'Westworld' Season 2 Won't Take Place Immediately After Season 1

Westworld's overlapping timelines created an intriguing maze for viewers to solve in the first season, but showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy — who are in the midst of writing the next season that is set to air in 2018 — say that they don't plan to revisit the multiple timeline format for the second season.

Instead, season 2 will see a time jump, and won't take place immediately after the events of the season 1 finale. The big question is which direction that time jump will take.

When Westworld returns, it won't pick up right after the finale, in which the park's robotic hosts had risen up in a revolt against the humans. Joy told Entertainment Weekly that fans are "definitely going to see the aftermath and the effects of what happened." However, Nolan clarified that they're "definitely not picking up right where [they] left off" in Season 1 when they begin Season 2.

This fits with Nolan's comments to TVLine that the second season will explore more fully the common guests' experiences at the park — whereas the first season focused primarily on the robot hosts — leading up the final chilling moments of the finale.

"It didn't feel appropriate to spend too much time illuminating how unreal this place is, because the hosts believe in it so much up until that horrifying moment when they realize that it's an artificial world. So we didn't get bogged down in it. [We] will spend a little bit more time next season shining a light on those aspects of the park — what does it feel like to come to it as a guest? — just a little bit before the mayhem starts."

The change in perspective could answer questions about the inner workings of the park (How do families with children deal with the more hedonistic aspects of the park? What happens when a host, like Ed Harris' Man in Black, disassembles a host? Where exactly is the park located?) and some of the show's more minor mysteries.

Does this mean the show will be retracing some of its season 1 steps from a different POV in season 2? Could this mean a bigger or smaller role for Samurai World, which was teased in the final season 1 episodes? Despite the supposed focus on the guests, we may see more of Peter Abernathy and Angela, as both Louis Herthum and Talulah Riley have been upped to series regulars. The truth is that we have no idea what Nolan and Joy are cooking up at the moment.

While further context is welcome, this time jump and POV shift may be frustrating for viewers who have been left anticipating the aftermath of the robot revolt. While I admire the show for wanting to answer the fans' many questions and theories, I hope this doesn't kill the momentum of Westworld, which is already facing other delays thanks to an impending writers' strike. Nolan and Joy may be providing answers, but they may not be the questions that fans are asking — we want to know what's next for the escapee robot Maeve (Thandie Newton), or where the show will take Dolores and her fellow revolters.

Westworld returns for season 2 in 2018 on HBO.