Few shows have inspired fan theories in the way that Westworld has, and it has apparently caused the show's creators to rethink their approach for season two.
The show—which was originally based on the 1973 movie of the same name—takes place in a futuristic theme park featuring incredibly realistic robots who are slowly coming to realize that they are robots, and they don't have to keep doing whatever the humans program them to do.
The first season told stories through multiple timelines often masquerading as the same timeline, with characters even the audience didn't realize were actually androids. The fans went wild with their theories, and many of those theories (or most of them) turned out to be completely accurate, like the many that suggested that William (Jimmi Simpson) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) were actually the same person, or that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was actually an android himself, based on the mythical park co-creator Arnold.
Those theories were out there by episode two, but the reveals didn't come until the end of the season, disappointing a lot of fans who felt they had the whole thing figured out way too quickly. It also apparently disappointed creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who have come up with a plan for season two which they describe as "potentially highly controversial."
During a Reddit AMA in the Westworld subreddit on Monday, Nolan and Joy revealed that they plan to release "a video that lays out the plot (and twists and turns) of season two," for any fans who want the season spoiled for them. Those fans can then "protect the rest of the community" by helping to distinguish between spoilers and regular fan theories.
They explained that fans guessing the twists created "a larger problem" for those behind the show due to the way fan theories are reported on, and the fact that those theories can sometimes be spoilers "and the line between the two is confusing."
"It's a new age, and a new world in terms of the relationship between the folks making shows and the community watching them," the message continued. "And trust is a big part of that. We've made our cast a part of this decision, and they're fully supportive. We're so excited to be in this with you guys together. So if this post reaches 1000 upvotes we'll deliver the goods."
(As of press time, the post has just over 600 upvotes.)
The responses to the post are mixed. Some assume it's a troll and will end up being a fake video, which it very well could be after Nolan joked at SXSW that he "loves to f--k with Reddit as much as possible," but there's also a general sense of uneasiness about this move that's pretty much unheard of for any show, let alone a major drama on HBO. Game of Thrones goes to great lengths to protect its plot points, but Game of Thrones is also an example that Nolan and Joy use in their post in a different way.
"The fans of Game of Thrones, for instance, rallied around and protected the secrets of the narrative in part because they already knew those secrets (through season five)," Nolan and Joy write.
For the first five (or so) seasons of GoT, many fans knew the general direction of each season and of the show in general because it was somewhat closely following George R.R. Martin's books. Now, it's a different ball game, with fans similarly coming up with wild fan theories about how the show might end. The difference is that not as many major fan theories about Game of Thrones have been proven to be totally correct (yet), along with the fact that Game of Thrones is not a show that relies as much on major twists.
While it does make a certain amount of sense to take away power from those viewers so doggedly determined to figure out exactly what is going on by just telling them what's going on, this plan seems to miss the entire point of fan theories. It's not always about having a correct theory, but more about engaging in the world of a TV show (or movie or book franchise) in a way other than just simply sitting and watching it. It's a fun game to try and guess what's up, and all that fun is kind of lost when the answers are readily available, suspense-free.
Just because we want to try and figure out what's going to happen on Westworld, that doesn't mean we actually want to know until we've taken the full journey of watching Westworld. And the idea that none of those season two plot points meant just for people who do want to know won't be accidentally seen by people who don't want to know is kind of laughable. Plus, if this video is meant for the people who write elaborate fan theories based on speculation, then why would they want something they can't speculate on or write fan theories about?
It's just a plan that doesn't make a lot of sense for anyone involved, unless it's more about a fear that the show won't live up to the fan theories, or that the fans will just get everything right once again. But if that's the case, then maybe the creators need to focus less on spoiling their show and more on making it even better than (or at least as good as) the fan theories it inspires.
Westworld premieres Sunday, April 22.