Westworld Could Still Get A Proper Ending If Jonathan Nolan Has His Way

For four seasons stretched across six years, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan infuriated and dazzled lovers of mind-bending sci-fi in equal measure with "Westworld." Some would have you believe the pair's extremely loose small-screen re-imagining of Michael Crichton's 1973 "Westworld" film and its sequels peaked with its first season ... and they'd be right, so far as when it came to telling a twisty, layered story about the nature of consciousness and what it even means to have agency as clearly and cohesively as possible. But as guilty as later seasons were of being needlessly convoluted in order to stay one step ahead of viewers, it's also hard not to (perhaps begrudgingly) admire a show that not only respected its audience but actively goaded them into trying to solve the increasingly baffling puzzle boxes it threw at them ahead of time.

Unfortunately, Joy and Nolan didn't get to go full galaxy-brain on us with whatever they had planned for the series' fifth and final season before "Westworld" was canceled in 2022. The duo are now in the middle of promoting "Fallout," their live-action TV show adaptation of the mega-popular post-apocalyptic video game franchise and a series that promises to deliver the same shocking violence as "Westworld" but with a healthy helping of the property's trademark grim comedy on the side. Which is not to say they've abandoned all hope of giving "Westworld" a more satisfying ending than the unintended conclusion provided by the season 4 finale. In fact, Nolan would even be willing to wrap up the story as a comic book or one-off TV "event." As he told The Hollywood Reporter:

"Yes, 100 percent. We're completionists. It took me eight years and a change of director to get 'Interstellar' made. We'd like to finish the story we started."

These violent delights have violent ends (maybe)

Does Nolan's "Interstellar" comment have you scratching your head right now? If so, welcome to the experience of being a "Westworld" fan! But in all seriousness, what he's actually referring to is the elaborate process of getting his original space adventure script brought to the big screen, which resulted in "Interstellar" changing dramatically as it morphed from a Steven Spielberg picture into one helmed by Nolan's brother, Christopher Nolan (a fellow whose name may ring a bell). Clearly, the experience taught Jonathan Nolan to take the roller coaster experience that is working in the media industry in stride. He isn't even fussed about "Westworld" being yanked off Max post-cancelation. In his own words:

"Look, my career began on CBS [with 'Person of Interest']. The amount of people you can reach with a free, ad-supportive service [like Roku and Tubi, which had 'Westworld' last year] is vastly higher than with a subscription service. That part didn't bother me. But in terms of finishing the story, you understand that you get the time that you get, sometimes it's as much as you want, sometimes it's not. I'm so f***ing proud of what we made. It was an extraordinary experience. I think it would be a mistake to look back and only feel regret of [how it ended]. But there's still very much a desire to finish it."

The main obstacle preventing more "Westworld" from happening at this stage is the issue of rights — something that infamously prevented Daniel Knauf from giving his own prematurely canceled (and fascinatingly dense) HBO genre series "Carnivále" a real conclusion years ago. To borrow a phrase from "Westworld" protagonist Dolores Abernathy herself (Evan Rachel Wood), "Maybe this time, we'll set ourselves free."

"Fallout" premieres on Prime Video on April 11, 2024.