Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Westworld.”
The INSIDER Summary:
• “Westworld” fans are already going nuts with fan theories.
• Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy love that people are talking about their show.
• But they avoid the theories in case they stumble on an idea better than theirs.
“Westworld” may be only a few episodes into its first season, but that’s not stopping fans from coming up with elaborate theories and predictions for how the series will end. During a conversation with co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, INSIDER asked what they thought about the prolific guessing and Easter egg hunting already happening.
“I’ve learned over the years that you have to be very careful not to read too much of what’s out there,” Nolan tells INSIDER. “It is, however, extremely gratifying and extremely exciting that people are talking about the thing you’re working on.”
The series has been gaining buzz and traction ever since the pilot aired on October 2. A “Westworld” subreddit was already created and has 44,000 subscribers (and counting). Those thousands of fans are guessing everything from the Man in Black’s true identity to hypothesizing about a park employee being a secret robot.
“I read one [theory] the other day and it was pretty elaborate and quite beautiful and I thought, ‘Oh that would have been very cool but we haven’t gone that way,'” Nolan says. “So you don’t want to read a theory that’s more exciting than what you’re working on.”
Both Nolan and Joy fervently agreed that the theorizing and chatter about the story was “tremendously exciting,” even if they can’t always be looking at the conversations. For Nolan, who had a hand in creating renowned films like “The Dark Knight,” “Memento,” and “Interstellar,” the fan theories are what separate the experience of creating movies versus television shows.
“It took me a while to wrap my head around the live-tweeting and the fan theorizing and the websites,” he says. “But that really is just a way of recovering the fan experience we used to have back in the day when — for live entertainment — we all had to sit in a room together and you’d listen to the murmuring and the laughing and oohing and ahhing of the crowd around you.”
Joy chimed in, comparing the online chatter to the fascinating way a college English or Creative Writing class might discuss a book or passage. Occasionally, the literary criticism might mesh with what a student thinks, and other times it’s totally contrary.
“But no matter what, it was always a fascinating philosophical approach to the text, and it opens up the [fictional] world to even the writer,” Joy says. “It’s really fun to make it an interactive experience and to see what parallel dimensions of interpretation scenes can open up. That’s certainly given me an appreciation for how incredibly intelligent and creative and communal our audience is … it’s really cool.”
Nolan and Joy are simply thrilled that “Westworld” has caught on so quickly, and caused such a stir among curious fans who are itching to get to the bottom of every mystery.
“Humans are social animals,” Nolan says. “The best compliment you can possibly get, in my mind, for something that you’re working on is that people are talking, and speculating, and arguing about it online. That’s awesome.”
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