HBO’s new series Westworld is poised to be the heir apparent to Game of Thrones once that epic story comes to a close. Showrunners Jonathan and Lisa Joy Nolan clearly have this comparison in mind, even subconsciously, if their plan of attack for scripting the series’ story structure is any indication. You see, it’s not enough that the new show will air its 10-episode first season starting in early October, the Nolans wanted to have the whole storytelling spectrum in mind, beginning to end, five-seasons worth at least.
It’s an ambitious plan, a plan which the Nolans explained to EW recently, and which was backed up rather enthusiastically by star James Marsden. Should the new series prove successful, fans will be comforted with the fact that an endgame is in place, meaning they won’t be left with an unsatisfactory conclusion or plots left unexplored and unexplained, or at least that’s the plan anyway. We’ll revisit this in 2020 and see how it’s all played out.
Here’s what Lisa Joy Nolan had said earlier this year regarding Westworld‘s production delays:
“The show is complicated and ambitious. For the first half of the series we were writing while in production and we needed the time to catch up on scripts. Taking that time allowed us to really finesse all the storylines we set up – deepening character arcs and delving further into the series’ larger mythological questions.”
She followed up with EW more recently by saying:
“It’s a really complex interlocking story. We knew where we wanted to go and we knew exactly how the season ended where the kind of character arcs ended, but weaving those scripts and writing the dialogue for all these brilliant actors, it takes time.”
But while Season 1 should be well and firmly set at this point, Marsden also told EW that the writers took the time to sort out a larger masterplan for the series’ arc overall:
“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.”
Jonathan Nolan joked about the obvious comparisons to HBO’s Game of Thrones and noted the inherent differences between the series:
“We would joke that don’t have George, we don’t have the novels. We have a fantastic original film, but that’s a little under two hours of storytelling. So our joke was we have to write the ‘novels’ first, and then adapt them and then go shoot them. 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.”
We’ll get a glimpse of how all this grandeur is going to play out when Westworld premieres on HBO October 2nd at 9 p.m. ET.