Some people watch TV for the writing; some watch for the acting; some for the laughs, or the tears, or the social commentary, or the escape. And some watch so they can solve the puzzles and find the Easter eggs that showrunners have scattered throughout their series like crumbs. Given the plethora of Westworld fan theories that have sprouted up like mushrooms over the past few months, it's clear that the new HBO drama is a show that greatly attracts the latter kind of viewer. Thankfully, there are still plenty of unanswered Westworld Season 2 theories that devoted fans can obsess over during the long break between now and the second season premiere sometime in 2018.
Admittedly, a lot of the theories about Season 1 turned out to be correct in the end: yes, Bernard is a host and also Arnold; yes, Dolores is Wyatt; yes, there are multiple timelines and yes, that means that William and the Man In Black are the same person. But there were some theories were flat-out wrong — no, the maze is not an actual structure hidden somewhere inside the park — and others will likely prove irrelevant in the long run. (No, Westworld is probably not located in outer space, but even if it was, so what?)
It remains to be seen which of those three camps the following six theories will fall into, but in the meantime, here are some tantalizing ideas about where Westworld might be headed in Season 2.
1. Everyone Is A Host
Variations on this idea have been bounced around the Westworld fandom since practically before the show had even premiered. Instead of worrying about which of the show's human characters might secretly be robots, perhaps we should be worried that all of the show's characters are secretly robots. As Reddit user OfOrcaWhales explains, "The entire point of the park, the point of all of Ford's games, his whole overarching narrative for every host, everything is an attempt to force the evolution of consciousness."
According to this theory, Arnold was the only real human character in the entire story; he built all of the first-generation hosts — including one he named Robert Ford — and then killed himself. Left alone, Ford resurrected Arnold as Bernard, and together they staffed the entire park with robotic employees, hosts, and guests. The many levels of Westworld, from the lowliest "butchers" to the highest Delos board members, are cogs in an artificial machine that is constantly striving towards full consciousness.
Still not convinced? Remember that we learned through Charlotte's demonstration with Clementine that hosts can be programmed to "read" as human to other hosts.
2. Delos Is Taking Over The World
Throughout Season 1, viewers heard rumblings that Delos, the board that controls Westworld, is interested in applying their technology to more than just an amusement park for rich people; but whether that application would be military (robot soldiers?) or medical (the key to immortality?) is still very much a mystery. However, some people have suggested a third alternative — and it involves the sequel to the original Westworld feature film, 1976's Futureworld.
As Mic points out, the plot of Futureworld involved Delos "replac[ing] prominent human figures across the world" with identical robots under their control. While the HBO series has never been a direct adaptation of its filmic source material, it's possible that the endgame does involve some plot similarities to its sequel; namely, the ambitions of Delos board members to use Ford's technology to build imposters they could put in positions of power — maybe as high up as POTUS himself — in order to rule the world.
3. Ford Is Alive
If you have a cinematic legend like Anthony Hopkins at your disposal, do you really let go of him so easily? Although the architect of the park was apparently killed in the Season 1 finale — by his own volition, in front of the entire Delos board, gunned down by Dolores-as-Wyatt — it's virtually unthinkable that we've actually seen the last of Dr. Ford. And while it would be easy to bring the character back in flashbacks, thanks to the show's trippy temporal structure, there are some fans out there who think Ford isn't really dead at all.
Some fans think that the Ford that was killed was really just a lifelike host version of the architect, forged clandestinely in Ford's secret lab. (We saw an anonymous host being printed when Bernard and Theresa discovered the lab, but never learned its identity or purpose.) By killing himself so publicly, Ford ensures that the world think he's dead, allowing himself to continue waging his war against Delos from behind the scenes, without any pesky opposition from board members like Charlotte Hale.
