Co-showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan dish about the real world, the "digital afterlife," that crazy post-credits scene and when we can expect Season 3.
To be honest, we're still scratching our heads a bit after that trippy hour-and-a-half "Westworld" season finale Sunday night. But as confusing as it was, all eyes are looking to the future and how different that's going to look in Season 3.
Thankfully, the show's co-creators and co-showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan have been making the rounds and talking to everyone about not only what just went down, but what's coming our way in the future. As we start to look that way, we should probably tell you there will be spoilers for what's happened so far, so consider yourself warned.
Or maybe just go watch 20 episodes real quick and catch up with us ... Back already? Good stuff, huh? Does it make more sense when binge-watched like that? Yeah, we didn't think so.
Joy and Nolan had plenty of teases about what's to come, including the importance of the relationship between Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), the fate of the Valley Beyond, who's in Hale (Tessa Thompson) and what's in her bag -- or is that a who, too? They also dished on the fate of fan-favorite Maeve (Thandie Newton), that mind-blowing post-credits sequence and teased when we can expect our return ticket to HBO's trippiest drama.
'Far, Far Future'
Lisa Joy revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the shocking post-credits scene takes place not only after the events of Season 2, but in the "far, far future." But that doesn't mean this thread will be picked up right away, either, as she further said this won't be the focus of Season 3, though it is a future they're working toward.
Host or Something New
After that post-credits sequence, many people were theorizing that the Man in Black (Ed Harris) was a host, but Joy was quick to keep that speculation uncertain. "We don't necessarily say he's a host," she said. "A host refers to a creature like Dolores, someone who is pure cognition, someone who is made up of nothing and has a fabricated body as well. It's definitely a sequence that's indicative of a direction we're going to."
Things Get Real
While Season 1 took place on the artificial Westworld, and Season 2 introduced us to additional artificial worlds, Joy tells THR that "the major lens [for Season 3] that we will have is going to be the real world." She even used the word "if" when talking about the possibility of a return to Westworld. That said, those worlds are still a part of the fabric of the story, so it's just that the focus will shift to a more real-world-based perspective.
Return to the Valley Beyond?
The Valley Beyond, the digital reality that Dolores ultimately helped the hosts find their way into, has been locked away from the physical world, and only Dolores knows how to find it. When asked if we were done with the Sublime, then, Joy told THR, "I think we have to take Dolores at face value. It's locked away. Humans can't access it anymore. They're gone. They're in a place we can't touch." She described it as a "digital afterlife."
Jonathan Nolan answered a similar question for Entertainment Weekly saying, "I think that's on the safer end of things to presume. But there's a big story we're telling here so..." At this he trailed off.
Dolores v Bernard
The conflict between Dolores and Bernard is unlikely to change, but Joy says this may be a conscious result of Dolores' evolution through the second season. "She's come to understand that true freedom isn't something that arises from a lack of dissent, from a dictatorial or totalitarian rule of one set of ideologies," Joy told THR. "It's something that has to happen with a plurality of ideas, sometimes coming into conflict. Because she's learned her lesson, she's bringing Bernard back into this world to be a check on her own power, in some ways."
'A Whole New World'
With Dolores, Bernard and Charlotte Hale (or someone inhabiting Hale's body) outside of the park, Season 3 is "going to be a whole new world," Joy told THR. "In the third season, they've broken out of the park itself. We're in terra incognita. From the beginning, when Jonathan [Nolan] and I were thinking about the series as far back as the pilot, we knew we wanted to explore other worlds in the park, and we also knew the one world we would start to see little glimpses of throughout the first two seasons was the real world, and that we would get there eventually -- and when we did, it would be a whole new experience."
Who the Hell Is in Hale?
As mentioned, we watched Dolores escape the park in a host body identical to Charlotte Hale, carrying out five pearls with her. Then, when we flashed forward in time, we saw Dolores had rebuilt her original host body, yet the Hale lookalike was still alive and well, too. So it's not exactly clear which Host was in that body by the end of the season finale, and Joy said we'll find out.
"What Dolores has done is that she’s smuggled herself out of the park while impersonating Hale," Joy told Deadline. "She has put herself back into her body, and yet Hale is still there. The question is where is Hale now? And that’s a question we’ll be visiting next season."
Who Are the Five?
"There is Host data in the actual hosts who did not 'sublime,' so their CPUs are still intact," Joy told TheWrap. "So, if they didn't sublime, those pearls still contain their information. In each of those little balls in the purse is a host, so there is a handful of them, but not an infinite amount of them. There are five. One Host per pearl." That promises a slow reveal of their identities, not dissimilar to how the reimagined "Battlestar Galactica" revealed their humanoid Cylons over a period of time.
Maybe More Maeve
In an almost throwaway comment to Wired, Joy confirmed that Maeve's storyline isn't done yet, even as it seemed to have some closure in the finale. "There is a lot of death in Westworld this season, but you also do see Maeve being given to Sylvester and Lutz, delegated for them to take care of," she said. "So we'll see how hapless those two idiots are next season."
Three More Parks
When challenged whether we would ever see the three other parks beyond Westworld and Shogun World that we've been waiting to see for 20 episodes now, it was good news.,Joy told THR, "Absolutely." Nolan echoed that when talking to EW, saying, "Not all of our characters have managed to escape yet," which gives us a great excuse to get back into those worlds.
Season 3 Premiere Date
When it comes to when we'll see "Westworld" again, unfortunately, there isn't a hard date. "There's going to be a bit of a wait for a third season but we want to surprise and hopefully delight people with the way things progress," Nolan told EW. "We want to take the time to make every season as exciting as possible. And we have an enormous challenge going into Season 3 with the worlds that we're building going forward. We want to make sure we have the time to do that right."
Well, okay. We guess we'll wait. But you better bring it when you finally bring it, if you know what we mean!