HBO's Westworld already has the next five seasons planned out
If you recall, HBO's Westworld suspended production back in January in order to give show-runners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan additional time to write the final episodes of the first season. It's always a little concerning when a production has to shut down temporarily, but in the case of Westworld the delay allowed the team to "really finesse all the storylines we set up – deepening character arcs and delving further into the series’ larger mythological questions." That break served another purpose beyond catching up on writing however, it also allowed Nolan and Joy to plan out the next five seasons of the series.
It wasn’t about getting the first 10 [episodes] done, it was about mapping out what the next 5 or 6 years are going to be. We wanted everything in line so that when the very last episode airs and we have our show finale, five or seven years down the line, we knew how it was going to end the first season – that’s the way Jonah and [executive producer J.J. Abrams] operate. They’re making sure all the ducks are in the row. And it’s a testament to Jonah and Lisa and HBO that we got them right, especially the last three scripts. They could have rushed them and get spread too thin. They got them right, and when they were right, we went and shot them.
There always was a rough plan in place for the future of Westworld even from the first pitch to HBO, but it's good to know that the complex story which they hope to tell has been fully mapped out. However, Westworld is a big ambitious series with a hefty price tag and if the ratings aren't there, additional seasons likely won't be the first thing on HBO's mind. We're a little under a month away from the premiere of Westworld so we still don't fully understand how the first season will unfold, but Jonathan Nolan teased that subsequent seasons will likely be quite different.
We didn’t want to have a story that repeated itself [each year]. We didn’t want the Fantasy Island version of this [where new guests arrive at the park every season]. We wanted a big story. We wanted the story of the origin of a new species and how that would play out in its complexity.
Westworld will debut on HBO on October 2, 2016.