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Westworld producers discuss the big questions from season one’s epic finale

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Joe Ellison
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Warning pilgrim: SPOILERS lay ahead

Those tech bods at Westworld better have some WD-40 handy, as news reaches us that the robot uprising won’t continue until early 2018.
 
Having just broke ratings records for its season one episode finale, The Bicameral Mind, creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy told Variety that viewers will indeed have another 12 months of thumb twiddling at the very least before they’re able to pick up from where it left off.
 
The rough date, they explain, stems from the “complexity of trying to write and produce the show at the same time”, as well as their own commitments to the film industry. Jonathan, as you may be aware, is brother and long-time collaborator of Christopher.
 
We don’t doubt the “complexities” part either. Flinging us headfirst into an android-ran theme park of the future where the hosts are becoming dangerously sentient and their fleshy masters involved in their own power struggles, the plot of Westworld had more depth, detail, twists and turns, than the wrinkled skin on Ed Harris’s face – and what a casting he was as the mysterious Man In Black.
 
And it all culminated with last night’s show-stopping final act, bringing with it another truckload of questions for fans to ruminate over ahead of season two. And helpfully, Nolan and Joy also took discuss some of the big reveals from the final episode.

On the Far East theme park hinted at towards the end of the episode

“There are other places here. This park contains multitudes. We hope to explore that in the seasons going forward,” said Nolan. We saw a tease of one of them all right, coming in some test lab where Samurai bots honed their battle moves behind similar glass panels to those we’ve become accustomed to seeing in Westworld.

Curiously though, Nolan refused to confirm that the SW symbol daubed across walls of what looked like Samurai testing range, only joking that he has “been practicing” with his “Samurai sword”.

All but confirming the new slice of Asia, Joy added: “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.”

A new park would certainly seem a logical step for a series in need of a little wiggle room as the seasons and action ensues (those robotic armageddons have a tendancy to happen fairly quickly) but also because it would be in keeping with Michael Crichton’s original film, in which much of the human-on-bot carnage also transpired in Roman and Medieval worlds.

Season one's finale hinted at another park in a park: 'Samurai World'

On whether Robert Ford is definitely dead

Nolan: “Oh, he’s dead.”

And when pressed on whether he’ll return for flashbacks or something else big, Nolan offered: “Working with Anthony Hopkins on this season of TV has been one of the greatest pleasures and privileges for Lisa and I in our careers. It’s been an incredible experience, and we’ll see where our story takes us.”

On why we still haven’t seen the outside world:

Nolan: “We wanted our narrative to follow a simple set of rules, which is that the hosts don't know much about the world that's around them, and therefore neither should the audience. As the seasons go by and our hosts begin to understand a bit more about that world — and this applies to the last question as well — this series is called Westworld. So Westworld the place and the idea of it remains central to our story as we go forward. But the hosts are going to become more curious about what else there is in this world for them to understand and explore. That's where we want our show to go as well.”

On those multiple timelines

Joy: I think the key is to let it grow organically from the concept and the characters. Even though it is a very complicated, twisty set of reveals, this is the one show in which it is totally organic to what they’re experiencing. You have a group of hosts who are basically immortal, and the fundamental thing that is holding them back is memory. Unlike humans, who have these imperfect memories — we can’t really conjure events in all the detail they occur — the hosts have a different problem. They’re able to bring back the exact replica of that memory so lifelike and engrossing in detail that it’s impossible to distinguish today from tomorrow or yesterday.

Nolan: This is not the first time I’ve written about amnesiac characters. I remember talking to my brother [Christopher] about “Memento” and how I was intending to structure that as a short story. I wanted to write it as a deck of cards and then shuffle that to make it completely, aggressively non-linear, because that was that character’s understanding of the world. Here we had the unique opportunity to try to illuminate some of the differences between how an artificial person might understand the world, and especially an artificial person who had been artificially held back in terms of their understanding of the world in order for us to facilitate us being able to do whatever the f–k we want to them.

Read more on the pair’s insight here. Once done, take the batteries out of every electrical product you own. Just to be safe.

Westworld is available now to download, discover and watch on iTunes

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Joe Ellison

Joe is a writer and editor. Specialising in film, food, sport, current affairs, travel writing and adept at pilfering David Brent quotes, Joe describes himself as ‘basically a chilled out entertainer’. Follow Joe on Twitter: @Chevychased 

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