Westworld‘s labyrinthine, twist-packed freshman run kept many viewers on their toes – and though the show won’t return until 2018, the second season has already begun to take shape. During a recent panel at Paley Fest, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy revealed they’re in the midst of writing the series’ next set of episodes. They explained they’re not planning to revisit the multiple timeline format that framed season 1, as well as confirmed a widespread fan theory that stemmed from the finale. (Namely, that Maeve, a rogue android played by Thandie Newton, made her first free-will decision when she decided to abandon her escape plan and run back into the park to find her long-lost daughter.)
Star Ed Harris (The Man In Black) has also hinted that Westworld probably won’t be delving much into the Samurai World teased in the final season 1 episodes just yet. Elsewhere, both Louis Herthum — who portrays Dolores’ programmed father, Peter Abernathy — and Talulah Riley — who plays welcome robot Angela — have been upped to series regulars for next season, so expect a larger presence from their characters in the episodes to come.
Now, Entertainment Weekly reports that when Westworld returns, it won’t pick up right after the finale, when the park’s hosts had risen up in a revolt against the humans. Joy told the outlet that fans are “definitely going to see the aftermath and the effects of what happened,” while Nolan clarified that they’re “definitely not picking up right where [they] left off” in season 1, at the beginning of season 2.
This fits with their earlier comments that season 2 explore things from the guests’ perspective, before diving into the mayhem that unfolded during the season 1 finale’s final moments. The first season was largely focused on the tension between the park employees and the hosts they oversee, grappling with whether or not the androids can achieve true consciousness. That conflict came to a head at the end of season 1, but the show did little to address the experience of the guests caught in the crossfire – so backtracking slightly should help to provide more context.
It will also help piece together some of the more practical questions that were initially swept over, including what happens when a guest disassembles a host (as the Man in Black did during his hunt for the maze), how the park deals with children not suited for Westworld‘s more violent, hedonistic areas, and maybe even where the park is actually located. Ideally, viewers will come away with a deeper understanding of how Westworld actually functions. Of course, from a storytelling viewpoint, it will also build suspense, though creators will have to be careful to pace things out. There’s still much to be unpacked from season 1, and introducing too much new material could easily tangle an already complex concept. Luckily, they’ve got plenty of time to map things out.
Westworld returns for season 2 in 2018 on HBO.