Westworld co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy conducted a Reddit AMA yesterday in which they gave fans of the hit HBO series quite a shock.
The post in question was on the topic of spoilers. Specifically, Nolan took issue with how members of the Reddit community can, at times, turn their fan theories into actual spoilers that may ruin the show for others.
Citing Game of Thrones (where the books came before the show and thus, key plot details were already known), Nolan said they’d come to the difficult (and potentially highly controversial) decision to post a video outlining the entire plot of Westworld season two – complete with twists and turns.
Nolan reasoned that this approach would allow members of the community that want the season spoiled for them to get their wish which would somehow in turn “protect the rest of the community” and help people distinguish between what is theory and what is a spoiler.
Oh, and they were only going to post this massive spoiler of a video if the Reddit post received 1,000 upvotes. The post did receive the requisite number of upvotes and Nolan delivered but of course, it wasn’t what people were expecting.
This is ridiculous on so many levels yet surprisingly enough, the community and members of the media ate it up. Let’s digest.
First, why on Earth would you intentionally spoil a show that hundreds – no, probably even thousands – of people worked so hard to create? You’re telling me that HBO, who reportedly spent approximately $100 million to finance the first season, would be alright with spoiling the entire second season and in turn, watch its ratings drop because everyone already knows the outcome? C’mon.
Second, the wording used in Nolan’s post is suspect, not to mention the fact he called for upvotes to get the job done - a clear tactic to generate more interest.
And last but not least, the logic simply isn’t there. If you post spoilers, that’s not going to lead to people “protecting” the rest of the community. It would simply lead to every site on the Internet reporting the full plot details of season two before its release.
Of course, this is all somewhat of a moot point because Nolan, Joy and HBO aren’t that foolish. As it turns out, it was all a prank (I won’t even say an elaborate one) made possible by today’s instant gratification culture. And really, a Rickroll? That would have been funny a decade ago but this is 2018 and the meme is a bit played out at this point.
PS – if you want to do something to get fans excited, the better solution would be to release the entire season all at once a la Netflix. This is a proven model that allows diehards to get their fix while allowing casual watchers to consume the season at their own pace. Unfortunately, it also narrows the marketing window and would require fans to keep their subscriptions for far less time which is why HBO will probably never do it.
Ah well, it doesn’t hurt to dream, right?