Westworld’s creators will fight spoiler culture by spoiling the whole second season

The creators of HBO Westworld have announced a novel plan to combat the dangers of online spoiler culture: they will reveal all the great secrets of the next second season of the program before it is released a single episode. Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy made the announcement today during a Reddit AMA, recognizing the plan as a "potentially very controversial decision". They say their cast is on board with the plan.

"If you agree, we are going to publish a video that sets the plot (and the twists and turns) of season 2. Everything, the whole sordid thing, in the foreground," they wrote. "That way, community members who want the season ruined can look ahead and then protect the rest of the community, and help distinguish between" theory "and" what's a spoiler. " .

Westworld was in a unique position during its first season. The program used several deceptive narrative devices, including multiple timelines and characters represented as humans, but then revealed themselves as robotic "hosts". The revealing nature of the program gave rise to an artisanal online speculation and theorization industry, particularly in the active subreddit Westworld . There, the fans of the program did what they do best, exploring the details and discovering the biggest surprises of the event with much anticipation. Given the copious press coverage of those theories, even casual viewers could have ruined the revelations of the show without digging too much.

"Theories" may actually be spoilers, and the line between them is confusing, "wrote the creators. "It's something we've been thinking about since last season, fans of Game of Thrones for example, came together and protected the secrets of the narrative partly because they already knew those secrets (until season 5 ). "

The idea of ​​reviewing the The Thrones model led the creators to the idea of ​​the spoiler video, and while it seems contradictory as a strategy, it has a logic. Those who simply want to know all the secrets can learn them immediately, without having to wait, and those who can not avoid the video. But the simple fact of choosing not to watch the video will almost certainly make an amateur more emotionally invested with the idea of ​​not being pampered in the first place, and perhaps leading them out of their way to avoid any coverage or sites that may follow the line. The release of the video would also make the subreddit Westworld radioactive for fans who do not want surprises ruined, perhaps by decreasing the number of people who could accidentally trip over it and learn a great future secret.

But Nolan and Joy are clearly trying to evoke a sense of goodwill as well. Fans who know the twists could end up feeling like substitutes for the show themselves: guardians of their greatest secrets, with the duty to protect fans who do not want to be pampered. That can also be contradictory, given the often toxic nature of online interaction, but as the creators noted, it somehow worked for Game of Thrones .

"It's a new era and a new world in terms of the relationship between the people who make shows and the community that watches them," wrote Nolan and Joy. Undoubtedly, this is the first time that a television series appears, especially one produced by the master of the mysterious box J.J. Abrams: has opted to go bankrupt, and is a testament to how vital is the online discourse for a show like Westworld .

It is not clear how the media will respond. Given the great interest in series such as Westworld publications have the incentive to squeeze as much coverage from the program as they can, and the speculative pieces of fanatics theories can be a quick and easy way to generate content and traffic. . Even if the fans decide to do the right thing and not share spoilers, the entertainment press itself could end up giving away the game. But as Game of Thrones has shown, it also does not have to be that way.

Either way, the release of the spoiler video is not an inevitable conclusion. As a final test, Nolan and Joy left their distribution to receive the vote of a fan: if a thousand people voted in favor and against the publication of Reddit announcing the plan, then they will release the video. (At the time of this writing, the vote count is 97.) And in a strange way, that act makes the whole strategy feel like a social experiment that echoes the program itself. Do people really want to know all the secrets, just as some of the characters in the show so stubbornly wanted to know about their own traumatic stories? And if they learn them, if they get to the center of the labyrinth, so to speak, what will the fans do with that knowledge?