Caution: Spoilers for Westworld season 2 ahead
Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy promises there is a clear ending for the series in mind. The show recently wrapped up its second season and it would be fair to say that a number of viewers got lost along the way, both physically in terms of ratings and figuratively in terms of a general sense of complete confusion regarding the events playing out on screen. As with Westworld's debut season, the show utilized clever editing and multiple timelines to keep viewers on their toes and dropped several obligatory "guess who's actually a host" moments in for good measure. Naturally, the season two finale sought to tie up many of the loose plot threads but took several stunning twists and turns along the way.
Season two of Westworld also saw the show's philosophical themes amplified considerably, exploring topics of sentience, reality and ethics alongside modern day areas of discussion such as the mass collection of consumer data. With J. J. Abrams' name on the tin, Westworld's high-concept approach to science fiction perhaps shouldn't come as a surprise but other franchises featuring Abrams' involvement have occasionally been accused of making things up as they go along. Lost is possibly the most notable example of this criticism but over on the big screen (or indeed, Netflix) the Cloverfield series has come under fire for trying to fit largely unrelated movies into the franchise.
However, Abrams' fellow execs on Westworld, the husband and wife duo Jonathan Nolan and Joy, already have an ending in mind for the show, the latter has confirmed. Speaking with Stuff, Lisa Joy obviously wouldn't be drawn on the specifics of Westworld's conclusion but did reassure viewers:
"We have an ending in mind; we've had it from the pilot. It's very emotional, I think. I can't tell you exactly when that ending will come but I think for every season what we try to do is tell a chapter of the story that gives you closure and then opens a door to a new chapter. The overarching question of the series is, what will become of this new lifeform? So I feel it would be irresponsible to not have an end goal in mind."
Joy's comments will no doubt be greatly appreciated by viewers who are already invested in the Westworld story. Plot-driven shows that are heavy on mysteries, morality and shocking twists often require a higher level of engagement from their audience to be fully understood and in return, most fans like to believe there's a purpose and direction to the events unfolding with each episode. Even The Walking Dead, a series that once toppled viewership records for fun, has recently come under fire for seemingly having no "endgame" in mind. The fact that Westworld has - and apparently has always had - a clear goal will no doubt help the show maintain its course as the seasons progress.
Interestingly, Joy does seem to imply that there is currently no firm idea regarding how long Westworld will run. While it's understandable that Joy wouldn't want to publicly state how many seasons she feels the Westworld story would need, such decisions are often in the network's hands after all, her comments perhaps imply that although she and Nolan have planned an ending for Westworld, there is less certainty about what comes between then and now.
Westworld season 3 is currently without a premiere date. More news as it arrives.