Just three fourths through its first season, Westworld is already one of the most buzzed about shows in recent memory. It’s thus far notched high critical praise and rampant online chatter, spawning enough fan theories to rival the famously speculative Lost.

Created by TV veterans Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the sci-fi thriller delves inside the Western-themed park of Delos, a vacation hotspot overrun by android “hosts” that serves as a hedonistic getaway for its visiting human guests. The series was adapted from Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, though it flaunts several key differences from its predecessor.

Rumors about a second season have been swirling since the show’s Oct. 2 premiere, and now HBO has officially renewed Westworld. As Entertainment Weekly reports, its sophomore run will include another 10 episodes. Given the massive, epic undertaking necessary to shoot and produce the series, however, it likely won’t return until 2018. Here’s what HBO Programming Chief Casey Bloys told EW, regarding that matter:

“My suspicion is sometime in ‘18 because of how big the world is and what goes into shooting it. They’re going to have to map it out and write the scripts, but my guess is sometime in ‘18.”

The news hits just after the seventh episode, though it comes as no surprise: Westworld has already proved itself as a ratings dynamo. It’s currently averaging 11.7 million viewers across all the network’s platforms, which is more than what its megahit sister show Game of Thrones pulled during its own first season. In fact, it’s larger than what Thrones is attracting now, even in its sixth run. It notched 10.7 million viewers during its season 6 premiere in April—a full one million short of Westworld’s numbers. Westworld also broke a record for the channel, drawing in its biggest series premiere audience since the first season of True Detective in January 2014.

Still, Bloys said the ratings weren’t the only driving factors for the decision to renew, but also Nolan and Joy’s pitch for the narrative:

“Jonah and Lisa [are] great storytellers. I didn’t know exactly what to expect in season two. What they came up with is as exciting, mysterious and as fun as season one. And completely original, as well.”

With the current story line still very much in the air, it’s hard to guess what season 2 might entail, but the renewal news is inarguably a big win for both HBO and Westworld fans.

Westworld continues next Sunday with ‘Trace Decay’ @9pm on HBO.

Source: HBO [via EW]