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Credit: John P. Johnson, HBO

Westworld's showrunners have been planning for Season 3 since the very beginning

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Aug 15, 2018, 8:08 PM EDT

Westworld is a series that only really works with very careful planning on the parts of its writers, led by creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. To juggle that many characters, stories, and even timelines, you have to have a clear picture in your head of where everything and everyone is headed. While we've felt that for the most part since the series launched, the upcoming third season might end up being the best example yet, but Nolan and Joy have been planning for it since the pilot episode.

The hit HBO sci-fi series is up for a whopping 21 Emmy Awards next month, and Joy and Nolan have been giving numerous interviews about the show lately as a result. The second season just wrapped up in June, and while we still have a long wait ahead of us for Season 3, the husband and wife showrunning team have already promised a "radical shift" as several main characters move away from the park and out into the real world, where they can launch new agendas and schemes. 

Of course, this is Westworld we're talking about, which means exactly what the shift will entail will remain mysterious to us as viewers for quite some time. For Joy and Nolan, though, Season 3 is not a mystery. In fact, it's something been thinking about ever since they were writing the show's pilot.

“Yes, it is our biggest undertaking as of yet,” Joy told The Wrap. “But the great thing about Season 3 is, when we were writing the pilot, the major storyline for Season 3 was already something that we had talked about nonstop. We’ve been waiting to get to this place and now that we’ve arrived here, we already have a very strong idea of exactly where we want to go and we can’t wait to go there.”

While it may be hard to see some shows figuring out a Season 3 gameplan even as the first season is still taking shape, that's not the case with Westworld, and indeed if you go back and watch those early episodes you can probably see seeds of it being planted, particularly in the characters of William and Ford. It'll be interesting to see how those seeds grow as the story continues, and perhaps even more interesting to revisit remarks like this with Joy and Nolan after Season 3 arrives, so they can explain just how they arrived at those particular ideas. 

As for when Season 3 might arrive, the showrunners aren't yet sure, but they do emphasize that a lot of work has yet to be done.

“We’ve got a long, long year in terms of writing and pulling together the pieces for the third season,” Nolan said. “I think what’s fun for us about this is discovering this world could be kind of extraordinary like this. And an opportunity — you know, if the show has spoken metaphorically about our world at this point, then the opportunity to visit our world is very exciting for us on both a character level and a story level.”

The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast September 17 on NBC. Hopefully Westworld will get to a bring a few trophies back home to the park.