In its first season, Westworld was a show that, much like Game of Thrones, welcomed plenty of theorizing from fans. Its complex plot twists and labyrinthine network of hints and Easter eggs indicated that this was a show meant to be unpacked, and countless online communities spawned to meet this demand.
Fan theory after fan theory was dropped and, more often than not, proven right over the course of the show. As the show heads into its second season, its co-creator teased a new relationship with its online fan-detectives.
While it’ll be fully announced in a few weeks, co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy acknowledged a “somewhat controversial plan” aimed towards community interaction, speaking at the Westworld SXSW panel. The tie-in websites, mobile game, and other spin-offs offer plenty of room for extra teases, but this isn’t the first time Nolan has turned to more direct engagement with would-be Westworld savants.
He’d previously said he’d sometimes hop on the subreddit r/westworld and join the discussion, though his contributions may not have helped move the community’s ideas forward. “We love to f**k with Reddit as much as possible,” Nolan joked at the panel. But this new, secretive idea seems to be geared more towards rewarding theorists rather than messing with them. Nolan continued by saying “True Detective had a lot of fan theories that proved to be theories. There are lot of theories about Westworld’s first season that proved to be plot twists. I think for every fan theory, we actually had an episode that dealt with it.”
“We’re figuring out how to sort of interact with that in the second season,” Nolan said. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see people put that much work — not just into deciphering the season, but the fan art and music. The creativity you see coming back at you when you’re making one of these things is extraordinary.” Nolan certainly appreciates the fandom, even when it guesses and unravels his own carefully planned story.
So how would he encourage or taunt those that would seek to unravel his second season? Those already working on figuring out Shogun World will be the first to understand Nolan’s plan, while the rest of us will have to wait until its official announcement.
Westworld’s second season airs April 22.