Westworld showrunner still hopes to finish the series somehow

Jonathan Nolan's new show Fallout premieres later this month, but he's still holding out hope that his other sci-fi show, Westworld, may one day get a proper ending.
Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld
Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld /

Following the success of Game of Thrones, a number of networks launched a number of ambitious fantasy and sci-fi shows hoping to capitalize on the big budget genre television craze. One of the first out of the gate was Westworld, a sci-fi series on HBO. Based on the groundbreaking 1973 movie by Michael Crichton, this new series reimagined the plight of the robotic hosts and their Western-themed park for the rich and debaucherous with a gritty new sheen, spinning intriguing questions about humanity's responsibility to its creations, morality and sentience.

Unfortunately, despite its excellent first season, Westworld had a large decline in viewership over the years. By the time of its fourth season last year, the ratings were less than a third what they were when the show first started airing, which is a hard pill for a network to swallow when they're spending truckloads of money on a series. HBO pulled the plug on Westworld ahead of its fifth and final season.

Since then, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have moved on to other projects including The Peripheral at Amazon, which was renewed for a second season before Amazon reversed course amid last year's Hollywood labor strikes. Next up for Nolan and Joy is Fallout, a satirical sci-fi series premiering on Amazon later this month that's based on the beloved video game franchise. But is there any hope we may still one day see what Joy and Nolan had planned for Westworld's final season?

"Yes, 100 percent," Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter when asked if there was any possibility he'd one day finish Westworld, whether that's as movies, graphic novels or some other format. "We’re completionists. It took me eight years and a change of director to get Interstellar made. We’d like to finish the story we started."

aaron-paul-thandiwe-newton_0 Caleb Maeve Westworld season 4
Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) in Westworld season 4. Image: John Johnson/HBO /

Having a show canceled on its penultimate season is difficult, both for fans who want to see how it all ends and for the creatives who put years of their lives into realizing the story. But adding insult to injury in the case of Westworld, shortly after it was canceled, HBO also pulled it from its streaming service Max as part of a downsizing move under the regime of new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. So not only was Westworld canceled, but you couldn't even watch it on the original service at all anymore. Instead, it's been shopped around to ad supported TV networks in hopes of bringing in an extra cash flow.

For Nolan's part, he sees this as much more of a positive than a negative. May we all learn from his grounded example. "Look, my career began on CBS [with Person of Interest]. The amount of people you can reach with a free, ad-supportive service [like Roku and Tubi, which had Westworld last year] is vastly higher than with a subscription service. That part didn’t bother me," he said. "But 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. "

Here's hoping he gets the chance. I'd tell you where you can watch the first four seasons of Westworld, but honestly I have no idea what streaming service even has them at the current moment. Physical media for life, friends!

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