Well, that was one way to prevent the spread of spoilers.
Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the husband-and-wife showrunners and creators of HBO's Westworld, said during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session earlier today that they had come up with a plan -- which they teased several weeks ago -- to stop spoilers about their enigmatic series from getting out by... spoiling all of season 2.
Yes, you heard that right. What Nolan and Joy claimed they were going to do was post a video online in which they spoiled all the plot twists and reveals of the upcoming second season, supposedly in the hope that people who decided to watch the video would protect the rest of the fans from reading about theories that turned out to be actual spoilers. Nolan wrote:
“If you guys agree, we’re going to post a video that lays out the plot (and twists and turns) of season 2. Everything. The whole sordid thing. Up front. That way the members of the community here who want the season spoiled for them can watch ahead, and then protect the rest of the community, and help to distinguish between what’s ‘theory’ and what’s spoiler.”
Huh? Well, it turns out that many members of the fan community were so obsessed with figuring out the show's gradually unfolding plot in season 1 that they came up with elaborate theories about it -- and in some cases, those theories actually turned out to be true. But when other fans read about the theories and then watched the show, the speculation ended up acting as spoilers.
So Nolan and Joy said they were fine with people wanting to spoil the entire second season for themselves -- as long as they protected others who didn't want the thing ruined for them. They said they were inspired to do this by the fan community of another HBO series, Game of Thrones:
"...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 5).”
For its part, HBO said in a statement to EW, "This is an initiative from the Westworld showrunners. We suggest you stay tuned to Reddit for their next move." Which kind of sounds like marketing speak, right?
It was tough for a while there to gauge whether this was an elaborate gag or not. Nolan called it a "difficult (and potentially highly controversial) decision" in his post, adding that the cast was supportive of it. He also noted that they would only share the video if his post got 1,000 upvotes, which it easily sailed past.
Sure enough, just as he promised, Nolan posted the video on the Reddit board later in the evening. We'll give a shout-out to The Wrap for telling us what it was so that we could just skim through it and not watch the whole thing: a few minutes of Evan Rachel Wood singing a mellow version of the 1987 Rick Astley hit "Never Gonna Give You Up," followed by another 20 minutes of black and white footage of a dog sitting in front of a piano:
In other words, ladies and gentlemen, the geniuses behind Westworld rickrolled everyone. As Nolan himself noted, "It’s a new age, and a new world in terms of the relationship between the folks making shows and the community watching them. And trust is a big part of that." Apparently not that big.
Season 2 of Westworld premieres on HBO on Sunday, Apr. 22.