A guide to every message hidden in the ‘Westworld’ Season 2 marketing
Being a fan of Westworld eagerly awaiting Season 2 is starting to feel like a conspiracy to make us all lose our minds. And we probably have. And it’s all thanks to HBO’s viral marketing, which is essentially an alternate-reality game that has us chasing down cryptic hidden messages.
The latest addition has proven to be the toughest puzzle to crack yet. But we’re here to help.
Embedding hints into companion websites isn’t new for Westworld — the Super Bowl trailer had plenty of them. But the most recent promo dropped by HBO’s Twitter caused a ruckus when all the Westworld actors started egging fans on to take a closer look.
What does it all mean? No one has any clue. But we tried. We went down every rabbit hole — er, I mean door — so you didn’t have to:
1. Forget the maze. Season 2 is all about the Door.
As we know, Season 1 was about the mission to find a maze. As it turns out, the maze was less a physical puzzle and more like an internal key to unlocking the latent consciousness of every host — which in turn caused Dolores’ robot uprising.
Recently, Entertainment Weekly confirmed that “The Door” is the title for Season 2.
In the newly discovered website, we see Season 1 footage of characters walking through doors. Then there are new shots from Season 2, as the voice of young Ford (who, you’ll remember, the real Ford turned into a creepy ass little boy host), taunts, “But now you’re in my game—and this game is Find the Door.”
Reminder: The maze and robot mutiny of Season 1 was all part of Ford’s plan. He wanted to die at the hands of his newly sentient creations. So clearly, baby Ford was programmed to help carry out the next phase of the plan after his real-life counterpart’s death.
Co-creator Jonathan Nolan told EW, “If the first season was a journey inward, this is a journey outward. This is a search for what is else is beyond the park, and what else is in the park. Are there more parks? How big is the park? What’s beyond the park?”
Which lead us to…
2. ShogunWorld (and the other four parks) will be a big factor
Hollywood Reporter broke the news on the name of the new theme park (previously coined Samurai World) hinted at in Season 1. And this quite literally opens the door to a host of new opportunities for the show.
According to Nolan:
The reason we went with the shogun, Imperial Japanese motif for that world is in large part because of the beautiful relationship you had between the golden age Westerns and the golden age samurai films. As soon as Akira Kurosawa would make a film, it would get remade with cowboys. The idea that those stories worked in two very distinct genres and languages, and the relationship between those genres, to me was irresistible as an homage to how Kurosawa was responsible for some of the greatest Westerns of all time.
That’s all very cool — but how does it factor into the plot of Season 2?
Well, after the Super Bowl trailer, the Delos Destinations website revealed that there will be six parks total. And each one will be a door to a new frontier. The “Door” title might indicate that the big Season 2 twist will be a transition into ShogunWorld. Since it’s the park that’s been most heavily teased (in the Season 2 promos, the Delos website, and in Season 1), we suspect we won’t be visiting any of the other four parks yet. But they could very well be the basis of every new season of Westworld — as we travel deeper into Delos alternate worlds.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Because that’s also way too literal an interpretation of the Door for such a cerebral show.
The title likely also doubles as a metaphor for a door to the real world. In the Season 1 footage of opening doors, almost all are instances of someone opening a door in the real world, entering the “alternate reality” of Westworld, or coming to some realization about reality (you followin’ us?).
So, is Ford’s ultimate plan to create hosts that don’t just have human consciousness, but actually surpass it — a la Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her? We wouldn’t be surprised if the entire series’ arc was about the hosts literally reaching a new form of consciousness — and creating a “new” reality.
Which leads us to that final cryptic message at the end of the “Find the Door” clip.
3. Aeden knows something — and is trying to keep it from us
For the uninitiated (AKA the sane): Aeden is the bot that greets every visitor of the Discover Westworld website. He’s been helping fans unlock secrets through a private chat box since 2016.
You can ask Aeden a bunch of different things and, if you do it right, it leads to hints, glitches, and cryptic messages. Not all of them are friendly.
The “Find The Door” clip ends with Aeden saying that “we” (presumably the robots, or hosts) will find the door — before glitching out and warning that, “But they will try to first.” Who’s “they?” Presumably, it’s us regular old meat bags, or the human creators of Westworld.
But one Redditor discovered that typing “chaos” “takes” control” to Aeden separately reveals a new message: “We needed time… to understand our enemy… to become stronger than them.” WTF?!
The “they” and “enemy” Aeden is referring to could also mean some even higher, shadowy Westworld investor, using the park to reach some nefarious goal tied to that mysterious Door. Season 1 revealed that the US military is investing in Delos, presumably to weaponize their host tech (remember the shot of that terrifying, super-powered white robot from the last trailer?).
If the Door really is the key to a higher consciousness or form of being, then the world’s most powerful secret organizations (ILLUMINATI ANYONE?!) would, of course, want to unlock it first.
Or maybe we’re just going insane — honestly we can’t tell anymore!!! Please send a technician to give us a hard reboot!!!