Entertainment

What Samurai World Could Mean for 'Westworld' Season 2

Published On 12/05/2016 Published On 12/05/2016
thandie newton and crew on hbo westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Warning: this post contains spoilers through Westworld's Season 1 finale. Head to our hub Westworld World for other recaps, theories, interviews, deep dives, and suggestions for what to watch next.

On the run from Delos security last night, Maeve's daring escape led her, Felix, Hector, and Armistice to an "SW"-emblazoned lab. The fugitives found katana-clashing warriors and lines of lifeless samurai inside. "What is this place?" asked the rogue madam, doing her best impression of Westworld fans. "It's complicated," managed Felix, before a klaxon cut his explanation short.

As Westworld wrapped its first season, the hit HBO show teased several storylines for its next run. Namely: the dawn of robotic consciousness, killer hosts, and, perhaps most exciting, this reveal of a second luxury theme park -- one fans and critics have dubbed Samurai/Shogun World. The "SW" bombshell is the kind that raises big questions for Westworld's distant second season:

HBO

Where is Samurai World, and who works there?

Maeve's gang accessed Samurai World HQ by exiting the Mesa Hub and crossing a bridge. A look at Delos' corporate map isn't much help in finding the connection point because there's no indication of neighboring parks or facilities. Does that mean Samurai World has its own Mesa Hub? If so, where would it be in relation to Westworld's? And more important, where is the actual Samurai World in relation to Sweetwater? If "SW" returns in a big way next season, viewers will finally get a glimpse at another world, a development fans of Michael Crichton's 1973 film have expressed interest in for weeks. Another big implication? New cast members. This second world would need its own Dr. Ford (i.e., some sort of creative honcho), crew of techs, security guards, guests, and, of course, hosts.

HBO

How many parks are there?

Crichton's original Westworld had two other worlds (Roman World and Medieval World) guests and techs could access. A sequel also introduced Spa World and Future World, yet more locations inspired by old Hollywood genre fantasies. Fans who suspected Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan was being cheeky at New York Comic Con when, back in October, he said "no" to the existence of Roman World and Medieval World -- but didn't outright say no to the existence of additions like Samurai World -- must feel vindicated for reading between the lines.

The question now: are there even more parks? How many? Samurai World likely won't just be one of two. In Episode 8, Teddy asked the Man in Black to explain who he was, noting, "You speak like you own this world." To which Ed Harris's character replied: "Not just this one. You want to know who I am? Who I really am? I'm a god, a titan of industry."

Was this the Delos chief hinting that he made a business out of Ford's dreams, exploiting the vision of a luxury theme park and turning it into a Disneyland-like network of mini-parks? Or is that idea in development, part of Delos' multi-pronged plan to expand after Ford's ouster? Whatever the case there, Felix's note to Maeve, which held the coordinates for her daughter, at least cemented the fact that Westworld isn't alone (see above). Using a number system for only one park? Unnecessary and crazy.

HBO

What does all this mean for Season 2's plot?

Depending on how faithful Nolan and Co. want to be, the existence of Samurai World could very well mean that, similar to Crichton's original movie, all the properties operating under Delos Inc. now run the risk of suffering Westworld's fate: robotic consciousness spreading like a computer virus. Will Dolores target the SW lab to liberate the automata from their abusive human overlords? Or, if Ford's influence extended outside Westworld, will the samurai already be part of his new narrative? This is a more-questions-than-answers situation, but one thing's clear: Season 2 will be intense, set to operate on a more expansive scale. "If the first season is defined by control," Nolan said in HBO's post-show interview, "the second season is defined by chaos."

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Sean Fitz-Gerald is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. Find him on Twitter: @srkfitzgerald.

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