News broke this week that HBO’s Westworld has shut down production. The long-anticipated series based on the film of the same name has been in the works at HBO for quite some time, and new reports indicate the set was shut down so that the writers, including Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, can do some catching up. At least, according to a statement HBO released this week.
As we head into the final phase of production on Westworld, we’ve made the decision to take a brief hiatus in order to get ahead of the writing.
That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Sometimes shows take a while to come together and if HBO wants a program to be the best it can be, that may take a little extra work. The problem is how long Westworld has taken to come to fruition. It’s been in development for a long, long time now. More details, below.
We’ve been hearing about HBO’s Westworld since the summer of 2014, when some huge names like Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood all signed on to the HBO pilot. At the end of 2014, the subscription streaming service included Westworld footage in its “programs coming up” end of year video, and spent time marketing the series as a new show scheduled for 2015. But production has been going on for what feels like forever, and now, in 2016, HBO has decided to actually shut down the series, supposedly for only a few months. According to HBO, production will pick up again in March, giving the writers time to catch up on the final four episodes.
Regardless, if production doesn’t pick back up until March, it will be some time after that before HBO actually gets Westworld on the schedule. Perhaps the series will be finished in time for HBO to get the sci fi drama into its late summer lineup, but I’m not holding my breath. And even if HBO manages to get Westworld on the air at the end of summer, that will (likely) mark more than two years since the project first got announced. That’s a really long time to be in development, especially considering how much HBO has been hyping the series.
On the bright side, THR says that Westworld is still a priority over at HBO. J.J. Abrams is producing through his Bad Robot company, after all, and Michael Lombardo has called the pilot “beautiful.” In addition, the cast has already signed multi-year deals, so Westworld isn’t expected to be a one-off anthology series. Once Westworld actually makes it to the air, I’m hopeful it will be smooth sailing for the big budget series. That is, if it makes it to the air. Admittedly it looks great.
Hopefully, Westworld will get its act together, as it has been one of my most anticipated series for some time now. Years, actually. We’ll let you know if the show ends up hitting its “targeted” premiere date, as HBO told Variety it will. In the meantime, you can take a look at what the subscription cable network has coming up with our winter TV premiere schedule.