Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet finished the first season of Westworld.
Last Sunday night brought the epic and highly-watched season finale of HBO's stellar sci-fi drama Westworld, and with it came answers and questions and everything in between. At a time when TV spoilers are a major source of ire for networks and show crews, Westworld seemed to have little trouble holding onto its myriad secrets and twists. The efforts behind the scenes, however, were very real. Here's how (former?) star Jimmi Simpson explained one way the stars refrained from leaking anything during press tours or online, despite getting hit by a wall of theories from eagle-eyed fans.
We have seen some major lengths reached in recent years for popular shows shielding productions from outsiders' eyes, with The Walking Dead being particularly crafty about throwing spoiler-seekers for loops. And while I'm sure that zombie drama's cast, as well as those of Game of Thrones and other twisty series, are schooled in how to dance around spoiling things in interviews, there's something extremely fitting about creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy putting together an official manifesto for tackling theory-laden conversations with fans and journalists. Only not on paper, but as a PDF file on a tablet that folds up.
Jimmi Simpson had also revealed recently that he surmised his character's big reveal - that William and the Man in Black are one and the same - just based on the makeup artist's attention to his eyebrows, so he was already working with too much information as compared to some of his co-stars. That's working with different levels of secret-keeping, and not all actors are so capable. Simpson obviously is, since he also came to that conclusion bout fans potentially using an absence of evidence to prove a theory.
Jeffrey Wright, meanwhile, told IndieWire he had a different way to avoid coughing up big spoilers. After learning post-pilot that his character Bernard was actually one of the many hosts in the park, Wright played around with the language of how he answered things. For instance, instead of referring to Bernard as a "man" in conversation, Wright would call him a "computer programmer." Tricky, tricky, tricky. But also very smart, as is expected of Bernard. Here's Wright's defense for it.
Shows that deal in secrecy often keep their stars and creative teams away from the eyes and mouths of info-hungry fans and interviewers, but Westworld has kept its press train rolling hard (even through Ghost Nation territory), so it was pretty necessary to have a game plan set in stone at some point. And the coverage hasn't let up, either, as new clues about Elsie's fate were revealed after the finale aired. Plus, Jonathan Nolan himself (in talking about how he directed the finale) confirmed that Maeve is indeed having thoughts of her own free will now, something that fans debated heavily in the immediate aftermath. Hopefully Nolan and Lisa Joy and everyone else will keep sharing non-deceptive information in the months between now and the mayhem on the way.