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Westworld showrunners want to ruin season 2 before Reddit does (update)

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Proving they really don’t understand how the internet works

Westworld - Maeve at the bar HBO

Westworld’s showrunners want to beat Reddit at their own game, saying they may spoil the entire second season before it premieres later this month — if they get enough upvotes.

No, seriously.

Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy took part in a Reddit AMA earlier today, and dropped a bit of a bombshell on unsuspecting participants and lurkers.

“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.”

The duo compared the situation to Game of Thrones, HBO’s other massively successful show, in which the community rallied around ways to protect the narrative. Nolan and Joy say they want to work with fans to establish a new trust, which could begin by releasing key moments from the show’s second season.

“It’s a new age, and a new world in terms of the relationship between the folks making shows and the community watching them,” they wrote. “And trust is a big part of that. We’ve made our cast part of this decision, and they’re fully supportive. We’re so excited to be in this with you guys together. So if this post reaches a 1000 upvotes we’ll deliver the goods.”

Polygon has reached out to HBO about whether Nolan and Joy can or will actually be able to post spoilers if the upvote threshold is met. But whether or not Nolan and Joy are serious, the concept is, to put it lightly, flawed. They argue that the problem with Reddit theories — and getting so much of those theories right — is that the media reports on them. Enthusiast press and trade publications love theories. Communities like Reddit celebrate when their theories come true. The more people theorize, the more they’re either brought together or pushed away.

I fall into the latter category, and I understand Nolan and Joy’s concern. Last year, I wrote about how the internet ruined Westworld’s first season:

The internet fuels our passion and infatuation for the show, but when it comes time to actually watch it, the effect of what we’re about to see is dampened. The twist isn’t as shocking as it could have been. Instead, we turn to Twitter to tweet a snarky comment about how we knew what was about to happen. While that may make us feel superior and vindicated, it prevents the actual twist from shocking us. We can’t just enjoy it anymore, because we’ve been preparing for it to happen.

But I also understand and accept how today’s media landscape interacts with shows like Westworld or films like Star Wars and Avengers: Infinity War. We want to keep the conversation going, and discuss our own fascinations and theories; readers want to do the same. That’s precisely why this is a flawed plan: There’s absolutely no way publications wouldn’t write about any of the spoilers Nolan and Joy released.

Letting people know what’s going to happen weeks in advance won’t protect those who don’t want to know anything going in. Nolan and Joy aren’t alone in thinking otherwise; last week, the Russo brothers, who directed Avengers: Infinity War, tweeted a note asking fans not to post spoilers after seeing the film.

“Everyone involved with the film has worked incredibly hard for the past two years maintaining the highest level of secrecy,” they said. “Only a handful of people know the film’s true plot. We’re asking that when you see Infinity War, in the coming months, that you maintain the same level of secrecy so that all fans can have an equal experience when they watch it for the first time.

“Don’t spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn’t want it spoiled for you.”

That’s not how the internet operates in 2018, though. Look at any Facebook post about a show or movie, and watch as spoilers fill up the comments section. It’s almost tragic that the Russo brothers, Nolan and Joy are optimistic about an internet where people aren’t going to troll fans and post spoilers wherever possible. That’s not the case. It hasn’t been for years.

I highly doubt HBO is going to let Nolan and Joy spoil the entire second season of Westworld like they say they want to do, but if it happens, just remember to be constantly vigilant. It’s a dangerous time to be a fan wanting to know as little as possible about any popular TV show or movie ahead of time.

Update (April 10): A video uploaded to YouTube by a user named “Singing Traveller047” features Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Dolores in the series, singing Rick Astley’s famous “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The channel only has one video, and features a message from the Westworld team, but we’ve reached out to HBO for confirmation this is theirs.

Yes, it appears we’ve all been rickrolled in 2018.

Watch the video below.