Jonathan Nolan Still Hopes He Can Return to Westworld


Across four seasons, Westworld explored an array of intrigue and power struggles between humans and remarkably lifelike human robots, first contained to an immersive Wild West theme park, then spread out across the world at large. When its season four finale hit HBO in August 2022, it felt like it could be stopping point—but also, like there was plenty more to explore.

That dream collapsed when HBO cancelled the series in November 2022; at the time, co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy made it clear that they’d “always planned for a fifth and final season.” Cast members, including James Marsden, were understandably bummed about the show’s abrupt conclusion, and the Westworld wound only got deeper when HBO removed the series from its streaming service, then called HBO Max.

But could there be a Westworld revival someday? In January, Evan Rachel Wood shared hopes that she’d one day get to complete the arc of her character. And today, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Nolan—who’s making the rounds discussing his new Prime Video series, video-game adaptation Fallout—was asked about his hopes that the Westworld ending he and Joy had plotted out would somehow see the light of day. “Yes, 100 percent. We’re completionists,” he said. “We’d like to finish the story we started.”

What form that would take—the interviewer mentions a graphic novel or a movie, and Nolan doesn’t address specifics—is unclear; he also sounded unbothered by Westworld’s post-cancellation shift from Max to FAST channels, noting “the amount of people you can reach with a free, ad-supported service is vastly higher than with a subscription service.” (At the moment, it’s not available on any FAST service.) Not getting to a conclusion he’s satisfied with, however, seems to still haunt him: “In terms of finishing the story, you understand that you get the time that you get, sometimes it’s as much as you want, sometimes it’s not. I’m so fucking proud of what we made. It was an extraordinary experience. I think it would be a mistake to look back and only feel regret [over how it ended]. But there’s still very much a desire to finish it.”

Later in the interview, when asked about what he’d learned from making shows that ended too soon (see also: Prime Video’s The Peripheral, which left behind a lot of dangling threads), he said, “You’re always learning … You just want a chance to go again. You put everything you have into one movie or one season. If you get a chance to go again, then great. If the ‘lesson’ was to ease back on the complexity or the weirdness of something, I don’t want to learn that lesson.”

Fallout hits Prime Video April 12; you can rent or buy seasons and episodes of Westworld on Prime Video as well.

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