HBO’s “Westworld” took the stage at the recent San Diego Comic-Con to present the first real look at Season 3 of Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan’s high concept, mind-bending, sci-fi phenomenon. The trailer, which seemingly introduced us to the world outside of the park also clued us in on a WWII setting and the return of Ed Harris’s Man in Black.
As Season 1 was titled “The Maze” and Season 2 titled “The Door,” the title for Season 3 will be “The New World” – an appropriate subtitle given the direction the show is headed, however, when asked whether or not the show has, in fact, left the park, Jonathan Nolan responded with “I didn’t say that” perhaps alluding to some major surprises this season will have in store for us.
One of the more striking elements about the footage we’ve seen thus far is how distinctly different the visual palate is when compared to most other dystopian sci-fi worlds. Nolan mentioned an unsurprising story about his brother Chris that gave him a clue about how not to approach the world of “Westworld.”
“My brother made me watch ‘Blade Runner’ maybe once a week, kind of a weird thing, but no, it’s a phenomenal movie,” said Nolan. “That movie is such a brilliantly designed and produced film and when you think of what the future looks like you think of that film. And we wanted to find something a bit different because we got ‘Blade Runner’ set in 2019 and we got there and it doesn’t look like that, but the thing about dystopias is it can look pretty beautiful.”
He continued, “Just because the world is corrupt on the inside doesn’t mean it can’t be smoothed over and pretty on the outside. So we wanted to find ourselves a version of a dystopia that didn’t look like anything we’d seen before. And we’ve been kind of planning this from the beginning. We were writing the pilot trying to figure out how are we going to shoot season 3? And the answer was rather than building it because that’s one option, we went looking for it. We got on a plane and we flew around and we dragged all these lovely people all over the place and we found some pretty rad stuff.”
“Westworld” has always been a show that comments on the state of our world and its relationship with technology. In Season 3, fans can expect more of the same as “The New World” seeks to follow the logical progression of themes posed in seasons prior ultimately landing upon the concept of algorithmic determinism.
“One of the big themes of Season 3 is going to be algorithmic determinism,” said Nolan, to which the showrunner proceeded to expound upon. “I think we’re actually entering the age of artificial stupidity. We’re in low, low-grade kind of algorithmic world and this is one of the concepts that we started talking about when we were looking at this season. Trying to figure out what the rest of the world looks like, if indeed that is where the show is, and one of the things that’s happening is ‘the Netflix effect.'”
He added, “Netflix tells you what you want to watch next because there’s some giant algorithm in the sky, that watches what you watch, and decides you’re going to watch a manga for the rest fo the night. So just picture that applied to every part of your whole life. And that kind of feels like the world. Like when you talk to technologists, they talk about algorithmic determinism, in quiet kind of hush terms because they know who we’ve already built it. We’re already kind of in there.”
Needless to say, Season 3 is sure to give us plenty to chew on as we search for answers and admire its thoughtfulness from week to week. It’s a massive draw for audiences and that draw hasn’t gone unnoticed by Joy and Nolan.
“One of the great things about this show is you get to play around with these big ideas and present them to the audience as if they’re far in the future, but they’re not,” said Nolan. “ They’re kind of right now, and one of the fun things about the third season is we discard the idea of metaphor and just deal with the world for what it is, which is a giant shit show.”
Leave it to a Nolan to put it so adequately. While no set release date, “Westworld” Season 3 is set to air in early 2020.