Westworld returns to HBO on April 22, 2018. The hype has been building slowly as new information is meted out in the form of an interactive experience, a trailer, and an updated website. What new mysteries awaited audiences this year? You could practically hear the fans cracking their knuckles, ready to peel back the layers and lay bare the beating heart of DELOS. But then something strange happened. Showrunner Jonathan Nolan took to Reddit in an AMA and dropped a bombshell. He and fellow showrunner Lisa Joy are considering posting every spoiler and plot twist for Season Two ahead of the premiere.
[Fans theorizing] creates a larger problem for us, though, in terms of the way your guesswork is reported online. 'Theories' can actually be spoilers, and the line between the two is confusing. It's something we've been thinking about since last season. 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 5).
We thought about this long and hard, and came to a difficult (and potentially highly controversial) decision. 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.
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. We've made our cast 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 a 1000 upvotes we'll deliver the goods.
I'll admit it: this is a bold move. As a proponent of spoiling myself so I can enjoy something like a thriller without the nervous anxiety of "What will happen next?" I see nothing wrong with spoilers. Reading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire didn't ruin the emotional beats of watching Game of Thrones. But the idea of putting all the spoilers in one place so fans can easily access them — and then trusting said fans not to spoil those who want to go in unsullied — feels like it is missing the point of the fun. Fans don't theorize because we want the answers handed to us; solving the puzzle is half the fun. It's the reason ARG (Alternate Reality Games) tied to major franchises are so worthwhile. Putting in the work makes the payoff that much better.
For example, within Westworld's lore itself, there was a way to access the backend of the DELOS website. Once there, one could see that guests were signing away their rights to any DNA that ended up on or in the hosts. For what purpose remains a mystery. The answer led to more questions, a cascade effect similar to the dialogue and choice options given to hosts within Westworld itself.
I'm not opposed to HBO putting up spoilers for Season 2. But at least make us work for it. Hide clues on the DELOS site, create dummy accounts for third-party companies that funnel resources to Westworld. Maybe have a disgruntled former employee or unhappy guest leave a screed on a message board you can only access by solving a series of interconnected clues. Don't just hand it to us. We're not toddlers. We're a collective of amateur sleuths looking for adventure and the companionship of being in this together. Giving us the answers is just boring.
Photo Credit: HBO