You may have heard from other media outlets that Westworld is here to stay. At least for half a dozen seasons, making it HBO’s next Game of Thrones. This, from James Marsden, Hollywood’s most famous fictional cuckold.
“It wasn’t about getting the first 10 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.”
This really got me thinking; where can they take this show in 7 seasons without completely screwing it up? How long can they keep the audience entertained with the same premise of Robots+Cowboys=Fun? How, with the short attention span of viewers, can this be accomplished without going outside the theme park?
Here, where I can cast my predictions early enough to be as wrong as possible, are 4 reasons I believe Westworld the show could never, and should never leave Westworld the attraction.
1) The Futurama Foundation
Lonely people the world over are only concerned with one field of budding technology– sex robots. Sure, tech companies claim they’re working on robotic actors and actresses, but we know what they’re really getting up to. Robotic bone-mashing. In both America and Japan there are tech workers who, in complete sincerity, experience those eureka breakthrough moments that send them running through the halls laughing, their hands filled with revolutionary new robot genitals (probably.)
And I’m not even talking about Westworld yet…
People: I want a pile of cold silicon curves with a janky Siri voice.
Technology: Trust us, they’re actors.
People: Uh, why is its mouth gaping open like that?
Technology: Dentistry practice?
This, of course, was predicted in an old episode of Futurama entitled “I Dated A Robot.” During which they claim that the invention of robot lovers would inevitably depopulate the world. After all, why spend the time and money seducing a real human, copulating with them, and raising a child, when you could print out a beautiful celebrity?
We already know from several episodes that life-like androids don’t exist in the regular world. If the robotic technology in Westworld ever reaches outside the park the focus of the show would become, by necessity, a show about morality and species survival. Specifically robot sex slavery. Hell, the show is halfway there already. That might be worth watching, but it wouldn’t be Western-theme focused sitcom anymore. It would turn into a social-political war between the humans who want to ban robot-human couples, and those who believe in the right to choose a non-human lover. Good thing that’s something we’ll never have to face in modern–
2) The Battlestar Galactica Guess
Another major thematic change to Westworld would occur after the whole sex robots scandal had died down. This period is known to time-traveling historians as the Syphilitic Servos Epidemic.
If we ever got past the outrage that some wealthy humans own robot sex slaves, the next question is how long before we go to all-out war with the robots? Keeping them in the park gives the rest of humanity the delusion of safety. Letting them roam out in the open, looking for all the world like their human counterparts, would spawn a mass, violent movement against them. This means the show, as a whole, wouldn’t kind-of resemble Battlestar Galactica. It would become Battlestar Galactica.
As humans, we pick tribes. Even if there’s nothing on the line. Or, as Ollie from 2007’s The Mist put it:
As a species we’re fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?
The ladies running those anti-sexbot blogs I linked above are already mad enough to smash some robo-dicks with their proverbial hammers. How much worse would public backlash become when robot slaves turn into potentially-homicidal human-impersonators?
Again, by necessity, the show’s theme would swing well and far away from the Westworld park.
3) The Lost Lamentation
I’ve heard a few friends mention that Westworld reminds them vaguely of Lost, followed by a long, pain-filled sigh. It’s the same sound I would make if I learned that my cat had never been a cat at all, but a furry purse stuffed with razors all along. And now I’ve adopted a new cat. And tiny holes and bits of metal have started peeking out from under the fur… *painful sigh*
If Westworld feels like Lost, here’s why;
- The story takes place on a mysterious “island” that’s operated by masterminds.
- The plot seems to be opening more doors and making more promises than it closes.
- It’s implied that we might see the outside world eventually.
Leaving the island was the worst part of Lost. It flushed away their story potential, back before we discovered that the writers were making it up as they went along. I believe that similarly, leaving the Westworld park would throw away all those open doors and plot promises, sacrificing well-built characters, setting, and potential side-arcs.
What will happen to the Indians once they realize who the “cleaners” are? How many hidden scripts and character upgrades has Arnold hidden around the park? What are some of the park’s plots we haven’t seen yet? And why the hell does Anthony Hopkins hang out with Old Bill when he knows every line of dialogue in the defunct robot’s repertoire?
Do screenwriters think we’ll get bored watching characters stuck on one “island”? Hell, I’ve been playing Skyrim for years, and the only thing it took to suck me back in was an upgrade to its aesthetics. Slightly.
4) The Jurassic Park Premise
You may notice that every entry in this post focuses on the thematic feel of Westworld. Let me clarify why that’s important, and why Westworld has used some incredible storytelling alchemy to produce gold.
Crossing genres in a story, when it’s not accomplished with time travel, is a bitch to pull off. Jason from Friday the 13th ruined his own franchise when he decided to take a vacation to Manhattan. In a sense he represented the perils of the wilderness, and bringing him to the big city doesn’t make thematic sense. The same thing occurs when we see T-Rex, a jungle monster, tromping through San Diego. Or when our aforementioned Lost characters get themselves un-lost in civilization. Ex Machina knew this, which is why the movie ends precisely when Ava reaches her destination; a busy street corner. Hell, Jurassic World learned from The Lost World‘s mistakes and cut the new film short after the exodus from the island.
Good franchises fly into tail-spins when the characters or monsters escape their original, thematic environment.
Westworld has, thus far, managed to take the action of a spaghetti western and blend it seamlessly with the moral dilemma of futuristic robots gaining sentience. These are two flavors that should not taste good together, and yet it has worked wonderfully thus far. The one thing I can imagine souring this delicious blend would be to separate the two.
If the characters of Westworld leave Westworld at any time during its 6-season run, it will be T-Rex crushing cars all over again. More accurately, it will be robots fighting humans in a futuristic environment. Or robotic slavery, like iRobot or the Animatrix. If Westworld leaves Westworld, it immediately becomes a different genre of story, like the carriage turning back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight.
Write blog posts. Tell your friends. Start a twitter campaign: #KeepWestworldInWestworld. And together, with all of us pitching in, we might finally get James Marsden(‘s character) laid.
Images, including the featured image, were taken from Google Images and Youtube.