'Westworld' Season 2 Details Revealed By Showrunners Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy

Season one of Westworld only concluded last night, and we won't see season two for a while, but co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are already fielding questions regarding the second season. Which characters are returning? Will the series stay in Westworld? What's next for the hosts? The creators behind HBO's hit remake of Michael Crichton's film answer these questions as honestly as you think they would.

Below, learn more about Westworld season two (SPOILERS for season one).

westworld dolores and man in black

Why Won't Westworld Return Until 2018?

For starters, the series isn't returning until 2018. The brass at HBO suggested a late 2017 premiere date was possible, but Nolan told Variety that due to the scope of the show, a 2017 premiere would've been too quick of a turnaround:

We won't be on the air until 2018. We started that conversation with the network when were shooting Episode 2 and we realized the complexity of trying to write and produce the show at the same time. We both work in the movie business as well, and in the movie business the best that you can possibly hope for with a film franchise is to turn around another installment in two or three years. So really on that schedule, we're doing great.

westworld samurai world

Will We See More of Samurai World?

After last night's finale, a lot of you are likely curious if we'll see more of Samurai World. Although Nolan wouldn't confirm if that's what "SW" exactly stands for to Variety, he did discuss the other park — and Ford's involvement — with Entertainment Weekly:

One of the things we've established is Westworld is the proto-park. It's the first park. The other parks, you would imagine, are extensions. In the Disney universe, you start with a parking lot in Anaheim, California, and then you grow. We would imagine, yes, Ford has had a great deal of sway over everything we're seeing.

Nolan and Joy went on to explain a part of their reasoning behind showing "SW":

JOY: We're definitely teasing there are other worlds. How many other worlds and what is the nature of the other worlds is something we'll start to explore more in season 2. But it was definitely fun filming those samurai [scenes].

NOLAN: It was awesome. Something we're constantly asked is, "Is there a Roman World and Medieval World?" We couldn't say "no," because we wanted to go in a slightly different direction. This samurai-shogun world, for us, has a very specific relation to the Western. Some of my favorite movies are the Sergio Leone adaptations of the Akira Kurosawa samurai films: The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven. In the period when the Western was the biggest genre in the world, the interplay between Westerns and samurai films in the domestic market in Japan was really cool. On that meta level, those two genres have this almost incestuous relationship with each other. We just couldn't resist.

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan and Joy made it a little more clear "SW" will play a bigger role in the future of the series. Here's what they said about the great opportunities that come with maybe exploring this new park:

Nolan: Well, I've been practicing with my Samurai sword.

Joy: And I've taken years of martial arts that have suddenly fallen by the wayside now that we're showrunning. (Laughs.) But it's wonderful to work with actors we haven't worked with before. This allows us a lot of access to Asian actors and the Asian community which is very important to me as part Asian myself.Westworld Season Finale Clip

Who'll Return for Westworld Season 2?

As for Ford (Sir Anthony Hopkins), will he return to the series? Perhaps it's too soon even to say, but this past season of Westworld proved the dead don't always stay that way. When Nolan was asked if the actor/character will return, he replied:

We were very lucky to have one amazing season with Anthony Hopkins. We loved working with him. As for the show, where it goes, the characters — we've well established we're playing in a more advanced ruleset in terms of death and resurrection than other [projects] I've worked on. So I would say: Assume nothing

I think with this show we like surprising people. And we like playing with them. We've established the show can track forward and backward in time. ... As we've established, the hosts can't distinguish their memories and realities. There is always an opportunity to revisit some of these characters.

One host we can expect to come back is Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), whose reaction to the machine in the finale was simply fantastic. Nolan told TV Line the character is going to have a more prominent role to play next season:

Yeah, without a doubt. We're so grateful and excited that the audience has invested in this season, in which the hosts have very little autonomy and very little ability to act out, to do the things they want to do or even comprehend what they want to do. All with an eye toward building toward second and subsequent seasons where the hosts finally have control over their actions and kick a little ass.


What Will Westworld Season 2 Be About?

The park's exact location remains a mystery. Since the show is told largely from the hosts' perspective, Joy didn't think the audience should get that far ahead of the characters, so that seemingly minor question went unanswered in the finale. The co-creator and writer added there's some fun to be had in maybe one day revealing where Westworld is, though.

Moving forward, Joy said the series is going to show the new identities and choices the hosts make for themselves:

I think part of it is we've looked at the hosts trying to become aware of the reality of their situation and who they are. To hear their own voices. That's where we've gotten to at the end of this season. Now the thing we get to explore is once they've heard their own voices and once they've embraced who they are, what choices will they make? It speaks to a thing of how identity constantly evolves. They were steeped and raised in violence. These violent delights did indeed have violent ends at the end of the season. And I think we're going to see how that pendulum swings going forward.

Joy mentioned fans should expect to see a lot more flies in season two as well, "now that gloves are off":

Well, the flies were always the canary in the coal mine of where the story was going, because they were the one not-programmed creature in the park. So that tiny little slap that Dolores did at the beginning of the season was a harbinger of things to come. Now, in Season 2, now that the gloves are off, we're gonna see a lot of flies — and they're not necessarily gonna be actual flies.

While season one of Westworld deals with control, season two is about what Ford wanted: chaos. Nolan, Joy, and the cast discussed unveiling Ford's plan — which we'll learn more about in the second season — in a new featurette from HBO. Even if Hopkins doesn't return for the second season, Dr. Ford will remain a pivotal part of Westworld: