'Westworld' Has Five Seasons Completely Mapped Out

Earlier this year HBO shut down production on Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's television remake of Michael Crichton's Westworld. When the J.J. Abrams-produced series was greenlit, HBO was hoping to premiere the series in 2015. Whatever the real reason was for the delay, Abrams was correct when he said it's never a bad move not to rush to a premiere date. They took their time with the series, and according to actor James Marsden, it was somewhat because they were plotting future seasons. In fact, if all goes according to plan, we'll get a total of five Westworld seasons.

The break allowed Nolan, Joy, and all involved the time to polish the scripts for the final episodes of season one. They needed time to catch up on writing while the show was in production, but they did more than just work on the first season. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the talent behind Westworld said they wanted time to figure out how to start building towards the potential series' finale.

Here's what James Marsden said about the process:

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 [showrunner] Jonah [Nolan] 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 [co-showrunner] Lisa [Joy] 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.

When Nolan and Joy first pitched the series, they envisioned three or four seasons, but it sounds like their story has grown during the making of season one. What would future seasons of Westworld be about? Nolan didn't go into specific detail, but he said each season would be different:

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.

Perhaps future seasons could explore Romanworld and Medievalworld? That's doubtful, although we can always keep our fingers crossed for a nod here or there to those other worlds. Nolan's comment on "the origin of a new species" is telling, though. If the artificial intelligence develops free will, will they ever become free? How would the world react to this new species? There's plenty of questions to ask with Westworld's concept — questions that aren't fully explored in the original — so it's not surprising Nolan and Joy already have enough material in their back pocket for future seasons.

Westworld premieres on HBO on October 2.