Posted on Thursday, October 6th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
Westworld had a record-setting debut on HBO, and so far we’re loving it. But it wouldn’t be a Bad Robot production if it did cause us to ask all sorts of questions, speculate at the possibilities and obsess over the many Westworld theories floating around the internet.
And that’s part of the fun of it all, right? That’s something we lose from the culture of binge-watching. Part of what made Lost great week to week was the watercooler discussion that came from the mysteries and twists, and that was possible because we were all experiencing the story together (even through DVR time-shifting).
What I’m presenting here is a collection of Westworld theories I’ve compiled from around the internet. These theories will get you to question the reality that we’ve been presented in the show, and consider the possible mind-blowing twists that await us.
As with most of the Lost theories, I’m willing to bet that a majority of what follows is not in the plans of the showrunners. It is fun to discuss and contemplate this kind of stuff, but there is the chance that one or two of these could end up panning out. So, if speculation of possible spoilers worries you, turn back now. If you want to speculate and swim in the possibilities, continue to read the Westworld theories below.
Westworld Is Only One of the Worlds in This Theme Park
When Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and the security team go to cold storage on sub level B83, we see an area that looks like it was intended to be a grand lobby, with an escalator, high ceilings and remnants of decorative furniture which doesn’t appear to have been used for decades. And we see a sculpture of a planet with the word ‘DELOS’ emblazoned on it. What was this area originally used for?
In the original Westworld movie, DELOS was a theme park that consisted of three themed “worlds” — West World (the American Old West), Medieval World (medieval Europe), and Roman World (the ancient Roman city of Pompeii). Think of it like Walt Disney’s Disneyland park.
But in the show, DELOS is the company that runs Westworld. The website HBO created for Westworld presents Westworld as if it’s an actual place you can visit and it lists the park as a “DELOS Destinations compound” which suggests there may be others.
Showrunner Jonathan Nolan was asked if we can assume that there are other worlds in this theme park, like in the original movie, and here was his response: “I would assume nothing. We’ve got an awful lot of material to cover just with Westworld, but you want to stay tuned.”
His answer seems dismissive but never directly debunks the theory. Is it possible that we will later discover the other lands outside of Westworld? If so, will they be part of this series or could they get their own eventual spinoff series? We’ve already seen HBO struggling to come up with a Game of Thrones spinoff show to continue their mega hit, and we know that Westworld has five or six seasons planned out. Can it be that they have already planned for spinoffs, just in case?
Westworld Is Not Set on Earth
What lies beyond the park boundaries? Is it a post-apocalyptic future? Or is it a more futuristic version of our modern society, something like Minority Report? Jonathan Nolan has said that we are entering into this world from the eyes of the hosts, and “they don’t understand much; they don’t know what that outside world is, they don’t know when that outside world is. They’re coming to discover that.” So what lies outside the gates of Westworld?
Hitfix’s Donna Dickens is convinced that Westworld isn’t even taking place on Earth. I even wondered in my list of logistical questions, how it would be possible that a corporation would obtain so much land for this western theme park experience. The sprawling map of Westworld includes deserts, grasslands, mountains, and even big patches of water. The Westworld showrunners have said that we will find out that the landscape is just as methodically designed as the hosts, whom we have seen 3D printed and programmed.
During one moment in the pilot, Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) asks Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) “When do you get to rotate home again?” The showrunners have mentioned that the characters were making a reference to “getting leave,” which gives us a sense that the staff is on location “in the park for several weeks at a stretch before they rotate home.” This could be because Westworld is located in a remote part of the country, far from the employees’ home cities. Or maybe they are much further away from home? What if they are on another planet, like a terraformed Mars?
We know that the show is set during the 21st century, but we don’t know how far into the 21st century we are. It is possible that humanity could make a home on another planet in the next 84 years. Certainly that is Elon Musk’s plan with Space X.
Anthony Hopkins character Dr. Ford talks about how “evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool: mistake” and goes on to explain how humans have “managed to slip evolution’s leash now” being able to “cure any disease, keep even the weakest of us alive.”
But the biggest piece of evidence to support this theory is that sculpture we saw in the sublevels, of a planet with the word ‘DELOS’ emblazoned on it that. If you look carefully, that world doesn’t look like Earth. Dickens points out that “Delos” is a word of Greek origin, an island where Apollo and Artemis were born.
While the island has no capacity to produce food or timber, it was crucial to many cultures for its religious significance. For the purposes of Westworld the interesting piece of Delos’ history comes from the the Delphic Oracle who declared no one on the island could give birth or die there in order to preserve its sacred nature.
Fascinating, indeed. As I mentioned previously, the official HBO website for the series presents Westworld as a real destination, and some of the information on the website may give us more clues. In a section about entering the park, it says the following:
Westworld is the only vacation where you don’t have to pack a thing. The park is all inclusive, and bespoke clothing awaits you, along with everything you need to enjoy your stay. Free yourself of modern inconveniences that inhibit your ability to sever ties with the outside world. Upon booking your dates, our consultants will work with your local port authority to chart your course to the park. Bring nothing; worry about nothing.
Space travel is expensive, and bringing no baggage might make things a lot more affordable.But it’s also possible that DELOS doesn’t want guests to bring in their own items which could contaminate the world (like the photo) or real weapons which could pose a safety hazard. Another section on leaving the park says the following:
Even humans need to recalibrate — Westworld is an experience like no other and we have designed the world’s finest decompression chamber: the Mesa Gold. At the conclusion of your stay, begin the process of dipping your toe back into the real world: swap adventure stories with other guests, drink award-winning cocktails, experience food prepared by world-renowned chefs, burn off adrenaline at professional-grade athletic complexes. Even here, you can fulfill your every desire.
It’s interesting that it calls it a “decompression chamber,” a term usually used for deep diving and space travel.