When showrunner Jonathan Nolan was asked by IGN whether or not Ford was truly dead, he responded, "That was definitely a real Ford." "A" real Ford? Is that a slip of the tongue… or confirmation that the Ford that was killed was just one version of the real man — while another version remains very much alive. (Conversely, if Ford was confident enough in his artificial creations, maybe the flesh-and-blood man really was killed; and it's just his consciousness that lives on in a manufactured Ford-like body.)
4. Elsie Is Alive
It was the single biggest plot thread left dangling at the end of Season 1: Whatever happened to Elsie Hughes? The plucky and bitingly sarcastic programmer was last seen in the season's sixth episode, when she went into the park to investigate who had been behind the attempt to smuggle proprietary data out of the park. Just as she was about to tell Bernard what she'd found, she was attacked by an unknown assailant (later revealed to be Bernard himself) and never seen again.
While it's quite possible that the un-self-aware host simply murdered her the same way he murdered Theresa, the ambiguity of Elsie's end — and the popularity of her character, often the show's sole source of humor — has led many fans to believe she's still alive. That's a theory that HBO itself seemed to confirm via Easter Eggs hidden on its Delos Incorporated website; after deciphering lines of code, fans are able to ping Elsie's location within the park, hopefully referencing the fact that she's still out there somewhere.
If Elsie is indeed still alive, hopefully it's a fate shared by security chief Ashley Stubbs, who also went missing within the confines of the park in the season's penultimate episode. The finale never addressed the cliffhanger involving Stubbs and the Ghost Nation, so that must be something that gets followed up on when Westworld returns for Season 2.
5. We'll Visit Other Parks
In the Season 1 finale, Maeve and her crew were stunned when they stumbled into another section of the Delos complex, emblazoned with the logo "SW" and filled with hosts wearing period Japanese armor and carrying katanas. Fans are understandably eager to explore Samurai World (as most assume it's called) in Season 2 — but it might not be the only new park we visit in the next batch of episodes. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan teased that, while "Westworld remains the center of our narrative," Season 2 "is about opening up the world a little bit, as the hosts start discovering it. That was the idea from the beginning: We only know what the hosts know. As the scope opens up in the second season, we'll see more."
So, what might those other worlds be, besides the briefly-glimpsed world of Samurais? Well, we know what they won't be: Nolan confirmed at New York Comic-Con last year that his show wouldn't be venturing into Roman World or Medieval World, two of the other parks depicted in the 1973 movie. But he didn't rule out Future World or Spa World (two other parks from the film franchise), nor other original ideas. While discussing the specifics of how hosts function with Entertainment Weekly, Nolan intriguingly spilled the beans that "their brains don’t require oxygen." Why would that factoid be important, unless we might be visiting Underwater World or Space World? (Granted, either of those would probably wreak havoc on the show's budget, but we are talking about HBO here.)
6. There Will Be A Game Of Thrones Crossover
Game Of Thrones may be heading into its final two seasons, but there's a way HBO could keep its most popular show alive: by incorporating it into its new prestige drama with an epic crossover! What if Westworld took place in a world where Game Of Thrones existed and had also been one of the most popular shows of all time — so Delos designed one of its parks with that theme. Call it Westerosworld, perhaps?
In Season 2, Maeve could stumble into this fantasy land in search for her daughter, only to encounter animatronic versions of Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and more, who — unaware of the fact that they're mechanical creations — wage their wars of conquest and play their game of thrones across an artificial landscape where guests can be gallant knights or ruthless mercenaries. And when Maeve informs them of the reality of their existence, they'll bring the full power of their dragons and direwolves against the Delos board members and wipe them all out.
OK, this one is more of a pipe dream than a theory; but it's a dream even George R.R. Martin would love to see come true! "Fans aren’t the only ones who have had this idea," Entertainment Weekly reported last October. "It actually occurred to Thrones author George R.R. Martin even before Westworld premiered. In fact, the author mentioned it to the Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy over dinner weeks a couple months ago." Sadly, it doesn't seem like they went for it.
Oh, well. Guess we'll have to keep our fingers crossed for that Game Of Thrones spinoff!