Following an enigmatic freshman run, Westworld finally wrapped season 1 on Sunday night. The sci-fi thriller has been trailed by rampant fan theories since its early October premiere, many of which were slowly confirmed as the show progressed. The finale tied up many lingering loose ends — including several major reveals — but it also left a couple key questions unanswered.
One of the biggest queries still on the minds of viewers is when (and where) Westworld takes place. Between the Old West backdrop of the theme park itself and the high-tech setting seen behind closed doors, the show feels as though it could be unfolding in the far-flung future. Throw in the flashbacks between past and present and the timeline becomes even more tangled.
Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have been deliberately tight-lipped about what year Westworld is unfolding in, but the Delos Incorporated Website may have revealed a pretty definitive clue. As first reported by /Film, a sleuth Reddit user recently discovered a telling online video. If you type “reverie” into the admin text entry box and press enter, you’re presented with a clip showing corrupted security footage from the host invasion of the Delos Mesa hub that took place during Sunday’s finale episode.
A brief landing page at the beginning, however, holds an important detail. According to the date seen in the top left corner of the screengrab above, Maeve’s escape occurs on June 15, 2052 — roughly 36 years into the future. Since we also know that William and Logan’s first trip to the park happened three decades earlier, we can assume those took place around 2022, which isn’t all that far from now. In a previous episode, Dolores said she saw Arnold — the real one, not the android copy — exactly 34 years, 42 days, and seven hours ago, which pegs his death as early as 2018.
These calculations aren’t conclusive, but they are convincing. Nolan confirmed in a behind-the-scenes video that Westworld was set in the 21st century, so it’s certainly a timeline that makes sense. Still, the series has a proven habit for eschewing linear narratives, so it’s possible we’ve watched scenes from across the century (or centuries, as the case may be). Where they’re happening is still a mystery — everything from outerspace to underwater has been championed — but at least we’ve got a clearer grip on just how soon Westworld’s events could be transpiring.
Westworld will return for season 2 on HBO.
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