Westworld season two was on the precipice of being spoiled by its own creators — or so it seemed. Yesterday, show creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan held a Reddit AMA in which they promised to reveal the entire storyline of the second season of the popular HBO show if the thread got 1,000 upvotes. The threshold was met late yesterday evening, and the video posted shortly after.
Exhale, because the video spoils nothing. It’s a Rick Roll, a joke so old that some of my colleagues at this publication were in junior high school when it hit peak popularity. The set-up of a Rick Roll goof is to promise something interesting or incendiary is waiting behind a URL. The punchline is the URL leads to the music video for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” I know, the internet was simpler a decade ago.
In this case, the video begins with what seems like a story summary, only for one of the characters to break into a piano-accompanied performance of Astley’s hit.
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan initially presented the would-be spoiler video as a preventative to the sort of speculation that surrounded (and some would argue spoiled) the first season. Fan theories often turned out to be correct, inspiring a debate about whether a theory can be a spoiler. By spoiling the second season up front, the logic went, fans and critics would be less likely to post theories and spoilers on Twitter and in headlines. I know, the logic is a bit loopy. Then again, so is the show.
“If you guys agree, we’re going to post a video that lays out the plot (and twists and turns) of season 2. Everything,” they wrote. “The whole sordid thing. Up front. That way the members of the community here who want the season spoiled for them can watch ahead, and then protect the rest of the community, and help to distinguish between what’s ‘theory’ and what’s spoiler.”
But the joke is on us, the fans, the press and the critics who took people at their own word. Fortunately, famous people purposefully lying to build press has never caused any problems and this will upset nobody.