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Silicon Valley will draw inspiration from Uber fiasco next season, continue VR story

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It’s too important to pass up

Richard (Thomas Middleditch) in Silicon Valley’s fourth season finale.
John P. Johnson/HBO

Silicon Valley’s fourth season came to an end last night and, while conversation will turn to one character’s fitting exit from the show, creator Mike Judge is already looking to next season.

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the fourth season finale of Silicon Valley.]

Silicon Valley has always been pretty good at following the latest trends taking place in the tech world and the issues that surround different companies and individuals. This season, Judge and his team spent some time looking at VR, bringing in their own version of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and poking fun at the “vaporware” that often times comes out of the industry. Judge told The Hollywood Reporter that they aren’t quite done with the VR angle just yet and will continue to work with actor Haley Joel Osment, who plays the young VR genius, Keenan Feldspar.

Judge said that in the wake of Erlich Bachmann leaving — in one of the most fitting ways possible for the character — they aren’t looking to replace T.J. Miller’s character with another stand-in, but there was room for Osment’s Feldspar to grow.

“I wouldn't look at that as someone who replaces Erlich because there's a very different energy to him,” Judge said, “but I really like that character and VR is a huge thing in the tech world so it makes sense with that, too.”

As the team gets ready to settle in and work on the script for the fifth season, one of the biggest issues that they’ll tackle in some way is the controversy that has occurred within one of the valley’s biggest companies: Uber. What started with a written confessional about how the company’s workplace and culture were very hostile to women became a story of an unfit CEO, Travis Kalanick, and a flailing organization.

Uber’s shocking spiral into complete disarray — a major lawsuit over alleged intellectual property theft, a video showcasing Kalanick arguing belligerently with an Uber driver and an executive at the company obtaining the medical files of a rape victim in India — has become the biggest tech story of the year. It’s no surprise that Silicon Valley, which has covered other aspects of the tech industry including mansplaining and miscellaneous venture capitalist debauchery, would want to weigh in on Uber’s tragic tale.

What the show won’t do, however, is base their version of the story on an actual company like Uber. Instead, Judge said they’ll create their own version of a similar story that’s inspired by what has happened.

“There's other stories that we've heard, not about Uber, but just in general about douchebag, sexist VCs,” Judge said. “There's at least one or two that I've heard that still haven't made their way into the show. I think it will more likely be in that area based on something that wasn't in the newspaper. But I'm sure we'll find a way.”

Silicon Valley will return for its fifth season next year, with Judge confirming the plan is to end the series after its sixth.