In a surprise decision Friday, HBO has canceled Westworld effective immediately, meaning that the just-completed fourth season acts as a final outing for the show — despite creators recently talking about their plans to end the show after a fifth season.
In a statement, the network said, “Over the past four seasons, [showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan] have taken viewers on a mind-bending odyssey, raising the bar at every step. We are tremendously grateful to them, along with their immensely talented cast, producers and crew, and all of our partners at Kilter Films, Bad Robot and Warner Bros. Television. It’s been a thrill to join them on this journey.”
As recently as last month, Nolan was talking at New York Comic Con about the show’s future, saying, “We always planned for a fifth and final season. We are still in conversations with the network. We very much hope to make [it].” The show's fourth season ended things on an uncertain note, with [spoiler!] Dolores recreating the original park inside the Sublime. The ambiguous lead-in for a final season has now become an even more ambiguous conclusion.
It’s believed that the show’s unexpected end is the result of a combination of the show’s high budget and its falling popularity across the last two seasons, which took the series outside of the theme park setting of its origin.
Kilter Films, the production company headed up by Nolan and Joy — which is also responsible for Person of Interest, The Peripheral, and the upcoming Fallout adaptation for Amazon Prime — released its own statement, reading, “Making Westworld has been one of the highlights of our careers. We are deeply grateful to our extraordinary cast and crew for creating these indelible characters and brilliant worlds. We’ve been privileged to tell these stories about the future of consciousness — both human and beyond — in the brief window of time before our AI overlords forbid us from doing so.”
With Westworld now over, let’s turn our attention to The Peripheral for the future of Kilter Films’ take on technology-driven dystopias.