,” Nolan said. “We don’t want to shoot on the same sets for 10 years. We want to blow the sets up and move onto another piece of the story. So we said when we started working on the series that we wanted to be ambitious.
“We wanted each season to increase in that ambition and in the scope of the show. It also follows the story of our hosts. Their lives begin in loops, and then expand and change and grow. It’s an origin of a new species. We want to follow that story all the way to the bitter end.”
Choice Will Play a Major Part in ‘Westworld’ Season 2
The entire theme around ‘Westworld’ in the first season was watching the hosts start to gain consciousness before finally becoming sentient beings.
Dr. Ford died because Dolores finally became self-aware and made the choice to kill him — or in effect eliminate God because he was the one controlling them for all these years while secretly watching them evolve into a whole new species.
“These creatures had grown into sentience within that story. They realize the only way for these creatures to be truly free is for that god to die,” Nolan explained. “If on a very literal level, if Ford’s voice is the last thing — we’ve established his voice as an almost telepathic control of the park. The only thing standing between the guests and the hosts is Ford, so he removes himself from that equation.”
That choice was a conscious decision made by Dolores to kill Dr. Ford and that will send reverberations throughout all the other hosts in the park.
Choice after all is a major piece of consciousness for humans and now it will be the same for the hosts.
“I think part of it is we’ve looked at the hosts trying to become aware of the reality of their situation and who they are. To hear their own voices. That’s where we’ve gotten to at the end of this season,” Joy added. “Now the thing we get to explore is once they’ve heard their own voices and once they’ve embraced who they are, what choices will they make?
“It speaks to a thing of how identity constantly evolves. They were steeped and raised in violence. These violent delights did indeed have violent ends at the end of the season. And I think we’re going to see how that pendulum swings going forward.”
‘Westworld’ season 2 will go into production in 2017 with a 2018 debut date on HBO.