Westworld's third season came to a close earlier this week, but it seems like the HBO series still has some story to tell. In the days before the Season 3 finale, it was confirmed that Westworld will be returning for a fourth season, with some reports suggesting that series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy had six total seasons planned for the series. According to a new interview from Nolan, the truth behind that isn't so cut and dry. As Nolan recently told Variety, they aren't sure exactly how many seasons the show will ultimately run for, especially as those seasons are taking longer stretches of time to come out.
"Well, I just want to clarify, you know, Lisa and I have never actually talked about a number of seasons," Nolan explained. "James Marsden mentioned five [seasons] in the first season when we were on hiatus, and more recently there’s been reporting about deals and other stuff like that. But we’ve never actually talked out loud about how many seasons we imagine this thing going, because I think you’d be foolish to. Things change, circumstances change. I think when we sat down to do the show, we didn’t quite realize how difficult it would be to make this show — [laughing] how many years it would take per season. So we’ve never actually talked about how many seasons that plan was, and indeed I think when we had the plan it didn’t actually map out to a specific number of seasons, exactly. It was a beginning, a middle and an end."
"It would be like working on the novel and saying, this novel is going to be 436 pages," Joy added.
"Exactly. We’ve been very, very lucky to work with this cast, this crew, and now, partnering with Denise," Nolan continued. "When you have a show going like this, you want to stay as long as you’re telling a compelling story. We’re heading towards that end, but we haven’t completely mapped it out. At this point, part of the work is looking at the rest of the story we have to tell. It’s two impulses, one against the other. You don’t want to walk away from people who are as talented and cool as this. They’re all lovely, lovely people, and they love working together, we like working together. At the same time, you don’t want to outstay your welcome. You have a story to tell, and you want to go out without feeling like you’ve outstayed your welcome. So we’re trying to balance those things a bit."
That notion of the series "heading towards that end", albeit in a more nebulous way, is certainly interesting. While the series and its litany of plot twists have largely been well-received, some did worry that the series was sort of proverbially spinning its wheels in Season 2 and 3. While it's unclear exactly when Season 4 will premiere, especially given the current COVID-19 pandemic, it will be interesting to see how the series' overall planned storyline grows and evolves.
Westworld's fourth season does not currently have a release date.