When it was initially announced that HBO had picked up Westworld for a second season, there was some confusion about when it would return. While the initial assumption, of course, was that it would be back next year- as that is what's customary with TV shows- the idea was floated that, perhaps, we'd have to wait until 2018. An attempt was then made to say that the show might arrive next year.
The verdict is now officially in: 2018, it is!
Executive Producer Jonathan Nolan made the following remarks to The Hollywood Reporter regarding Westworld's second season, and how it compares to HBO's other huge show, Game of Thrones:
"Definitely not coming back until 2018. Look, we said to the network very early that this was a different kind of show, having gone through the experience of making the pilot.
Game of Thrones is incredibly ambitious, and that was part of the reason we knew we wanted to make this show with HBO. Game of Thrones kind of has written the book on production value for television, and how to make something that has all the scope and scale of cinema for a TV show. They also have an advantage of having [George R.R. Martin’s] amazing books, or had it for the first six seasons, which gives you a leg up.
I still don’t know how they turn those seasons around in a year. It’s astonishing. But we knew for ourselves that going forward, the production is enormously challenging and ambitious, and so is the writing. So we said very early on that we wouldn’t be able to turn this around every year, and knowing full well that that’s been a time-honored tradition in television. But in film, my other life, on the Batman movies, the best we could do is turn another one around in three years. I really feel like we’re splitting the difference here."
Nolan mentioning Game of Thrones and his brother's Batman movies is very telling, because it shines a light on one of the major differences between Film and Television. Nolan is relatively new to the TV medium, and it sounds like he's learning what an incredible feat it is to create entire seasons of ambitious series year after year.
As a fan, it is kind of fascinating, isn't it? How a show like Game of Thrones, which is arguably even larger in scale than practically any Hollywood blockbuster you'll see, produces ten hours of content in a year's time, while most two hour movies you'll see take a minimum of a year to produce.
Regardless, it's a testament to the dedication to quality over at HBO that they're going to let Nolan, and creator Lisa Joy, take as much time as they need before bringing Westworld back.
One has to wonder if the network will tighten up the budget a bit. While it's evident that every dollar of the $100 million they put into season one can be seen on the screen in this gorgeous production, that price tag was still very hefty and there was concern, mid-season, that it wasn't quite living up to its ratings potential. We shall see.