Viewers were quick to piece together that Westworld was operating on multiple timelines during season 1, but apparently, star Evan Rachel Wood found out on accident. The concept was a popular fan theory throughout the western sci-fi's freshman run, and after a number of well-placed hints, it was confirmed by the time the finale wrapped.
William (Jimmi Simpson), a reluctant first-time visitor to the park, was actually the younger version of callous antagonist the Man In Black (Ed Harris). In the timeline that took place in the past, we watched as he fell in love with ingenue host Dolores Abernathy (Wood), eventually turning on his future brother-in-law (and fellow guest) Logan (Ben Barnes) in order to be with her. Back in the present, he blazed through Westworld on a sadistic mission to uncover the park's secretive maze, while Dolores, for her part, didn't even remember him.
Wood, basking in the glow of the show's staggering 22 Emmy nominations, revealed to Deadline on Thursday that she hadn't even thought about the idea of multiple timelines when a simple question led to a mind-boggling revelation. She told the outlet:
“It was so nonchalant how I found out. It was around production of the third episode and I asked the question, ‘Why is this gun here?’ When I closed the door, it was gone. As an actor, I want to know what’s going on, it’s a legitimate question. Then somebody explained that it was part of a completely different timeline. I walked off the set and thought, ‘I don’t know anything. This show could be anything. My mind is completely blown.'”
Though Wood would have known eventually, whether she figured it out on her own or was told directly, she said knowing the twist early helped shape her performance. She continued:
“It helped to inform my performance of this girl who is losing her mind, and that she doesn’t know what’s happening given the fact that she’s in multiple dimensions, living in the past, present, and future."
When Westworld returns for in 2018, it likely won't revisit the same bilateral format, but it will jump ahead from the season 1 finale, when an army of androids had revolted and overtaken the park. Instead, it will backtrack to explore different perspectives, then dive into the chaotic aftermath. But hopefully, next time around, Wood will be a little more clued in.
Westworld returns for season 2 in 2018 on HBO.