Spoiler culture has definitely turned the internet (and office water coolers) into battlegrounds. Some people live for the plot clues while others avoid them like the plague. It’s safe to say that things have changed with regards to how we discuss television, and it definitely affects each show differently. During Westworld‘s freshman season, spoilers and fan theories dominated the conversation around the twisty show, and during their recent Reddit AMA, co-creators and executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy made it clear that they were hoping to change the discourse, and they might have a radical way to do just that.
“As I’ve said before, I’ve been a member of the reddit community for years (no I’m not going to share my original username…). And I greatly enjoyed watching the friendly folks at this subreddit guess the twists and turns of the season.
It creates a larger problem for us, though, in terms of the way your guesswork is reported online. ‘Theories’ can actually be spoilers, and the line between the two is confusing. It’s something we’ve been thinking about since last season. The fans of Game of Thrones, for instance, rallied around and protected the secrets of the narrative in part because they already knew those secrets (through season 5).
We thought about this long and hard, and came to a difficult (and potentially highly controversial) decision. If you guys agree, we’re going to post a video that lays out the plot (and twists and turns) of season 2. Everything. 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.
It’s a new age, and a new world in terms of the relationship between the folks making shows and the community watching them. 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.”
Now, this could just be a trolling move, but this seems like a pretty drastic decision.
While I can understand their point of view, to release all the details ahead of time could impact whether or not people watch at all. Speculation and the fan theories born from that are what largely fuel people’s interest. Plus, theories are not the same as spoilers. If someone does guess correctly, they will feel a moment of triumph when they’re proven right, but that doesn’t mean that the mystery has been ruined ahead of time.
While they say that the members of the community will “protect” the rest, this could have the potential to make comment sections and message boards dangerous zones for those looking to avoid spoilers. Ultimately, I am just not certain of what Nolan and Joy are trying to achieve. Shouldn’t they want people to talk about their show and obsess over what comes next?